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Camel at night for Christmas?


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Christmas is once more coming. The last two years we have had a "wayside pulpit" outside our church, which is a wooden box structure with a 0.8m square opening in the front, 0.8m deep to a 1.2m wide back wall, and a roof on top. It's lit from the inside (with 12V LEDs) to show a relevant scene at various times of the year. This started as a lockdown project with a manger scene:


and was followed by some angels:


and we have also used it for Remembrance:


Anyway, the aim this year is to do something with the Wise Men. The vague idea is a black silhouette against a night (supposed to be desert) sky. For an idea of the sort of overall image I have in mind, think one of the camels from an image a bit like this stock picture: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/traditional-christmas-scene-camels-starry-sky-16533040

The silhouette is in the hands of much more artistic people than me (and will likely be plywood painted with blackboard paint). My challenge is the backdrop. The "stars" are an obvious use for cold-white LEDs, and I have a couple of short strings of white LED fairly lights with USB plugs which could be adapted for the job. It's the main backdrop I am more stuck on. In a traditional rig I would have contemplated a white backdrop (in this case white sheeting as it's only small) and very deep blue filter (Congo Blue?). However it's outside with limited space and power (a couple of 12V feeds from PSUs in the building) so we have always lit with a couple of meters of LED tape top and bottom.

My impression is that most Blue LED tape is going to be a much paler blue colour and not going to give the right effect, but I may be wrong. Should I be looking at a painted backdrop as well, or does anyone know of a way to get the right sort of colour LED light? It doesn't need to be mega bright, but it does need to be bright enough to make the silhouette work - outside is an (LED) street lit urban road.

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16 hours ago, ImagineerTom said:

Emulsion isn’t a durable paint. Outdoors (but protected from the elements) it should just about last but if there’s any chance it will get wind or rain on it directly then it will degrade surprisingly quickly. 

I had exatcly this discussion several years ago for repairing and altering stalls for a villages summer fetes, the final bits of painting were about a week before the event but despite my advice they had simply emulsioned the bare wood.

On the day the rain hissed down for half hour just after the stalls had been dropped of and roughly laid in location on the ground for assembling then the sun shone and everthing dried quickly. There were paint patches on the grass and the people assembling were covered in the colours. However the stalls looked surprisingly good and after the fete all was stacked in the dry barn that had been used for many years for the purpose. The following year they were mouldy and the new wood (not protected by primer) had rotted.

The rain was exceptional and not expected in your shelter. I'd still go for something designed for outdoor use or add a clear matt finish laquer or varnish if you're lkely to use again next year.

Edited by sunray
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