Make Light Painting Circles With Light

Evolved Cognitive Mechanisms (by Dennis Calvert)The following post about creating Circles art in light painting was made by Dennis Calvert. Check his excellent Flickr stream here.

There’s something magical about the perfection and symmetry found in a circle. Today, we are going to learn one way to make perfect circles with light.

The idea is very simple and all the materials for the project can be purchased at local hardware and department stores.

If you wanna learn more about light painting, check out DIYP’s light painting intro and the great Light Painting guides.

What You’ll Need:

1) A paint roller and handle

2) A stand (the one I use is from a utility light which was purchased a Lowe’s) Here’s a link to something similar. You can find these types of stands starting out at around $30.00 US.

3) Some lights (LED strips, cold cathodes, neon tubes are some examples which produce great effects. Check the automotive section at your local department store, or search the web)

The Premise

Mount lights onto a paint roller. Place the paint roller on a stand. Use the stand to stabilize the roller while you rotate the handle in a full circle.

How To Make It

If you are unsure about wiring the lights go back and read Dana Maltby’s excellent tutorial for wiring cold cathodes. The basic principles are broadly applicable.

Secure your lights to the front of the paint roller so they are facing the camera as shown below.

Lights on Paint Rollers

The paint roller fits perfectly onto the top of the utility light stand. Depending on what resources are available to use, you may need to modify this to work for you. The idea is to use something to stabilize the paint roller and have it serve as a guide as you rotate the roller 360 degrees.

A Perfect Fit

Below is the circle maker in action. If the light being used is an LED bar I found in the automotive section of Wal-Mart. Feel free to experiment with all sorts of lights. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Light Stand