Introduction: [k]NOT DARK

About: Engineer, author, 3DP lover and proud airsoft wielder.

NOT DARK (adj.): A state of not being dark, or brightness.

KNOT (noun): an interlacement of the parts of one or more flexible bodies forming a lump or knob (as for fastening or tying together).

[k]NOT DARK (noun): This specific light fixture, which has properties of the two above definitions.

Hey there! In this Instructable, I'm going to show you how to make the [k]NOT DARK light fixture. Constructed from just two scrap 2"x4"s and rope light, this is an easy-to-make, inexpensive and simple—all the while being an impactful and bright piece of art. Oh, and not to mention, you can change the knots whenever you want, to whatever knot you want.

Step 1: Fusion 360 (optional)

I designed this in Fusion 360 originally—it helps me visualize the idea before it's made, and it also helps me find issues with the idea. You can skip this step if you want to. I've included dimensions in the later steps.

Step 2: Supplies

Here's a list of supplies for [k]NOT DARK:

  1. (2) 2" by 4", 24" long. Pick out one that's relatively nice. Avoid excessive chipping and cracks.
  2. Rope light, 18 ft'.
  3. OOK SM keyhole hanger.


  1. Drill.
  2. 1" forstner bit. Or any other bit that can easily drill a 1" hole through 4" of 2"x4".
  3. 5/32" drill bit. For the pilot holes.
  4. Random orbit sander. (or any other kind of sanding machine you like to use.)
  5. 100 grit, 150 grit, and 200 grit sandpaper.
  6. Stain, your choice of shade.
  7. An old rag for applying the stain.
  8. (2) Bar clamps.
  9. Tape measure. Preferably rigid.
  10. Speed square (or calipers, if you don't have one. I didn't.)
  11. Pencil.

Step 3: Wood Prep / Stain

If you haven't already, then sand the 2" by 4"s smooth. Start with a rough grit, like 100 grit, and then progressively work up the grades to 200 grit. My pieces were already pretty smooth, so I went right to staining. Take the cloth and soak just the tip of it in stain, and then wipe it back and forth in smooth motions. Do this on the all the sides of each piece except for the back. Let it dry overnight.

Step 4: Measure

Now that you have your boards measured, you're almost ready to drill your holes. If your bit can drill through the whole board on the long side (this is very important), then all you have to do is mark the midpoint on the 2" side, and two points 2.5" from each edge. But if your bit can't (like mine)... it gets a bit harder. You have to mark the same point on both short sides of the 2" by 4". First, just mark the point like before. Then, take the calipers and put them on the board like in the second photo. Line up your mark with the tip of one of the external jaw's tips. Hinge the bar to be level with the board. Then mark where the other tip is on its side. Do the same for the both boards.

Step 5: Drill

This part's relatively simple. If you have a long bit. Just make sure you're straight, and go ahead. As for those with shorter bits... drill down as straight as possible from one side down halfway, and then the other. A drill press would be really helpful here, but even a drill guide should do. You may get a little misalignment, but as long as the rope light can fit through it, you should be fine.

Step 6: Knots

Now for the fun part: knot-tying! Place your two boards on a table and clamp them down about 36" (golden rectangle!) away from each other. Take off the plug from the rope light, and thread it through the top-right hole until you get to the end of the rope. Then tie a knot at the middle between the boards. Thread it through the next two holes, and tie another knot. One more time after that, then function check. The end product should look like the last photo.

Step 7: Mount

This step is pretty freeform. You can mount it however you like, and at whatever place you like. Just don't screw into the holes for the light rope. For mine, I put two keyhole mounts 6" away from each edge. Just make sure that when you mount yours, you make sure that it can't sway back and forth—the light rope will sag and pull the boards away from parallel. After that, mark your wall, put some nails in, and hang it. Now, all you need to do is center the knots... because light rope doesn't ever tighten all the way, it's pretty easy to adjust the knots.

Step 8: Finish.

Step back and admire your craftsmanship!

Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016

Participated in the
Lamps and Lighting Contest 2016

Dorm Hacks Contest 2016

Participated in the
Dorm Hacks Contest 2016