We made 3D classic movie light boxes

Posted: in Design, Miscellaneous, Projects

To celebrate the anniversaries of The Wizard of Oz, Gremlins and The Matrix, we decided to create artwork inspired by the movies and put them in custom made LED frames.

2014 is a great year for movies: we have seen such future classics as The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy and, er, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, 2014 is also a great year for movie anniversaries. Among the many movies that celebrate an anniversary this year we find 75 year old The Wizard of Oz, 30 year old Gremlins, and 15 year old The Matrix. How old does that make you feel, eh?

LED frame Wizard of Oz

Nothing brings out the best (or worst) in a movie poster like the light boxes you find in the cinema. But what would make it even better? How about adding another dimension and making a 3D light box? We decided to celebrate the above mentioned classic movies by creating new artwork and displaying these in custom made LED light boxes. To do this we printed a Clear Window Sticker and a Satin Poster – the sticker for the front of the frame, the poster for the back and the LED lights go between them to create a sense of depth and contrast.


LED frame construction

This is our box frame, complete with acrylic front.

LED frame lights

These are our lights, including a controller with different settings and dimmer.

LED frame lights

The light strips are self-adhesive and can be cut to the required length – perfect for our project.

LED frame construction

The first thing to do is to take out the MDF and cardboard backing.

removing staples from frame

The next step is to remove the staples that hold the internal box in place.

LED frame construction

Remove the internal box walls…

putting glass in frame

…and then the acrylic glazing.

Now that we have disassembled our frame we are ready to construct our first frame.

The Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz prints

Here are our prints: a Clear Window Sticker and a Satin Poster.

spraying glass for clear sticker

Step one is to spray some liquid (we used surface cleaner) on the acrylic sheet to easily apply the sticker.

clear vinyl graphic

The next step is to remove the sticker from the backing paper…

applying clear sticker to plastic

…and apply it to the acrylic sheet.

vinyl graphic squeegeeing

Use a squeegee to remove the liquid and air bubbles.

applied clear vinyl graphic

And here is our finished front.

reverse of clear vinyl graphic

The next step is to put the acrylic front back in the frame before giving it a quick wipe to remove the remaining liquid.

measuring rgb led lights

Then we need to measure and cut the LED strips.

sticking led lights to frame

Since the strips are self-adhesive they are very easy to apply.

card frame back

After putting the poster in and cutting out a small triangle for the cable, the final part is to put the backing on.

custom movie lightbox

And here is our finished frame.

small movie lightbox

After hanging the frame and plugging it in we can sit back and enjoy the Emerald City in all its glory.

wizard of oz lightbox

Here is a slightly dimmer setting.

illuminated movie graphics



custom gremlins poster

The next movie to celebrate is Gremlins and these are our prints. Again we went for a Clear Window Sticker and a Satin Poster combination.

gremlin silhoette

Here is our (almost) ready frame. The construction was exactly the same as above so we won’t bore you with the details all over again.

illuminated gremlin

Here is our frame all lit up with a nice, almost translucent Mogwai and a nasty old Gremlin lurking in the shadows.

gremlins movie frame

Our artwork was inspired by the iconic fountain scene from the movie.

led movie lightbox

We haven’t seen Gremlins in years (in fact Tim Diginate has never seen it – must have had a miserable childhood), but imagine it’s still pretty good (probably the sequel as well). We have seen plenty of Mogwai though.

The Matrix

the matrix custom poster

Here are our prints for our final celebratory artwork: 1999’s immensely popular and much copied The Matrix (however, the less said the better when it comes to the sequels).

custom small movie lightbox

Here it is hanging on the wall. When viewed from a distance it’s hard to make out anything other than the famous code

the matrix art

…but when viewed up close or from an angle you can instantly see the backlit silhouette of Neo.

LED frame Matrix

Hopefully this post will have got you geared up for re-watching these movies (or watching for the first time, if you are Tim Diginate), but whatever you do please don’t watch the last two Matrix movies. Trust us.

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