The Cloud Lamp

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Introduction: The Cloud Lamp

About: 23, college student. Love a good challenge build, most of my projects are for myself or friends. If you have any questions about anything feel free to contact me at raleighdavisup@gmail.com

It’s been almost 2 years since my last instructables post so I figured it was time to make my comeback! This project is for my bedroom in my new house. I wanted a unique lightsource that would be able to connect to the rest of the lights in my room. I saw this tiktok (yes I use tiktok) and that pushed me over the edge to make my own Cloud Lamp!

Step 1: Buying the Materials

9 Styrofoam Heads @ $7.99 ~ $71.91

4 3’ Wooden Dowels @ $2.99 ~ $11.96

4 bags of Poly Fill @ $2.99 ~ $11.96

1 can of Spray Adhesive @ $7.99 ~ $7.99

1 Hot Glue Gun @ $13.99 ~ $13.99

1 bag of Glue Sticks @ $5.99 ~ $5.99

2 Light Strips @ $74.50 ~ $149

1 Extension Cord @ $16.42 ~ $16.42

1 Roll of Fishing Line @ $5.47 ~ $5.47

1 Eye Hook @ $7.99 ~ $7.99

Total Cost of Project ~ $290.72

Noting some Points
I used styrofoam heads because I had seen this type of lamp made with a wicker ball or paper lamp base and wanted something sturdier. I happened to use heads because the spheres were almost $20 each and I wanted to keep my cost relatively low. The light strips I used are pricier but I wanted them to sync with the other lights in my room and to be controlled from my phone. I saved a bag of the poly fill to help shape up the cloud once I hung it in my new room, to correct any patches that had gotten squished during the transition.

Step 2: ​Building the Cloud

I wanted to go for the very typical “I’m in 3rd grade here’s a cloud I drew” shape for my lamp, so I began laying out the heads in different patterns and rows until I got pretty close to the shape I wanted. I used duct tape and stuck the heads together so they would hold the whole shape easier. I then looked to connect each head in at least two different directions to make the whole cloud sturdy. I measured out the dowels and cut them down to fit through the heads in multiple directions. I ended up using a drill and a bit the same size as the dowels to get a starter hole, but you can push the dowel through if you’re careful. I used about 6 dowels to hold all of the heads in place and build the framework. I then took my hot glue gun and globbed any place where two heads touched to help keep them from shifting and to make it one whole piece. Now we have a cloud base to work off of.

Step 3: ​Adding the Light(ning)

The next step was to add the LED strips to the cloud. I wanted to use two different strips rather than one longer one so that I could add two colors to the cloud. I didn't want the top and bottom to have a hard color separation, so I spiraled one strip top to bottom clockwise and the other top to bottom counter-clockwise. I made sure that both light strips covered the bottom of the cloud, as it would be hung and that would be a very visible side. (If you know exactly what area or corner you’re going to hang your lamp in, you could shift the light strips to the sides you’ll actually see). This allowed the lights to blend well and still cover the majority of the cloud. These light strips came with 3M tape on the back, which I stuck directly to the styrofoam and had no problems. I bundled their power cables up and stuck them in a plastic cup with the power supply for safekeeping within the cloud. This isn’t necessary, it was just easier for me to manage moving it around and hanging it.

Step 4: ​Making It a Cloud

Once the light strips were properly placed, I then busted open the bags of Poly Fill and got glueing. I prioritized glueing over the light strips so that the light would be dulled and look more subtle in the cloud. My goal was to make sure you couldn’t see the individual lights in the strip. I used the spray adhesive for sticking the Poly Fill, but I’m sure you could get the project done with hot glue as well. Once I covered the light strips with a solid first layer, I then went and matched that thickness over the whole cloud. Stretching a handful of poly fill fairly thin and then applying it was easier to ensure it stuck to the styrofoam. Once I had the first layer on, adding additional layers by spraying directly onto the poly fill and then padding more was easy. I repeated this process with the light strips turned on to make sure I had covered the lights enough to dull out the bulbs but to still let them shine brightly. I then went around and filled in spaces to beef up the cloud and round out any divots or major gaps; overall just making it fluffy.

Step 5: ​Putting the Cloud in the Sky

The last step of this project was to hang the cloud in the corner of my room by my PC desk. Had I had about an hour’s worth of forethought, I would’ve built the internal frame out of dowel rods and then hung the lamp from that. But alas I did not. Since the whole cloud only weighs about 5 pounds, I used the heavy duty fishing line and tied four vertical loops around the cloud and then brought them all to one loop that went through the eye hook in the ceiling. I then ran the power cable up the wall and then down through the eye hook, into the top of the cloud. If I were hanging the cloud low enough to see on top of it, I may consider a different hanging and powering method but this one worked well for my room. I connected the light strips wirelessly to my lighting system and badda bing badda boom!

Step 6: ​Finishing the Cloud

I’m super happy with how this project turned out. I could’ve easily done it for cheaper (thank you Phillips) but I like the control and capabilities of the lights I used. Here’s a clip of what the cloud can do with the other lights (Flashing Lights Warning). Let me know if you have any questions about this build or if you build it yourself! You can always reach me at raleighdavisup@gmail.com! Thanks for checking it out! If you liked this project please vote for me in the Lighting Contest!

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    4 Comments

    0
    MakeMat
    MakeMat

    10 months ago

    the result looks nice!

    maybe add a reference to the designer Richard Clarkson who conceived it?
    https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/07/the-cloud-l...

    From Clarkson’s website:

    The Cloud is an interactive lamp and speaker system,
    designed to mimic a thundercloud in both appearance and entertainment.
    Using motion sensors the cloud detects a user’s presence and creates a
    unique lightning and thunder show dictated by their movement. The system
    features a powerful speaker system from which the user can stream music
    via any Bluetooth compatible device. Using color-changing lights the
    cloud is able to adapt to the desired lighting color and brightness. The
    cloud also has alternative modes such as a nightlight and music
    reactive mode.
    Watch the video below to see how it works, and see the different variations in his online store

    clarkson cloud-1.gif
    0
    Raleighup
    Raleighup

    Reply 10 months ago

    First off thank you! I've never heard of that designer, appreciate the knowledge bomb! I've seen these all over social media and was never able to trace it back to a single designer.

    0
    NirL
    NirL

    10 months ago

    looks awesome!
    did it really cost 290$ though??? Can't you just use leftover packing styrofoam?
    About the LED strips - try aliexpress.com, they sell those for way less:)

    It really did come out perfect though! thanks for sharing!

    0
    Raleighup
    Raleighup

    Reply 10 months ago

    Most of the cost came from the light strips I used, since I was already locked in with that brand from my other lights. I have several other Phillips Hue Lights that are able to interconnect and so I wanted to make sure the cloud could as well. I've had some friends ask for me to make them ones, and I would then absolutely use cheaper light strips! I definitely think other Styrofoam could've been used, but I didn't wanna spend the time reshaping it and didn't have a ton on hand!