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I'm working on a costume that will require some accent lighting. I plan to accomplish this with a few small circuits to power white LEDs behind some diffused acrylic cutouts, so that the cutouts will glow. The problem I'm encountering is that the accent lights are blue- I was initially thinking I could get away with using clear/white/uncolored diffused acrylic and using blue LEDs behind it so that the light is blue, but then realized that the pieces will look white if the lights aren't turned on, or if I'm in bright lighting. So I have to use white LEDs with blue acrylic.

I'm not seeing many options in the color that I want (I need maybe a 1/16 thick sheet in a saturated cyan-blue color- think cyborg!) but the few options for that color that I see are either too thick or too much (it should be about 1/16 thick, and I don't need more than about a square foot at most). I'm thinking my best option is to get clear/white diffused acrylic and then paint behind it with some kind of clear paint or varnish so that the light can still shine through, but the whole thing will be colored. I'm thinking something like what stained glass kits use. What kind of paint should I use?

  • I added a tag that may help draw attention from people with costume and cosplay experience. – Web Head Jan 16 '17 at 19:07
  • Fantastic, thank you! I saw that people were trying to get a cosplay/costuming community up and running which is where I was hoping to post this in the first place, but it's good to know there's at least a relevant tag. – Alister M Jan 16 '17 at 19:30
  • Do you have a picture that might be what you are going for. Those never hurt for things like this so we get the best idea of what you are going for. – Matt Jan 16 '17 at 21:03
  • @Matt Sure, the costume is of a character from a videogame There are lights on both the arm piece as well as the chest piece. I may or may not also include the lights on the flashbangs that are hanging at his waist, haven't decided yet. – Alister M Jan 16 '17 at 21:35
  • you mean the oblong blue shapes on the nipple region? – Catija Jan 17 '17 at 1:09
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Rather than paint, which might peel weirdly on you, another option is to use inkjet transparency film and print the color you want on it and then affix it the acrylic. Walmart sells, and there's likely other sources, an adhesive inkjet printable transparency film that might do the trick. A lot less fussy too...

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You can get water based glass paints. When I worked in a hobby shop we sold glass paints, and instead of sheets of glass, there were various acrylic shapes or acetate sold with them (I think the brand was Vitrail by LeFranc&Bourgeois). They come in a variety of colors and it may take some mixing to achieve the color you want seen as your LEDs are already blue but a hobby shop should have a wide enough range. Just make sure you buy translucent ones, not opaque - Glass and Tile brands have a mix.

Do practice on spare pieces so you know you can get a nice solid cover without it looking streaky, my memories of the paints are that they're thick like nail varnish. And all the items sold with them were not frosted, they were all smooth. So if your outside edge is not smooth, it may take it the surface a little differently. Alternatively you could airbrush them on to make sure you get an even coating rather than worrying about streaks.

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Alternatively, you could cast the parts you need with clear acrylic resin and add in some sort of coloring agent. I'm thinking colored ink, but maybe epoxy pigment would do?

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Use light gels (clear colored film that is used to add color to spotlights and such) layered behind clear acrylic. Not sure what glue to use to attach but spray mount would probably work. Gels come in a huge range of super saturated colors, can withstand the heat of lamps, are flexible and easy to work with and are relatively cheap.

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