Assignment: Create an artificial candle using a NeoPixel jewel. Your candle should include a base and a shade or diffuser. Try to capture the colors and behavior of a real candle in programming your candle.

I partnered with Lillian for this project.


After the candle observation session in class I wanted to try the extreme and recreate the natural colors and behavior of a candle in something completely unnatural – to see if the colors and behavior can be stripped down to just the quality of light itself. As a result, I decided to use live edge acrylic.

Idea sketches: *insert photos*

Lillian and I tried etching different patterns on the acrylic to see which one worked best with the light:

Screen Shot 2562-02-14 at 23.34.12.png

After testing these, we went with the lines because the quality of light was most visible and deliberate on those. We turned them into candle shapes of different sizes in order to stack them and make them into a 3D piece.

Screen Shot 2562-02-14 at 23.48.39.png

Learnings on live edge acrylic

  • Light on edges are very bright – must find something to cover them because they distract the patterns on the piece itself
  • The clearest live edge acrylic is ‘green’ – only able to focus on brightness (might be better for other projects)
  • Too little space between each layer make the patterns indistinguishable – must create space in between, each layer should have their own very well positioned lights
  • Etching patterns look better when there is higher contrast – lower contrast make the patterns look flat rather than ‘POP’ out as lights

Due to our struggle with the colors on acrylic, we ended up focusing on the brightness of each pixel rather than the colors. I didn’t get around to trying the Color Converter library for this project. However, I will try it as a side project on my own.

For this specific project, I wonder what would happen if I had stripped it down even further and tried to recreate the candle colors and behavior on a plain sheet of matte acrylic (or plain white paper). Also, how would I have programmed it differently if I had focused on its surroundings as well – instead of just the light itself.

Project video:

(The bottom of the acrylic actually looks like a flame)


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