lil monster 5

Adding LEDs to a painting

I have had an idea for a mixed media painting for a couple of years now. The background has been painted and is sitting on the shelf. Although I have tried to make the project simple there are many little components that need to come together and a fair bit of time and a steep learning curve. I was speaking to Darcy about this and here are some bits of wisdom that he shared with me that will help me to move this project along. When you are stuck on a project, take a break and work on something else. Come back to this project later. The other bit was to break the project down into little components. So I have done just that. I decided that the project has to have a basic LED with battery and conductive thread. Being summer I thought making a little cottage that would light up would be easy and quick. So I found a paper toy template and modified it using Inkscape.

Paper toy cottage

Paper toy cottage

There were many challenges with this option, the first being that it was not very big and would be too flimsy to hold a battery and LED well. I needed to have a material that would hold both easily. The other medium that came to mind was canvas. I made a sketch of what I was planning to do.

Sketch 1

Sketch 1

It took a few tries to get something that was appealing with some further modifications in the final painting.

sketch 2

Sketch 2

I used mainly acrylic paints for everything and gouche for red and black. Once dry I added a matte finishing coat on top.

lil monster 1

Lil monster

I had a number of small LEDs however the big red one seemed to work best. Upon advice from Alison, I tested the circuit before I attached it to the canvas. I started out with conductive thread and note the polarity of the LED. If it does not light up reverse the connection. I poked the LED through the canvas and folded the pins on either side.

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LED – back of canvas

The canvas held the LED well with no further glue or tape being needed.

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LED – front of canvas

It was hard to use conductive thread so I opted for a thin, insulated wire instead. I stripped a little of the insulation off the wires at both ends and twisted them around the LED pins.

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Circuit – back of canvas

I inserted the battery in the groove of the canvas and twisted one of the wires into one of the sides. Again no glue was needed as the battery was secure. Connect the circuit by attaching the second wire to the battery.

“I am a scary monster, boooo”

lil monster 5

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