Rowland Emett Silhouette Light

A few christmases ago, I was doing my usual casting around for ideas for my parents' presents, and saw a very nice picture that someone had made. I can't remember what it featured, but it was built up of layers, all spaced apart to give the illusion of depth, and then mounted in a frame. I thought to myself, what that could do with is some LED tape...

I did a bit of sketching a decided a nice image of Rowland Emett's "Nellie" would work very well, travelling through a bit of countryside. With some LED uplighting strategically placed between the layers, it would like quite dramatic! It would also have the added bonus of being a wall mountable gift, as floorspace at my parents house is, *ahem*, thin on the ground (sorry...).

My sister is a very talented artist, so I conferred with her and she agreed to come in on the project with me. She produced 3 silhouettes designed to work as a full image, one being a hillside, one being a tree in the foreground, and one being Nellie herself. Armed with these 3 files, I approached the delightful Cog O' Two, who transformed them into 3 pieces of beautifully laser cut plywood.

The next step was to make the frame, which was of hardwood, dovetailed at the corners and sporting three grooves cut into the inside edges. The grooves were wide enough to accept one laser cut part each, which enough of a gap between them to allow me to place a strip of LED tape on the bottom, hidden from view. The tape was in two parts, all wired to a simple battery box and switch on the back of the frame.

After giving the silhouettes a few coats of matte white paint, and giving the same treatment to the backing board, I assembled it all and voila! Onme rather nice silhouette lamp, if I do say so myself!

Dad was very pleased with it, and it's currently sat on the sideboard in their living room.


I ran into the folks from Cog O' Two at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham a few weeks ago (June 2016) and mentioned that they'd done some work for this project. I showed them the above photo, and they remembered it! I suppose it is quite a distinctive design...