This is a project that I did for my integrated Design class at Otis College of Art and Design. I was inspired by the magic of aurora borealis. I used a combination of materials to achieve the look of this natural wonder.
Step 1: Inspiration
I took a walk around my school campus to get inspired for my light. I viewed both man made and natural elements.
Step 2: Buy Materials.
- 1/4 inch Maple plywood: (2) 2.5 feet by 3.5 feet sheets
- 1 inch Maple plywood: (2) 2.5 feet by 1 inch strips and (2) 3.5 feet by 1 inch strips
- I bought two 2 feet by 2 feet sheets of acrylic in two different colors. You can have more or less depending on your design preference. The amount of acrylic sheets also depends on how thick or thin you will be cutting your strips.
- I bought a two part heavy duty epoxy to ensure that my acrylic would not fall out.
LED Light Strips
- I bought two sets of LED light strips that come with a remote to change the color of the lights.
- I bought 16 feet of 1/16 inch wire rope ( i wanted to have extra just in case)
- 4 3/16 inch quick links
- 1 1/4 inch quick link
- 4 metal hook brackets
- 1inch wood screws
- 1/2 inch nails for nail gun
Step 3: Cut Wood
Take one of your 1" sheets of plywood and cut 4 strips that are 42" x 1"
Step 4: Miters
Cut two of your strips to 30" and then cut 45 degree angles on all the ends. sand down the rough bits.
Step 5: The Frame.
Glue and ends of the miter joint and glue the corners together securing it with a nail gun.
Step 6: The Top
Glue and nail the frame onto one of your 1/4" sheets of plywood. Let dry. Clean up the edges with a table router and a sander.
Step 7: Acrylic Sheets
If your acrylic sheets have a protective sticker on top you can draw lines where your want to cut your pieces. If not, your should used tape to mark your lines.
Step 8: Cutting Your Acrylic
Use a band saw to cut your acrylic sheets to your desired shape.
Step 9: Sanding
Sand down the edges and shape your pieces if you want a round edge.
Step 10: Bending
For this step you will need to set your oven to 400 degrees, a pair heat proof gloves and a safe place to put your hot acrylic sheets.
Remove any protective covering. Use foil to line your oven rack or a sheet tray. Heat your acrylic sheet for 8-9 minute. Remove from the oven with your gloves and shape using your hands, foil, or anything you can think of that the heat resistant.
Step 11: Arrange Your Acrylic
Arrange your sheets of acrylic on the style you like them and take a photo for reference.
Step 12: Trace
Set up your acrylic sheets on the top piece of your lights box. Trace around your acrylic and mark each piece with take on the acrylic as well as on the wood. This should be your final 1/4" sheet of plywood.
Step 13: Router
Using a drill bit that matches the thickness of your acrylic (1/8") drill a hole at each end of the spaces your drew on the wood. Then, using a router bit that matches the thickness of your acrylic, cut out the gap where your acrylic will fit in.
Step 14: Hardware
Screw in brackets for wire rope to attach to. Mark the holes. Drill pilot holes and then screw them in
Step 15: Paint
Paint light box that will house your LED's.
Step 16: Bottom
Re-heat the end of your acrylic sheet that will go into the wood with a heat gun and fit your wood. Then use a two part epoxy glue to glue them in place
Step 17: LED's
I used two packs of colored LED light packs. When you open your lights make sure they work. Remove the paper from the back of the LED strips and place on the top of the light box. Souter the two end of the lights together and the check to make sure they work.
Step 18: Close It Up.
Nail the two pieces together and our done! Enjoy!
Participated in the
Lights Contest 2017
5 years ago
Just came here to say that when I first laid eyes on a picture of your work I thought "Hey, that looks kinda like the Northern Lights!" before reading what it was. Thought you should know. ;-)
6 years ago
Impressive ! Lighting by the acrylic slice should give stunning results.
6 years ago
Very cool. Do you have any videos of the color changing.