This project brings together the normal necessities of a painting and spices it up with the warm glow of a few LEDs. The LEDs give a bit more light to your normal wall hanging.
The abilities of conductive paint are endless and I hope to see more projects coming out in the future.
Step 1: Materials Needed
- paint brushes
- acrylic paint
- conductive paint
- LEDs (I'm using red 3mm ones)
- battery holder
- batteries (CR2032 type)
- alligator clips
- needle nose pliers
- nail polish
Step 2: Deciding on a Design
I always like to have a plan for what I'm going to make and just like with this project I made a rough (very rough) sketch of what I was thinking for the painting.
As you can see from the lovely sketches the first is simply the design. The second depicts where the LEDs will generally go and also where the positive/negative lines of paint will connect each LED together, eventually leading to the battery.
Step 3: Prepping and Testing the LEDs
First you'll want to mark which prong of the LED is positive (the longer one), mark this with nail polish.
Now test all your LEDs by hooking them up with the alligator clips and battery. This helps with two things 1. to make sure you have the right color and 2. to make sure all the LEDs work before getting too far into the painting.
Lastly, using your needle nose pliers bend and twirl the prongs so that the LED can sit straight up and are able to be attached to the canvas.
Step 4: Sketching on the Canvas
Next you'll want to lightly sketch onto the canvas, with a pencil, the design you wish to paint and where the LEDs might want to be placed.
Now put the LEDs on the canvas and you can start to visualize the painting. Make sure the positive prongs will all be connected in the same line, as you cannot have positive and negative touching each other.
These steps simply help me to stay organized with where to put the LEDs, conductive paint, acrylic paint etc.
Step 5: Applying the Conductive Paint
Be sure to mix up the conductive paint before applying it to the canvas.
With the LEDs aligned on the canvas begin to paint on the conductive paint in two lines connecting all LEDs together using their negative and positive prongs. You will then have all the negatives connecting via the paint and all the positives doing the same.
You will paint over each prong to make sure the connections are complete and to make sure all LEDs receive power.
On the left hand of the painting be sure the conductive paint goes all the way to the edge of the canvas and then down the side to the back of the canvas. The battery holder will be attached by the paint. Be sure you correctly match-up the positive and negative of the batter holder and the paint to ensure a proper connection.
NOTE: You may need to apply a few coats of conductive paint to ensure proper connection and power to all LEDs.
Step 6: Starting With the Acrylic Paint
Once the conductive paint has fully dried (at least a few hours) you can then start the acrylic painting process.
I'm doing a pretty solid color background and covered the whole canvas in blue. Be careful not to fully coat the LEDs in paint during the process.
From the picture you can still the conductive paint lines, no worries though, these will be gone after the other coats of paint are applied.
Step 7: Give the Tree Life!
Now onto the "real" painting! Once the background has dried add the trunk and limbs of the tree. Everything except the trunk can be pretty rough as you're going to add multiple layers on top of the brown paint.
Do make sure to try and first cover all the conductive paint lines with the brown branches, to make sure that they're fully covered once all the paint as been added.
Step 8: Adding the Leaves
When I paint I like to work off the idea of layers and continue to lay colors over colors.
Now that the branches are applied, there is no need to wait for them to dry. Start to now add green and dot in your leaves over the branches and a bit over the trunk.
The dotting method, which I used, gives the painting a nice textured look and also just gives it a bit more pop, but feel free to paint how you wish!
Step 9: Now Comes the Blossoms
Again no need to wait for the green to dry because adding the pink blossoms to the green will continue to mash all the colors together.
Using what I have no coined as the "dotting method" add your first (darkest layer) of pink blossoms all around the tree.
Step 10: The Tree Is Shaping Up!
Now you'll add the next layer of slightly lighter pink blossoms, which continues to add a bit of depth to your tree.
Continue to be careful to not coat the LEDs in paint, as you want their color to shine through when lit up!
Step 11: Adding the Last of the Paint
Your tree is almost done! The last painting job left is to paint a few speckles of the lightest pink blossoms to the tree.
Also maybe add a few blossoms falling to the ground if you'd like.
Step 12: Light It Up!
The only thing left to do is let the paint dry fully. Once dried add your battery to the side of the painting and watch the LEDs light-up to give your painting a great bit of flare!
Enjoy your conductive paint and LED painting, please post if you make a painting of your own!