Introduction: White Rainbow Light

The most beautiful aspect of rainbows is their elusiveness. Suddenly the appear, but there is no place where they actually are. Years ago I saw a white painting, with seemingly non present but visible colours. It made a big impression. First I thought there were hidden led lights. But it was just paint. After a lot of internet searching, I found similar painting and discovered the artist Herman Coppus. I made a plan to use a similar technique to build a white lamp, that lights up like a rainbow.

I drew a plan for a multilayered sphere, with the seven rainbow colors in upper and lower half. It proved to be a nice puzzle of measurements and construction. And trial and error learning. The project shown here is the second version. The first one missed a central white ring in the middle, had a poor construction with the socket and some of the measurements were off. So here is the white rainbow light 2.0.

Note there is no coloured light used. It is a white light bulb, in a (seemingly) white sphere.

Step 1: Tools and Techniques

This project would be ideal for laser cutting. If you have the skills and a laser cutter nearby. I have not. So i did everything "old school" with a jigsaw , a tiny hand drill and sanding paper.


I used 6 mm plywood (birch or poplar) and needed approx. a piece of 60 x 80 cm, and two small pieces of wood 16 x 16 x 25 mm.

Then you need a E14 socket with a threaded nipple, some electrical wire, and if not used as hanging lamp a power plug.

The right glue was a search. I ended up with normal wood glue ( PVA) and water based mounting kit.

To keep cost low I used acrylic artist paint I already had.

You will need white and black gesso or other base paint.

White and black finish paint, and the seven rainbow colours: red, orange,yellow,bright green,cobalt,dark blue,purple.

Step 2: Round and Round We Go

You will need to cut out of 6 mm plywood:

Two disks, 50 mm across, one side and rim white, one side red

Two rings, 100mm across, with a opening of 30 mm, one side and rim white, one side orange

Two rings, 140mm across, with a opening of 80 mm, one side and rim white, one side yellow.

Two rings, 180 mm across, with a opening of 120 mm, one side and rim white, one side green

Two rings, 200 mm across, with a opening of 140 mm, one side and rim white, one side cobalt blue

Two rings, 210 mm across, with a opening of 150 mm, one side and rim white, one side dark blue

Three rings, 220 mm across, with a opening of 160 mm,

two of them one side and rim white, one side purple, the other one white on all sides

One disk 80 mm across, with a hole of 10 mm in the center to connect to the socket. All sides white

To save costs you can fit the smaller disks and rings into the bogger ones when drawing them on the sheer of plywood.

Step 3: The Frame

This piece took a lot of math.... I will attach them in pdf so you can download the true size. After I sawed one quarter I screwed the two pieces temporarily on top of each other so I could copy exactly what I did the first time. The both parts have notches so they fit together in a cross shape. Note that one of them is sawn open from notch to outer rim.

Step 4: First Ring in Place

The three big rings ( 220 mm) need an opening of 45 mm to create space for the socket and lamp. The middle one ( the white one) needs further 4 notches to fit round the middle part of the frame. I painted the frame black already, as it is best to do paintwork before assembling. Take a look at the next step before you glue. The middle ring needs two more notches!

Step 5: Two Cubes

I needed some base to secure the socket, and at the same time make it possible to change the bulb. This is why I cut two little squares ( 16 x 16 mm) on the edge of the middle ring. Best you do this before assembling. I know, because I thought of it too late. Then add the two purple rings on each side and glue the cubes in the space. The last photo was shot at a later stage in the construction, but It shows the position of the cubes and their purpose.

Step 6: More Rings

The first five rings I glued with PVA wood glue and put some clasps on. The rest was difficult to use the clasps so I turned to mounting kit, because that sets more direct without pressure. First I glued the top half, and after a day of setting I turned my work upside down and glued the second half. Note that the coloured side is always in the directing of the white ring in the middle. Or If this confuses you: The colour is on the inside of the sphere.

Step 7: The Socket

You will need a threaded nipple to connect the light bulb socket with the 80 mm disk. Pull the wire through and connect it to the inside of the socket. Drill two holes in the disk and screw the disk to the two cubes in the middle rings. To change the bulb you will have to unscrew this disk.

If your lamp is going to hang from the ceiling you don't need an electrical plug. If its a table lamp you might want to connect a plug and maybe a cord switch.

Step 8: More Inspiration

It is up to you whether you hang the lamp from the ceiling, or put it on a table or shelf. It can lay down on any surface. If you are afraid it might roll off, you can place it on a small saucer or bowl or construct a standing pole to the threaded nipple on the socket. Mine is just laying without any help.

I dedicate this project to all who feel acknowledged by the rainbow symbol.


You are beautiful !

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