|Night light by day…||Night light at night…|
On a recent trip to the Dollar Store, I came across night lights for $1! Night light kits sell on the web for $3 and up, so I knew this was a deal I couldn’t pass up. I was sure I could use the parts to make my own night light by replacing Tinkerbell with something else. Yes, I know, she’s cute, but she just doesn’t fit my home’s decor.
At first, I thought I would remove the disc on the front of the night light and replace it with a sheet of mica – after all, mica is translucent. Mica lampshades date back to the earliest electric lamps used in the US and continued to appear through 1930’s. So, why not a night light? But then I thought about Mica D’Lights. The texture is a bit similar to glitter, but more “organic” since Mica D’Lights is made from a natural material – mica. D’Lights add subtle and sophisticated glimmer to a project without being too harsh or glaring. So, for now, the mica sheet idea is tucked away for a future light project.
I could apply Mica D’Lights to the disc using Cut Bond Create. Let me be up front about this – I love Cut Bond Create from USArtQuest! Think of it like a thin sheet of adhesive sandwiched between two sheets of waxed paper. It’s heat resistant, transparent, non-yellowing, flexible and acid-free. You can use it with your punches to form shapes, use it with dies in die cutting machines, cut it with scissors or cut it with electronic cutting machines like the Zing or Cricut. Once you have the shape you want, you can peel off one side, adhere it to your project, then peel off the other side to expose the adhesive so you can add mica, sand, flock, embossing powder—you name it!
I love how you can “kiss cut” a pattern in to the top layer of paper on Cut Bond Create and then only expose sections at a time to “paint by numbers” with mica or embossing powder. I used that technique to create a red-eyed tree frog using Mica D’Lights and adhered it to the top of a note card box. You can kiss cut Cut Bond Create using a craft knife or a cutting machine. If you want to use a craft knife, you could stamp your design on top of the Cut Bond Create or place it on a light box under the Cut Bond Create. Then follow the lines with your knife with very little force, to just cut the top layer of thin paper. Cut with more force to cut out the design. When you use a cutting machine, cut the interior lines on a low pressure/force setting. Cut the outline out with more force.
With the concept in mind, it was time to start the project. Luckily, a little gentle sanding easily removed Tinkerbell from the disc so I had a clean surface where I could apply Cut Bond Create.
I found a beautiful photo of a circular stained glass window done by Anna Varney of Living Glass Art. Check out her Etsy store for some amazing stained glass windows. Her work inspired me to recreate her design, in miniature, using Mica D’Lights and Cut Bond Create. I was able to duplicate the design in Make The Cut (software used to control the Zing cutting machine) and reduce it to 3.4375″ in diameter. That’s about the size of your palm and the exact size of the disc on the night light.
Click to download the Make The Cut project file for the koi stained glass window. The SVG file is also available for download. I cut the design from Cut Bond Create on my Zing in two layers; light pressure for the interior cuts and more pressure to cut out the circle.
Peel off the bottom layer of paper from the circle to expose one side of the adhesive and place it down on the night light disc. Press it down firmly.
Next, peel off the top layer of paper that covers the leading (black areas) of the stained glass window. This is detailed work, I had to use a pin to just lift off the top layer of paper and then slowly peeled it away. Cover this layer with detailed black embossing powder and heat emboss. Be careful and go quickly. The intense heat of a heat gun could melt the plastic disc! The Cut Bond Create can take it, but the disc can’t. So be extra careful when doing this step.
Now it’s time to apply the Mica D’Lights. Work with one color at a time, from the darkest color to the lightest color. Peel off the top layer of paper, exposing sections of adhesive for a single color, apply the color, brush off the excess, and the repeat for each color. It’s really like coloring by the numbers, one color of Mica D’Lights at a time! I used the eight colors in Collection 1 of USArtQuest’s Mica D’Lights for this project. It was the perfect combination of colors.
When you’re finished, you’ve made a stained glass window night light using Mica D’Lights!! It looks spectacular in daylight, with a soft, subtle glimmer. And at night, when the light is coming through the mica, it’s amazing! And I bet the colors would be even more intense if the disc were clear instead of a milky white.
For more project ideas, visit the USArtQuest blog.