How to make a Shadow Box Dinosaur with Value acrylic and LED strips

An easy way to explore topics in a more memorable format is by including them in a craft project! Our example, by Emma, is a dinosaur, though of course you can choose any topic.

We Used:


Step 1 - Laser Cutter:

Laser cut the box and inner panels. They should appear as below. Make sure that on the box sides (the four thin pieces) the interior vertical lines are only kiss-cut and not cut all the way through. These are intended to provide friction to hold the polypropylene panels in place.


Step 2 - Constructing the box:

Construct the box as shown below, making sure to be careful while pushing the finger joints into their corresponding holes. The scored lines should face the inside of the box.


Step 3 - Preparing the LED strips.

The flying leads on the USB cable need to be Soldered to the pads on the LED Strip. Once they are in Place, either use heat shrink as we have or use electrical tape to insulate the joints.


Step 4 - Adding the LEDs to the box

Feed the strip through the hole in the bottom right of the box, and use the adhesive on the back to stick the strip against the back of the box.


Step 5 - Diffuser:

Pack the box with a layer of a light diffusing material. We used wool batting, but packing foam or similar materials would work well too.


Step 6 - Assembly:

Stack on the polypropylene pieces as shown. In the case of the top layer, this is where the layer of paper will want to go. In order to achieve a sharp and clear shadow at the front, we taped the paper to the top layer of polypropylene.



Step 7 - Turn on and test:

Turn on the LEDs! You can see how the closer to the paper the silhouette is, the sharper and darker the shadow appears.


Fun Facts:

The Micropachycephalosaurus - (Mike-row-pack-ee-seff-a-low-saw-russ)

Was discovered in China in 1978 and has the longest name of any dinosaur. It was likely only about a metre from tail to nose when fully grown!


Project shopping list

For this project you will need the following items, you can adjust the quantities (including setting them to zero if you don't need the item), before pressing the "Buy all items" button.

Value Acrylic Sheet (Cast) 3mm x 1000mm x 600mm
Polypropylene Sheet 0.5mm x 1050mm x 750mm
USB Cables and LED Strip light (Kit of 50)
Heat Shrink Mini Reel

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published