Futuristic Lighting Upcycle Progress

I decided to do a lighting study on ways to diffuse the light. Diffusion is absolutely key in achieving the intended aesthetic. Without proper diffusion, the lighting is too harsh and stands out so much to the point that the lights are more of an eyesore than anything. This is where adding LED strips usually goes wrong in similar projects. Diffusion is key.


[   Lighting Study   ]

For the purpose of this test I used an extra LED strip I had laying around from an old project. Note that the light is so concentrated and intense that the individual lights each create a very strong lens flare. While these specific anamorphic style flares may be reminiscent of a sci-fi film, they do not fit the overall intended aesthetic. They are very straining on your eyes to have lying around like this.


In an attempt to diffuse the light, I choose three different materials to test. On the left is Kleenex tissue paper. Middle is printer paper. Right is gift tissue paper. Since the papers are resting directly against the lights, the intended diffusion effect is not achieved.


Using tape to create a dome with each paper, the intended effect was achieved. The added space between the light source and the diffusion material allowed the light to diffuse before hitting the paper. The Kleenex tissue was very flimsy and did not properly take the shape. The gift tissue was slightly better at maintaining rigidity, while the printer paper was the most rigid. Based on this test, the printer paper yields the best result.


To get an idea of how the diffusion paper could be implemented, I created a test using a clear container from some delicious sorbet. A key observation is that the printing on the surface will need to be removed since it clearly shows through the paper. For this test, printer paper is on the left and gift tissue is on the right. Kleenex tissue was not studied due to poor results from the previous tests.  Both materials work well, with positives and negatives for each. The printer paper does not transmit as much light, but has a smoother effect. The gift paper lets more light bleed through, but shows wrinkles easily. In both cases, proper distancing from the light source and the diffusion material was not achieved, which is causing the diffusion effect to be less effective.



[   Study Conclusions   ]


Diffusion is necessary to achieve intended aesthetic

Diffusion material must be separated from light source

Paper or gift tissue are both effective at diffusing light, while Kleenex tissue is not recommended

Paper will maintain shape better than tissue

Tissue transmits more light than paper

Paper has a smoother / more uniform diffusion effect with a more pleasing grain effect

Markings on shaping device must be removed

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Hey Brayden, looks like your project is coming along nicely! It is definitely interesting to see the lighting affect of different materials at varying distances. Did you consider using any type cloth covering, or is there a particular reason for using paper products? Also have you considered making a structure (out of coat hanger wire or something) to mount the paper/cloth on to? Whatever you end up doing, I am excited to see the final product!

  • Hey Brayden! This is a cool idea! The futuristic aesthetic is one of my favorite of all time I think. The modern sci-fi movies often have it and I just think it looks so cool and is pleasing to the eye. I think its great you’re upcycling an old LED and ice cream container to make a light for this aesthetic! I had a thought about your diffuse light problem. Perhaps you could wrap the LEDs around a toilet paper roll or other cylindrical object that has a smaller radius than that of the talenti tub. That way the lights wont be able to spread out and touch the edge of the container, and they will still be spread evenly and face all sides of the container. Just a thought! Also, I was wondering if your talenti container is going to be attached to some sort of stand or will it be free-standing?

    Can’t wait to see the final product!

    • Brayden Shelley
      February 15, 2021 11:41 am

      Hi Valerie! Thanks for you comment and suggestions! I really like the idea of putting another cylinder on the inside to wrap the lights on. I’ll give it a shot! I’m planning on integrating the containers somehow so it feels like its more integrated and intentional. Thanks!


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