Introduction: Flashing Paper Lightning Bolt
My psychedelic Zeus costume required a flashy lightning bolt. I initially considered making one completely out of sheet metal, but it seemed far too dangerous to carry around, so I switched to a steel tube wrapped in card paper. I played around with many geometries before settling on the result you see here; and I am very pleased with the result. You get zigzag cross section no matter which way the bolt is turned, and the steel core gives it a nice solid feel. The steel core was also useful to mount the magnetic LED lights.
For this project you will need the following supplies:
- 1 sheet of yellow card paper (1$ from the dollar store)
- 1 four foot length of square steel tubing (half inch diameter) 8$ from hardware store.
- Some battery powered LED lights such as these.
- Ball point pen and pencil
- Clear packing tape
- Glue gun
Step 1: Wrap the Tubing
Hold the tubing along the edge of the card paper and roll it 5 times. Draw a line along this edge, and cut. Repeat one more time. These strips will be used to wrap the steel tubing. Scoring the card paper with a ball point pen prior to folding helps to guide the folds and make a cleaner finish. See the pictures to understand how I finished the ends. I then had a set of extra hands to hold the card paper tight around the bar while I applied some clear packing tape.
Step 2: Preparing the ZigZags
I played around with some plain paper until I got the geometry I was looking for. The length of the arrowheads were 24cm and the height was 20cm. After you've cut the first one, you can use it to trace the 5 others. Cut them out and score the center line with a ball point pen before folding it.
Glue the arrowheads onto the tubing with the glue gun, alternating their directions. You'll note that the short edges of the arrowheads will line up to create a nice overall pattern. Attach your lighting system, magnetic attachments make this even easier.
That's it, make sure to use your new-found electric powers for good!