Airbrushed Painting With LED Backlight




Introduction: Airbrushed Painting With LED Backlight

Hey! Thanks for checking out my first Instructable,I hope you like it!

I made this painting for a friend because he wanted a special gift for his wife. She's really likes the Delorean of "Back to the future" so the theme wasn't that difficult to choose! Because I'm a big fan of "Back to the future" too it made it even more fun to do this project.

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Step 1: Get Your Shoppinglists Ready!

Don't get scared away because of the big list of all the stuff you need for this project,some of the parts are optional or can be replaced with household items.

So this is what I used:

- Picture frame ( what size? whatever you want,but the smaller the frame the smaller the details will be and the more difficult it will be)

Now I used a normal picture frame with a depth of 1 inch. I know there are pictureframes for sale that have some depth between the glass and the backplate of the frame,these will work best and will safe you the trouble of creating the depth yourself.

- vinyl for stencilling

before you start check how this vinyl will work on glass, stick a small piece ont the glass and make sure there are no air bubbles underneath the vinyl. Check the glass for glue that's left behind while removing the vinyl. You want a clear and clean glass after removing so make sure you have good quality vinyl. Bad quality vinyl can mess up your complete painting!

- transfer paper ( for placing your stencil on the glass )

- LED lighting ( whatever LED-lighting you like )

- Aluminum foil ( this household item is optional but I recommend it for making the back-plate more reflective)

- Aluminum tape ( also recommended,you can use regular tape aswell, if you skip the aluminum foil you can skip this part too)

- double sided tape

- semi transparent foil ( optional, this is use to make the lighting more diffusing and less "sharp",it also will prevend to make the back plate visible)

- (spray) paint (I used an airbrush because I like the effect of it,you can use spraypaint cans too I guess but make sure that you workspace is well ventilated! I don't know how the vinyl will react with the chemical based paint so that's a thing you have to figure out for yourself. If you dont have an airbrush or want to use spraypaint you can use an old fashioned brush aswell I guess ;) )

- "paint stiring sticks" ( optional,okay while writing this part down it sounds ridiculous and I'm not sure if it's a common item all over the world,so I'll try to explain what I mean. these are small pieces of wood what we get at our hardwear stores to stir paint with, these measure around 10" by 0,5". I used these to create the depth between the glass and the back plate but if you bought the frame with the depth you can skip this part,at least you could have a laugh about my explanation!)

The Tools!

- computer (optional, this is easier to make stencils,it can be done with almost any image editing software)

- printer (optional, if you can draw well you don't need a printer,if you have a "Cameo Silhouette" you don't need a printer )

- X-acto knife ( or if you have the change to use a stencil plotter it makes the job a lot easier! I used the "Cameo Silhouette" of my girlfriend but you can cut the stencil by hand too.

- sciccors

- cutting mat

- crafts hook ( optional, don't know the name of this small tool but it is helpfull to peel the stencilparts of)

Step 2: Design

Like I told in the introduction,my design was pretty clear. It had to be the Delorean!
This part is where all you creative people get your change to choose whatever subject you like. Pick any subject and start looking for inspiring pictures. try to combine pictures and make a couple designs. When you have the design you're looking for try to simplify your design and make a stencil out of it. Your stencil should look like a simplified version of the original design.If your using a computer,you can get this done by using with the editing program and play aroud with contrast,saturation and lighting, you don't need colors in your stencil so make it black and white.

If you're making a stencil by hand don't try to add very much or small details,don't try to make it impossible for yourself. For example,if your design is made of a portrait dont put every wrinkle or eyelash into your stencil,this will be a terrible job to cut out by hand,keep it simple,you don't need the smallest details to have a great result!

Step 3: Get Your Design in Place!

After fine-tuning my design I made Natalia's name in the "Back to the future"-font to give a bit more personal touch. As you can see my design is mirrored,that's because I'm going to paint it from the inside of the pictureframe. Why? very simple, first of al paint on glass is very easy to scratch of so if the paint is on the inside of the frame it will be protected. Second part is, it's way easier to paint when you're using a stencil.

!!! remember when you make your stencil that it has to be mirrored and it has to be negative!!!

I made my stencil the easy way as you (hardly) can see in the picture with the black vinyl stickerfoil,after peeling the negative loos with the craft-hook I placed the stencil onto the glass with the transferpaper.

Step 4: Add Some Color to Your Project!

After I putted the stencils in place I taped off the sides of the glass,this will give you a clean outline of your paintjob and give it a nice little detail in the end. So,now you have you negative stencil in place and its time to color your background and the outlines you peeled of out of your design,I used black for the background aswell but go with whatever you like! Take the glass out of the frame and place it on a soft material,rubber or cloth aslong if it can't damage or scratch the glass.

!!! Be carefull while handeling glass,I was carefull and still cutted my finger !!!

when you airbrush or spraypaint the glass it's better to paint thin multiple layers instead of one covering fat layer! the result of thin layers will be much nicer and will dry evenly.

After the background and outlines you painted its time to remove the first part of the stencil, be carefull you don't tear the paint with the stencil!
the part that will be removed is the part you put your next color in. Like you can see in my picture it was the silver part.
Because we are painting in "mirror-mode" we don't have to think about our first layer of paint anymore! This is allready the first layer on the other side of the glass so any color we add now wont cover the first color we painted!
This proces you'll repeat with the rest of the colors you will use.

After you painted all the colors you wanted its time for some shiny outlines and highlight!
The last part of my stencil I peeled of the glass I left open whitout any colors so it will let the light trough freely and will create the highlight of you object.You can see the green rubber mat underneath the glass in my last picture.

Step 5: Light!

The painting part is done,so put the glass carefully back into the frame and don't scratch the painted glass! I used some rubbergloves this time to make sure I didn't leave any marks on the glas.

It's time to add some lights into your project!
The LED's that I had worked on batteries so I had to cut out a small piece out of the backplate so you can turn the light on and change the batteries without taking the complete painting apart.
The next step is optional but I made the backplate reflect more light with aluminum foil and taped it with the aluminum tape. The LED's I taped in a spiral shape onto the backplate also with aluminum tape but you can do this with regular tape aswell I guess aslong it's kept in place.

Step 6: Almost There!

Now you have your design painted and your lights in place it's time to combine your creations!
this step will be optional but it gave me a nice result so I had to share it.
On the back of the painting I taped with the double sided tape a covering piece of semi transparent foil (use a real thin line of tape that won't be visible when the frame will cover the glass!). Because of the foil you wont see trough the glass anymore and see the backplate.

I had to make the frame fit the backplate again but you can skip this part too if you have a picture frame with the depth like I mentioned earlier. I had to create this depth myself with the "paint stiring sticks" (:$)
After the frame was fixed I putted the backplate with the lights in place and taped is with the aluminum tape.

Step 7: Finally Done!

The last step was the most exciting,put the batteries in place and look what your final project looks like!

first picture if lights off

second picture lights on in daylight,it's hard to see in the picture but if you look close you can see there is some blue/purle shade around the car.

third picture gives the best result !

Well,I hope you liked my first instructable!
Have fun and stay creative!;-)

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    9 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome dude! You have the tools, you have the talent!!! Keep up the good work :D


    Reply 5 years ago

    Wow! Thanks for the very big compliment! This is the best reward for making a project! :D

    blast replicas
    blast replicas

    5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this! You've presented another project for me to add to my to do list.


    Reply 5 years ago

    No problem! I hope my instructions are usefull,let me know if you have any questions and don't forget to show your creations!


    5 years ago

    Cool project. I love how you used the vinyl to do it. Great first instructable.


    Reply 5 years ago

    thank you! always nice to hear when your project is appreciated! :-)


    5 years ago

    I have no idea if that will work but if you keep the highlights open it will give you a effect aswell I guess,let me know how it works out if you're going to try it!


    5 years ago

    thanks man,glad you like it! :-)