Tuesday, 23 October 2012

I've been trying to work out a way to translate some of the things I've learned from making lights into a "home craft"; you know, a set of instructions, a "how to" make something amazing with led lights.
The resin casting techniques aren't something that many people will (or should) take up in a home environment. Not if you want to keep your clothes, carpets and work surfaces looking perfect.
So, if we can't cast our forms, we're going to have to construct them.
 One thing I have played around with a lot is the "infinity mirror" concept, where light sources are placed between a mirror (back) and a two way mirror (front). The reflections become "serial", so if the light sources are arranged around the edge, it creates a tunnel effect.
Two / one way mirror is expensive, so I have used acetate sheet laminated with mirror film, to try out the effect in various projects. It's great for cutting and folding geometric forms and it could be substituted with mirror card, if necessary.
What about the lights? Of course, we could do a tutorial about how to arrange and solder an led array but that would be pointless. That information is already widely available and let's face it, "soldering iron" on the equipment list would be a bit off putting.
LED fairy lights are one answer, as far as a light source is concerned. There are also the battery operated, LED "tea lights" that we can use as a safe, stand alone light source.
The tutorials I have planned are for fabulous kaleidoscope shades that you can add to the above that will actually increase the amount of light you get from your leds.

One thing I'm worried about (believe me, there are loads) is that currently, I'm using industrial strength superglue to fix them together. I tell you, it's all fun & games 'till someone gets stuck to the table.
I've had some terrible incidents with superglue, not least, spilling a large amount on a wool jumper. I'm not noted for my sartorial elegance but I started to gently smoke. Wool apparently accelerates the exothermic reaction if applied in large enough amounts. Spontaneous combustion is not a good look.
John had an even more extreme incident.( It all goes wrong when the top blocks and you have to pull the "dropper" bit out of the main bottle. If you use it, be thorough about cleaning the top of the dropper before you put the lid back on). John managed to glue his jumper to his belt and jeans, his jeans to his boot, his bootlace to his boot & himself to the superglue bottle. By the way, carpets smoke if you spill large amounts of superglue on them, too.
His take on the incident is "And they say men can't multitask".
I'm guessing that I will be able to make a "light" version, forgive the pun, with mirror card & double sided tape, for people who prefer to keep their fingers separate. I've got the mirror card on order, so as soon as I can, I'll try it out & take the tutorial photos using that.
Here's a couple of photos to give you an idea of the first project I'm planning - hexagon shaped reflectors. They're pretty versatile - you could fit them together to make a panel or even a ball and I'm going to work out how to do that just as soon as I can find the time.

Just a quick reference to the post about awards, below. We spent some time thinking about it and frankly, we are too small a business to launch something like this at the moment. It would be crossing the fine line between "thinking big & being ambitious" and "biting off more than you can chew". Perhaps we will get some help offered with this sometime in the future; it would need publicity and proper management to be worthwhile and meaningful.

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