Final Documentation — Dian Chen

Finally, I finished my paper-cut night light as the project of light art practicum. The basic concept comes from shadow box, which made from different types of paper and LED strip light. After 7 weeks’ design, attempts, failure and polish, the project is completely done.

An overview

The original design

After deciding to make a night light, I started to design the subject of this project, including shape, scene, material and size. The main part of the paper sculpture is made by cardstock, which is stronger than the normal letter paper. At the same time, the size of the light is limited by the size of paper, because the largest size of cardstock I can get is 11 x 14 inches. Therefore, the actual light is a little smaller than I thought before. During period of designing the subject, there was just a full moon on the sky which inspired me that I really want moon to be part of the project. Therefore, I designed the landscape of forest with a full moon.

Sketch of the theme

Working process

The circle on the left top conner is the “moon”, which I used balloon as a model and applied paper tissue and glue on it; after it got dry and solid, I could put light source inside it. Due to the limitation of the whole size, I made three different size of this “moon” to fit the paper sculpture. Because the glue always takes a quite long time to get dry, I made thest “peper ball” first.

“light ball” made by paper tissue
A much smaller size covered by white paint

After having the paper moon, I started putting the cardstock peper to get each layer of the paper sculpture. Originally, I planned to get fifteen to eighteen layers to create more elements for this project.

Overlaid paper cut

The most difficult part of this project is cutting those paper. Actually, it is not hard, but quite time-consuming, since there are some tiny, detailed pieces. After finishing cutting all the pieces, I put foam board between two layers, which enables light to go through and create shadow with different level of intensity.

A failure

After putting every piece together and installing the light source, I tried to hang the paper moon into the designed position. Unfortunately, I realized the texture of the paper moon totally cannot fit with the texture of the cardstock paper, which looks quite disharmony. Also, I felt the paper sculpture looks quite complete in current stage. As a result, I have to give up the idea about making moon as the main part of the project.

Assemble everything

The final step is to polish, which I want to make the frame of this night light more strong and solid. I inspired by the method I used to create those paper ball, since they are quite hard and can stay in a good shape.

A side view
A final look

This is the final look of this project, which I’m quite satisfied with current accomplishment. The creation of shadow between different layers also looks pretty, which meets my original expectations.

Future work

However, if I can get more time to work with this project, I will add more elements to the subject of the paper sculpture as well as using another type of LED strip light to create a dynamic light environment. Also, I can have time to refine the detail of the project, which makes it more decorative.

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