Moving forward with the illuminated clouds idea, I wanted to start testing ideas on how to diffuse the light given off by the lightning, as well as figure out how to create the silhouettes.
My initial attempts made it clear that a cutout card-stock figure placed behind a wall of cotton balls would not be visible at all. After playing with different configuration, I discovered that placing the figure in front of the cotton balls and only behind a piece of masking tape gave the exact effect I was looking for
When the background is illuminated the figure can be clearly seen but in the dark it is very difficult to make out the shape. This is the effect i want to move forward with.
Fade candy board, 5V power supply, 150 LED string to be cut into 2 64 strips, alot of cotton balls, hot glue/hot glue gun, something to house everything (likely plywood).