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Replacing images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

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Project Idea - Replacing images in a revolving lamp

How to replace images in a revolving lamp with your own artwork. Using Transparency paper and a little paint.

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

How to replace images in a revolving lamp using transparency paper

Materials:
  • Revolving lamp (found at our local china town)
  • Artwork / illustrations
  • Access to copy center who can copy your design onto A3 transparencies
  • White acrylic paint
  • Sponge roller
  • Additional copy of your design on plain A3 paper (to be used as a stencil)
  • Craft knife
  • Steel ruler
  • Cutting mat


  • One day at our local China town we found a wonderful and cheap lamp where the images rotate inside it. The inner layer rotates one way, while the outer layer rotates the other. We decided to replace the original images with our very own artwork. Here's what we did...

    We took the top off the lamp and pulled out the two cylindrical translucent plastic sheets from inside (These sheets have the imagery printed on them) They were attached to the rotating mechanism at the bottom of the lamp in a very easy style. Three little rectangles were cut out of each plastic sheet, which allowed it to fit and click perfectly into position. Therefore, all we needed to do was to use these original plastic sheets as our templates, and using the exact same dimensions, replicate the shape and add our own images.

    Using a computer program we drew it out exactly to size and laid our digital illustrations into place. (If you don't have a computer you could draw out the shape on a large piece of paper (or you could trace the template), and then glue your images into position.

    Be sure to include all the markings you will need to cut out later, such as the slits for joining the sides to create the cylinder shape and the rectangles designed to clip into the rotating mechanism.

    We used an illustration of a city for our inner layer, and we wanted a girl rotating around the city on the outer layer. We placed two identical images of the girl figure evenly spaced apart, so when finished, she would be seen more quickly rotating around than if only one figure had to rotate the entire lamp.

    After saving our finished files to a USB stick, we went to our local copy center and printed one copy of each new design onto A3 transparency paper (also known as acetate). Even though our design was made in black and white, we got a full color print so that it would capture as much of the shades of gray as possible, detail that a black and white print on acetate does not capture.

    Use a craft knife to carefully cut out the acetate to the shape that you measured out, including all the holes and shapes for joining it all together.

    You can see in the photograph that the original images have an extra white translucent layer behind the color print, which diffuses the light shining through, to create a nice soft light.

    To get this effect we simply applied one layer of acrylic paint on the back using a sponge roller to get the smoothest and most even effect we could. You can see in the photo that it creates just the right amount of opaqueness that we are after.

    For the city scene (inner layer) we painted the entire reverse side with white. For the two girls (outer layer) we wanted only to paint the white behind the figures, leaving the rest of the sheet completely transparent to see the city. To do this we printed out another copy of this design onto plain A3 paper. We then carefully cut the figures out of the paper to create a stencil. Turn your acetate the reverse side up, lay your stencil on top and with the roller, apply one layer of the white paint.

    Allow your sheets of acetate to dry then put it all together. Roll into cylinders and join using the cuts you made from the original template, then clip into the rotating mechanism and put the lid on.

    That's it. Now turn it on and see how your creation looks!


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