For all of you currently living in your parents' basement or will move back to live in your parents' basement, dress out your windowless abode with this neat faux window mood light. Btw, your own room has already been rented out long ago.
Build this if you want to similate the morning glow of a red dawn armageddon or the cool blue of an Aurora Borealis. Light up your batcave in any hue of the rainbow.
This is a basic LED strip light in a shadowbox. Use this as a base unit to expand upon with microcontrollers and whatever else
Step 1: Sourcing Your Points of Light...
This quick project was done using materials I had around the house.
I still had the 18 x 24 x 6 inch cardboard shipping box from when Instructables sent me a batch of goodies to play with. It was a nice sturdy box and the outside was white instead of the kraft paper brown.
The LED light strip was part of that Tech Box. I had used it for my Doctor Who Time Crack in the Universe Wall Light. (RGB LED remote controlled light strip, TaoTronics 5050 RGB 300 LED strip light (TT-SL007)) It has several modes of operation to animate the lights.
I used a cutting from my roll of patterned clear plastic shelf liner material to use as the bezel of the lightbox. The shelf liner also helps to diffuse the bright LEDs. This is not that adhesive shelf liner contact paper. Stick two sheets back to back to form a non sticky plastic sheet if you are using that. You could also use an old bedsheet or light colored garbage bags. Try laminating a layer of plastic shopping bags with just an iron.
The only thing I needed to get was a set of vinyl venetian window blinds to complete the look. You can use any kind of window covering or treatment you like to include various types of shades or curtains. I just got a cheapo set of blinds that worked out fine for this.
And you need the usual crafting tools, glues and tie wraps or tape.
CAUTION: Cutting instruments like utility knives and scissors are sharp. Hot glue is hot. Very hot.
Step 2: Box It In...
The enclosure for the unit can be made of anything you want. It is essentially just an open framed box.
The front and sides can be from laser or CNC cut plywood, 3D printed if you have lots and lots of time, or just knocked together with some 2 x 4 timbers.
You can get real fancy and dress it up with moulding to delineate window panes or give it a fancy border trim. Here, I just modded my shipping box. I used the width of my yardstick as a gauge to draw an outline of the picture frame front.
I cut the opening oversize so I could fold back the edge and glue it down for a reinforced cardboard edge. On the inside, I glued some extra pieces of cardboard on the corner cutouts for better reinforcement.
Once that is all dried, you can cut a piece of your plastic shelf liner to use as the window pane or covering.
Starting from one edge, lay down a bead of hot glue and adhere the plastic to the cardboard frame. There is a lot of hot glue here so be careful. Allow extra time to cool and use gloves if needed to press the plastic into the hot glue line.
On the top rail, glue in a piece of wood. I had some scrap 1 x 3 furring strips. Cut a piece to fit inside the top portion of the box. Glue that to the inside face of the top rail. This will be the mounting plate for the window blinds on the front. I glued in some more cardboard along the inside top to tie in the wood strip to the box.
If desired, you can print out silhouettes of famous landmarks, skylines, trees, animals or anything you want in order to make this a kind of shadowbox lamp. Trim closely and tape on the inside to the window "glass".
Step 3: It's So Bright You Have to Put Sunglasses On...
Well, at least get some shades.
Test fit to see how your LED lighting strip should be mounted. It is ok if the LED strip is longer than needed.
It has an adhesive backer strip running along its length but I will probably reuse this strip in another project later on. I just punched holes in the cardboard walls with an awl so that I could loop a nylon tie-wrap through and fasten the LED strip. Add as many tie-wraps so that the ring of the LED strip is suspended in the box. Adjust the strip so that all the LEDs can shine and are not covered up by the adjoining strip.
The LED strip has an IR sensor receiver attached in the circuit at the beginning of the strip. I placed that in one of the lower corners. You just have to punch a hole in the cardboard and push it in so it protrudes on the other side to mount it. The tiny sensor has to be unobstructed to get the IR signals emitted from the remote control. Tape down any loose wires in the back.
Route the power cable through the opening where the back cover folds back.
You may have to trim around the back cover flaps so it can properly close.
Turn it over to the front with the embedded wood top rail at the top.
Follow the manufacturer's directions in the box to mount your vinyl window shades.
The mounting brackets can be screwed into the wood top rail which is behind the cardboard.
Hang it up on a wall.
Plug it in.
Press the buttons on the remote.