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Need Ideas For Collapsible Lightbox For SECRET Engagement Idea :) Answered

So, I've been dating a wonderful girl for a while now and in the relatively near future I would like to pop the question. I have a clear idea of how I'd like to do it but need some expert crafter advice to pull it off. My idea is a fairly innocuous guerrilla art installation which was inspired by the Banksy paintings he surreptitiously installed in museums. I want to surprise my lady by taking her to a museum and having an accomplice quickly deploy my idea in gallery for us to "stumble upon". My idea is for a lightbox, suspended from a tripod. The illuminated box will have pictures of us on all six sides and the top will open and the ring will be inside. I've made simple decoupaged cardboard lightboxes before, but this time it needs to be something collapsible which will fit in a messenger bag or something similar. My current thinking is to have the six sides of the box be plexiglass squares attached to one another with hinges. The sides would all be hinged to the bottom center piece. The front and two sides would then fold up to make the front and sides of the box. The rear piece would be two lengths of plexiglass attached to fold up and over making the back and the lid of the box (see very rough sketch below for my idea of how the pieces would be hinged). What I'm looking for is suggestions on:

What materials to use for the box itself and types of hinges (is plexiglass/lexan a good idea?) and how to attach the hinges to the box (glue?)
A way to make the sides all stay up once they are folded into place (I was thinking perhaps loops on each side piece you could slide a small dowel through or something)

And anything else you might want to suggest. Again the goal is to be able to bring this thing in without attracting attention, assemble it very rapidly, and be able to break it down quickly once everything is done. If I can pull all this off I'll document the process and post it here.



Oh WOW! Beautiful!!!! The two of you will have lots of wonderful adventures together with a start like that {{{{Lyn}}}}

Thanks for the nice comments guys. Does anyone have suggestions for what types of hinges I could affix to the corrugated plastic? It would be cool if they hinged both ways so that the box could fold onto itself when the sides weren't connected. So it may not have to be hinges, it could be some way of binding.

never worked with corugated plastic, but i tried ABC plastic, base on ur thickness... heat a small metal shaft like... den simply puncture it and wala(with french accent)... u have a hinge directly from the piece it self. i used a lighter to heat a needle for mine. not sure if corrugated plastic will melt as well... but may be u can opt to change the material =D

you could drill a small hole in the plexi glass and then another on the opposite side before loosely threading some string make a rough hinge

Binding sounds good - punch holes in the material, then lace it up as tightly or loosely as you need.

Any news?

That sounds like a brilliant idea! (I just hope the dear lady isn't a reader of Instructables?)

I'm not sure the tripod idea would fit into a messanger bag. Instead, why not make a flat-ish, light-weight box from something like Correx (randomly googled example), and then your accomplice can stick it to a wall or plinth with blue-tac or similar.

Made from a net over the front in pictures, as you say, and held shut with a loop of string at the top.

Pull the loop, and the front of the box collapses to reveal a message and the ring.

Also, it may not be quite so guerilla, but it might be more romantic if you contacted the gallery in advance, and arranged to have a niche or small section of wall officially set aside, and roped off slightly (preferably with red velvet ropes keeping the public back a little bit).

For this one, <em>don't</em> have familiar photos on the box, but you can pretend to sneak over the rope for a closer look, pull the loop and reveal the ring.

romantic box.jpg

Those are some cool ideas! The corrugated plastic seems like it would be much more lightweight and probably wouldn't split like lexan would if you had to put holes through it. I also love the loop over triangle idea! I'm still fixated (for the time being) on my hanging cube idea, but I think this gives me some excellent ideas to work with.

I did think about talking to the museum ahead of time, but part of the reasoning for the guerrilla aspect of it is that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission :) Originally my idea had been to stick up a painting like Banksy did, but the appeal of the hanging cube is that it eliminates any possibility of leaving any kind of marks, residue, or damage to the walls and thus lessens the chances of museum security making a fuss.

Oh, and don't worry, she's not an instructables reader :)

Listen to Kiteman on this one. There are lots of galleries and many of the gallery owners I've met have been pretty cool, or at least open to some kind of "event" happening at their space. Helps to drum up attention for them. This gives you a lot more room to work with.

Also agreed on not using photos or anything at all that would give it away before the reveal. Let her have more of an "aha!" moment than a "what's going on here..." experience.

Reminds me of this video. 

(That's a nice video)

Yes, talk to the owner, make an event of it, and they could even have a photographer or videographer "just happen to be there" to record her response...

If she says yes, the gallery's press release would also be your official announcement, saving you the cost of doing it yourself!

Unfortunately, neither security guards nor police let you ask forgiveness, nor do they have any sense of either humor or humanity. Being detained or arrested when you're trying to propose to someone is probably not the way to get her to say yes.

Listen to Kiteman and Fungus on this one. Small galleries live and die on word of mouth and reputation for sensitivity to artists' wishes. You know you're going to be telling all your friends which gallery you used, right?

I'm impressed to near-speechlessness.

YOU are a tactically-romantic GENIUS!

Kiteman's idea is great.
I mainly just wanted to say, good luck, and (hopefully) congratulations!