Hidden-in-plain-sight Window to a Blacklight Universe

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Introduction: Hidden-in-plain-sight Window to a Blacklight Universe

About: I'm a designer - I started off working with commercial Architecture/Interior design and transitioned through to Graphic, Product, and Industrial Design. I love making things, especially trying new techniques.

I have a weird space on my wall where they cut out a portion of the wooden beam. This wall is my "blacklight art" wall and I thought, that would be a great place to put something "hidden in plain sight". The white wall paint obviously didn't glow, but white paper looks magical underneath blacklight.

I didn't want it obvious in any way, so decided to design a piece specifically for that spot. I wanted it to quixotic and awe filled. Using the universe made it feel like it was a small window in the wall through to the night sky.

The quote is from Possession, by Sarach McLachlan.


Supplies

  • White sticker paper
  • White paper
  • PVC glue (white glue, but make sure it doesn't fluoresce)
  • Exacto knife
  • Small hole punches
  • Fluorescent markers
  • (optional) Cricut Maker (or equivalent - not needed, but it makes this project go quicker)
  • (optional) Vinyl transfer paper/sticker (the stuff they use to move cut vinyl to windows)

Step 1: Design Your Piece

Layout your design. I measured and laid it all out in Illustrator before cutting, but you can use any program or simply freehand it. I like simple geometries, but you can easily make a secret garden scene or forest or whatever design.

Step 2: Adjust Your Design to Make It Easier to Mount

The way I like to do stuff is by not having to measure too much while I'm installing. Therefore, I make installation guides. In this case, with each moon, I made a rectangle around each piece so that I know how high from the ceiling to place it and how far to place them apart. Also, I made tabs in the design that I would later cut out using an Exacto so that it wouldn't shift or make it difficult to install.

If you're going to include text, it's better to cut all the way through and use vinyl transfer paper to place the letters. Otherwise it gets tedious and you'll hate dealing with it. Google "How to use vinyl transfer paper" as I forgot to document it.

Step 3: Layout Your Design for Cutting

While it's easier to use an automatic cutter, you can get the same effect by printing thin outlines on sticker paper and cutting with an Exacto knife. I wanted thin text so a cutter was easier.

Step 4: Mount the Design

Take some measurements from a reference point. In Illustrator, it's easy to do that by selecting both objects and checking the width.

I didn't document this part, so I drew out how I did it.

Measure on the wall and take the first sticker, peel off the backing, and place it gently in place. Press only enough so that it stays in place without falling. Do not press to hard on the installation guide as it might stick and be hard to remove later. Place the rest of the pieces in order.

Then cut the tabs on the sticker and remove the installation guides.

Step 5: Decorate the Background

To make the nebulous sky and stars, I used a few techniques. Turn on the blacklight while you're decorating. I also turned on the regular lights every now and then to make sure that I wasn't applying too much color that would be visible during the day.

Technique 1: Wad up white paper and wet it. Knead it until soft and then put some white glue on it. Rub it on the wall to produce a cloudy nebulous background.

Technique 2: Wipe a fluorescent marker onto a paper towel (make sure it doesn't glow in the blacklight). Then spray it with a bit of water and smudge/blot it on the wall. This creates the same cloudy nebulous effect, but in fluorescent. Use a reference photo if you need.

Technique 3: Make stars by using the fluorescent marker to tap tiny dots. Or use a small hole punch on a peeled sheet of sticker paper. If you face the cutting edge so that it's toward the sticky side, it will come out easier. Then you take it off and stick it on the wall. Or you can use fluorescent powders (I used a makeup kit I had on hand).

Be sure to mask off any areas you don't want color (like the moons - I just used a small test circle I cut out of regular paper and stippled on top).

Step 6: Stand Back and Awe at the Sky Window

That's it. Now, you can stare at this little night sky window you made!

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