Picturesque Paper Panoramas: (Custom Light Box)




Introduction: Picturesque Paper Panoramas: (Custom Light Box)

Welcome to my debut Instructable.

In this Instructable I'll be showing you one of my creative ideas which is a custom light box. You can see it in the picture, but it looks much better in real life. Its solely made out of paper, although different kinds of paper. You could call it a painting since its like a work of art. But unlike an ordinary painting, you can change and customise the art as much as you like to produce majestic light displays or panoramas. Place it on top of any light source and create breathtaking 3d artworks.

If you have access to a Cricut machine or anything similar, feel lucky because then this project should be a piece of cake. Even if you don't. Theres no need to feel disheartened because theres still a way, albeit longer.

Step 1: To Print or to Trace?

While this project becomes much faster and easier with a paper laser printer, I can not assist people with that process as I don't have a paper cutting machine myself. However, the objective is to create that template on the A1 sized card stock or Ivory sheet. If you don't have a printer capable of printing the entire A1 sheet in one go, it may prove useful to split the template into 5 parts and print them out separately and then stick them together later. You would need to refer to the template measurements I have attached above to create the layout on the appropriate software. If you prefer, you could choose on creating the entire template on an A3 sheet but it would result in a much smaller scale and the finished product may create less impact.

The other option, is to trace the template by with a ruler and pencil onto the sheet. A cutting mat is also useful for its trace lines here.

Alternatively, one could also print the template by using a large format printer

Tracing requires accuracy. For tracing on a A1 sized paper, its ideal to use a 24 inch ruler so that it can match the length of the paper easily. Furthermore, have a spacious working station. It will create more efficiency and be much more comfortable to work in

The dotted lines are scoring lines. You must not cut them. Use a scoring tool to press the paper and make it easier to fold it in the later stages. The normal black lines on the other hand are to be cut.

Step 2: Cutting: W/o Cutting Machine

The machine should cut the paper directly. However, for the ones that traced the paper, grab your craft knives and a pair of scissors and spread the entire sheet on a big cutting mat or somewhere you wont destroy your table

You may use weights or paper clips to fasten the sheet if you have unsteady hands. Use the ruler and the craft knife to cut out all the black lines not the score lines. As I said, this would be easier with a cutting machine and may consume a fair amount of time.

Keep a steady hand and don't make false cuts as it could ruin the entire sheet.

Step 3: Folding and Sticking

With your template ready. Its time to fold and stick it together

With the help of the score lines, create neat and straight folds. Be careful about the dangling strings after the cutting. You may use a ruler to help yourself fold longer lines.

The edges are the tricky part. It has a little bit of origami in it. After you've folded all the score lines neatly:

  • Fold up the flaps on the edges and make them as compact as possible
  • Lift up the first three edges closest to the edge
  • Slide the folded flaps beneath the lifted strings
  • Push them all the way through then open the folded flaps

In the same way do all of the sides. The ones of right and left and more or less the same as well.

Now you can see your box taking shape. Use glue to stick the flaps next to the sides and make the box structure. Allow it some time to dry.

The reason there are flaps coming out of the sides of the box (which were hard to make) are because we want to hide the edges that will come out of the box after we are finished placing all the pieces in it. It blocks the unsightly and random support edges out of the view so that the centre of the composition can take the limelight.

Step 4: Planning the Composition

Part 1 is completed.

For the second part, you need to design the contents of the box and the composition. There is a light source at the back so keep in mind that you can take advantage of it and make your work more impactful. Here are some pictures for inspirations. Plan the composition in layers, there is the first layer, then the second layer, then the third and so on. Draw what you want in each of the layers. There are 10 layers so make the most of them.

Or, you can simply do the same thing I made to get comfortable with how it works. This is the easy part so after making what I made you can change the contents of the box and put in something new, of your own. Its customisable after all.

Use a paper to draw what you have in mind and make a layout like mine.

Links of Pictures:

The scene is this instructable is inspired by

Step 5: Choose Your Weapons : Art

Pastels, Paint or Photoshop. I have you covered.

If you're making it with Paint then avoid using too much water (don't use watercolours) as it will cause wrinkles on your Cartridge sheet. The reason were using a Cartridge sheet is because its fairly firm, good for working on and is slightly translucent, accentuating the effects of the back light.

I personally preferred the Soft pastels for my composition because I believed they would give me the sandy texture of the beach as well as the smooth finish for the ice.

Whatever you're using, even photoshop. First make a 10mm margin on your A4 sized cartridge sheet or on your Photoshop layer. The contents inside the margin are visible. Don't cut the margin off its important.

Start with the last layers. The one furthest from the the front of the box. Whats in your background? Trace out the required space, colour it and cut it out. Again don't remove the margins. For Photoshop users, create a new layer and use the pen tool or the lasso tool to select what you need and fill it with whatever you want in it.

Similarly, do all the layers on new Cartridge sheets till you're on the one closest to you. For Photoshop users, make new layers for each sheet and do the same. After you're done with all of them, save a JPEG of each of the layers by hiding the other layers and saving them in a folder. Print them on a Cartridge sheet or ideally what you prefer. After printing, cut them out. You should have lots of cutouts and layers at this point in time. You can arrange them and see what your composition looks like.

Step 6: Attaching It Together

Now on the cut outs that you made. Cut about 20mm from each of the ends of the margin. This will help keep the layers in place and not fall off.

Now slide these layers into their respective slots, starting with the one at the back and then fold the ends of the margins that you just cut out to lock them in place.

To finish it up, Stick the Butter paper or V Paper in the back. You can add other ornaments also. I decided to put in a paper canoe so that people know that the floor is water.

Even though it looks fantastic right now, stick it up against a light source and you might get eye-gasms.

Remember you can change the composition as much as you want by doing Step 4, 5 & 6 again if you get bored of them. Thats' the whole purpose behind it.

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    I wish that I had access to a cricut. It would give me access to a lot more potential papercraft projects.