Easy Giant LED Backlit Moon

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About: dad hacker tinkerer maker

I wanted a giant moon. High resolution and back lit, and I didn’t want it to take up a bunch of room, so it had to be pretty flat. I’ve got really high ceilings in my living room, so I knew I could go huge without it feeling weird and claustrophobic.

Supplies:

Step 1: Find Your Curtain

Here are the 2 shower curtains I found. They were roughly $30 each. The resolution isn’t as high as I’d like, but from a few feet away, you’d never know. The larger moon on the left is somewhat elongated and overlaps with the grommets at the top. Despite that, I decided to use the larger just for the impressive size. The smaller one may get finished and placed into a classroom in the near future.
I also purchased some cheap frosted vinyl shower curtains to act as diffusers.

Step 2:

here you can see the frosted vinyl shower curtain I added as diffuser

Step 3:

For the frame of this whole thing, I wanted to use something that you could construct with little or no tools. I remembered that people make hula hoops out of pex tubing all the time, so I went that route. You can saw through this stuff pretty easily. I used a pull-saw for wood but you could probably get through it with a steak knife if you were persistent enough.

Step 4:

Another great thing about pex is that it is soft enough to staple into. I simply stretched the shower curtains over the frame and stapled it in place. Well, if you watch the video I first explored a different route that turned out to be a complete waste of time and ugly as well, but there’s no need to rehash that here. Just staple it.
After you’ve stapled it in place, cut off the excess shower curtain to clean it up.

Step 5:

I used an RGB LED strip. I probably wouldn’t use this strip if I did it again. I chose it because it was cheap, but the white is super blue. I probably would look for a more true white strip and skip RGB all together.

Applying the LED strip was easy enough. It has an adhesive backing, and sticks well to the pex tubing.

Step 6:

They sell these clips for pex that you can simply press the pipe into and it grips it pretty well.

I actually cut some of the tip off of the clip to make the grip a bit less extreme. Once I had a ring of these screwed into my wall, all that was left was to press the moon into place!

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    29 Discussions

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    corazon_diablo

    19 days ago

    This is an excellent instructable! Great idea and accessible to everyone. Thank you!

    To illuminate the whole face of the moon without changing the 1 inch thickness you can try adding a layer of frosted acrylic to the back of your moon. It might be a little expensive considering its size but it can give you the desired effect. When you mount LED lights on the edge of frosted acrylic, the light transmits to the whole frosted surface as you can see in this link:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS-cXbaZAw0

    This technique is often used in bars and restaurants to lighten shelves and counter tops. You may have to experiment with different acrylic thicknesses and maybe with an additional reflective layer on the back (as someone else already suggested).

    I like it the way you did it. The light on the edge fading towards the center gives the moon a volume effect and having the whole face illuminated could make it look flat. Just my humble opinion.

    Hope this helps.

    Frosted acrylic with side mounted LEDs.jpg
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    JudyW23

    7 weeks ago on Step 1

    This is the neatest thing I have ever seen in my life. I have wanted a giant moon in my bedroom for forever. Thank you so much and you did make it simple. I even like everything about the lighting.

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    amcgamcg

    7 weeks ago

    Hi and thanks for this inspiring video. I shall send it to my son who is decorating his new flat. Maybe you could simply double the shower curtain (the one that you use to diffuse the light). You wouldn't need to undo the whole structure, just mark the shape of the moon onto a new curtain, cut it out and press it onto the old one using tiny pieces of sticky transparent stamp-collector tape around the edge or something like that.

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    RuthQ1

    8 weeks ago

    I wonder if a sheet (or sheets) of crumpled flat aluminium kitchen foil attached as a last layer on the underside to reflect light back in might help? Maybe the crumpled effect might help to break up the diffusion pattern yet reflect enough light around the full interior without adding much weight at all. I have no idea if this would work but just thought would throw it out there....

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    Pagan Wizard

    Tip 8 weeks ago

    Use MDF to make your supporting ring. One 4X8 sheet should very easily exceed your needs. If you are making a ring that is less than 4 feet in diameter, you could just cut the entire circle from a 1/2 sheet of MDF (save the inner circle for other projects). Do this twice with 1/2 inch thick MDF, glue the two circles together, and you have your 1 inch thick circle. One inch thick MDF is also available, but at a premium price. Use your first circle as a template to draw out and cut your second circle. The nice thing about MDF is that unlike PEX, it will never loose it's shape, although it might be a little bit heavier, which could require a stronger hanger. If you have an outlet high enough on your wall, you can hide all the wires behind the Moon, and they would never be seen.

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    lfoss

    8 weeks ago

    Could you add links to the exact shower curtains you purchased? Are they available on Amazon by chance? I'm particularly interested in the 'smaller moon' which still seems plenty large for a small bedroom. Thank you and awesome instructable!

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    Penolopy Bulnick

    8 weeks ago

    I just love this and am so impressed you made this from a shower curtain :D

    1 reply
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    HGC

    8 weeks ago on Step 5

    Here is a picture

    26C1FFDA-370A-4362-B490-64FBE7E5D346.jpeg
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    HGC

    8 weeks ago on Introduction

    Try experimenting with the led fake neon which is already diffused. Also since you have a white wall, have you tried facing your led strip towards the wall and bouncing the light off, 1 inch isn’t much but it might work, although shadows might be a problem. Perhaps you could hide the leds in the dark crater areas to minimize shadows and play around with different brightness levels in separate areas.

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    gersec

    8 weeks ago on Introduction

    awesome idea and well done, however the most important thing about your instructible imho is the fact that you only need basic tools, I find that too many instructibles nowadays are relying too much on equipment that most people cant afford.

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    Gadisha

    8 weeks ago

    Nice!

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    YaënD

    Tip 8 weeks ago

    Hello moon maker, there are really cool RGB LED with a real white (it's a RGBW in fact) so you can have true white.
    Really cool moon

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    JAMESM466

    8 weeks ago

    I will do this for my classroom. Also, maybe one for the back of my house!

    Edited to add: Just ordered the shower curtain.

    2 replies
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    c4l3bJAMESM466

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    do it! share pictures if you do

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    JAMESM466c4l3b

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    Oh, I will. I'm all in on this project.

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    Waldoorfian

    8 weeks ago

    Awesome simple project. I woukd be nice if you shared more info on the LED light strip of choice. How is it powered? How did you hide the controller thingy? Is there a power cord or battery?

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    drywhitetoast

    8 weeks ago

    Love the size of this.

    I saw in the video that you were playing with a reflective backing when trying to light the entire moon. Have you thought of adding a reflective film directly to the wall behind it to see if that might help with illuminating the center? I wouldn't be enough to light the entire moon, but could bounce some of the light back better than the white wall.

    Maybe something like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/Mylar-Reflective-Material-F...

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    Mimikry

    8 weeks ago

    very cool! thank you for that great idea!
    I guess the selling numbers for full moon curtains will explode :)

    1 reply
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    c4l3bMimikry

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    not a horrible problem!