Introduction: Layered Lights in Wooden Frame

About: Artist & Designer // Available for commissions and collaborations

This light contain layers of matboard that have been laser cut, and then housed inside a wooden frame.

Some uses:

Use it as a lamp on your dresser! Put it over the mantel in the Tahoe cabin you're renting as a weekend getaway with friends! Hang it on the wall as decorative art!

This piece is also available for purchase on Etsy.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials needed:

  • Matboard, white
  • Wood panels
  • 2x4s,
  • Wood glue
  • Hardware
  • Addressable RGB LED strips
  • Power supply
  • Microcontroller
  • Level shifter

This is not a comprehensive step-by-step plan to make this exact LED piece. If there is any interest, we may share the design files.

With that said, we will go through the basic concepts and general idea of how to make a piece like this.

You will need some basic knowledge of these tools:

  • Illustrator or other computer illustrating software
  • Laser cutter
  • Shopbot or other wood CNC mill (optional)
  • Woodshop: compound mitre, planer, sander
  • Soldering equipment
  • LED circuitry

Step 2: Draw Your Design in Illustrator

To laser cut the matboard, we drew designs for two sets of triangles.

One large set that has a laser-etched pattern, with a hole cut-out in the middle of it so that the smaller triangle behind it is visible.

One smaller set to be the second layer.

Step 3: Build Model in Autodesk Fusion 360

Import your Illustrator design into Autodesk. Create your triangle panel with the design, and add tabs to the sides (rectangular holes act as the edge's perforation). The tabs should be wide enough for the width of your LED strips.

The LED strips will be taped onto the face these tabs, and the tabs will fold up so that the LEDs shine inward at the triangle face. Holes are placed along the ends of the tabs so that screws can be inserted through and hold them together.

Step 4: Laser Cut Matboard

Using your illustrator file, cut three of the small triangles and three of the large triangles.

The inner pattern lines are set to laser engrave, while the outline, and holes are set to cut.

Step 5: Install LED Strips and Assemble Triangle

Use double-sided tape to adhere LED strip to inside of the triangle tabs.

Fold and crease side tabs.

Use plastic nuts and bolts to screw through the tabs' holes and keep them in place.

Step 6: CNC Wood Panels

Use the CNC machine to mill out the front and back panels, as well as the middle panel that will go in between the large triangles and small triangles.

We also designed the holes into these files so that we could bolt the panels together.

Step 7: Assemble Front Frame

  1. Plane 2x4s
  2. Cut 2x4s to the correct angle
  3. Sand all wood
  4. Glue 2x4s to front wood panel
  5. Clamp and leave for 24h
  6. Sand and stain wood

Step 8: Solder and Program

Solder LED strips to fit the length of the tabs when they're folded up, and so that they are connected to one another.

Program LEDs to whatever pattern you'd like.

Step 9: Assemble Your Parts

  1. Small triangles on top of your base wooden panel.
  2. Place your middle wooden panel.
  3. Large triangles on the middle wooden panel.
  4. Cover with wooden frame.
  5. Bolt into place.

Step 10: Plug It In!

Make it Glow Contest 2018

Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2018