Speckled Blinders

Jeremy Ginn from First Baptist of Pleasanton in Pleasanton, Texas brings us these cool Christmas light blinders.


16 2x4x8′ long pine boards
2 sheets of 4×8 particle board
Box of 3″ wood screws
Box of 2 1/4″ screws
8 sets of Christmas “Net” lights that are 4’x4′ when stretched (non-LED version since they wanted them to be controlled by the dimmer.)
6 cans of flat black spray paint
Masking tape
A helper or two
Cordless drill
Drill bits
3/8″ by 2.5″ bolts (8), nuts (8), and washers (16) (mounting halogen Par Cans to diamonds)

Cost: $160. They already had the net lights from the previous years after Christmas sale.

Lighting / Equipment (stuff I already had)
4 48″ Philips Wide-Lite Linear Aluminum RGB DMX bars (uplighting along back wall)
2 36″ Philips Wide-Lite Linear Aluminum RGB DMX bars (uplighting along back wall)
4 RGB DMX Flat Par64s (Uplighting on Diamonds)
4 RGBA DMX Par64s (lighting the front stage / performers)
8 Par56 300watt MFL (medium flood) halogens (Audience blinders)
2 Par56 300watt NSP (narrow spot) halogens (front stage / performers)
2 Four channel DMX Dimmers

From Jeremy:

Many many many extension cords depending on where power will be coming from and how far apart each diamond will be from each other. Only use three prong UL listed cords rated for the 125% of the load you will be using. The 300watt blinders can draw up to an additional amp or two over what they are normally rated for when you add 25ft of low quality thin gauge extension cord.

6 Power Strips (Do not use surge suppressors/protectors. They don’t like being dimmed. Use what’s sometimes referred to as a power strip or tap. They look just like surge suppressors minus the LED status lights.

DMX Cables (Do not use MIC cable. It’s impedance does not match what is required to properly transmit and protect the DMX protocol signal.)

Haze Machine. Mine is a 1200 watt model from Stage Ape. http://stageape.com/pages/haze1201.html H-ProSmoke fluid. Creates the perfect amount of Haze/Fog without there being a cloud of choking smoke that then dissipates quickly. This stuff hangs in the air as a true haze. Much cheaper than hazers that cost $900 and up.

I wanted to create a unique set of props for the youth’s Unshakable Generation event that happens at churches all over the local area. I wanted something large that I could illuminate from within, throw uplighting on, and incorporate audience blinders on. My Brother in-law, David Wickersham from First Baptist of San Antonio, Texas helped with the construction and painting.

I started by cutting the plywood sheets in half. Then I cut two 2x4s into 46 1/2″ boards (four total per square of plywood) and screwed them to each other with a single 3″ wood screw per joint. By the way, I pre drilled every hole before adding a screw. I didn’t want to crack/split the wood. A good step that prevents having to stop and replace pieces. Once the four boards were screwed together, I flipped the particle board and 2×4 frame over and screwed them together. Then I built the floor bases for the two 9 foot tall fixtures so that the diamonds would slide in and allow the base to be removed during storage/transport. The two shorter diamonds ended up being 5 feet off the ground, so they did not require a removable base. Once everything was assembled, we masked the front edge of the 2x4s with masking tape taking care not to push the tape down over the edges. We painted everything black that would be in view from the audiences’s perspective. No need to waste paint for the back where it won’t be visible anyway.

Then using the shorter screws, I put four of them on the inside corners about 1/2″ from the 2x4s directly into the particle board. Then four more in between the corners, and another four in between those. So I ended up with 16 screws inside the perimeter. Next, I laid out one set of the 4×4 net lights and stretched them into place around all of the screws. Then, I connected a second set to the end of the first, and stretched them into place at a 90 degree direction from the first set. The pictures show how they look when done this way.

I built the set in my backyard and transported them to the location before installing the Par56 halogen “blinders” using the 3/8″ bolts. I hung the dimmer packs behind the two 9 foot diamonds. I hooked each diamond up to its own channel, so I could control the blinders and Net Lights independently for effects. Each dimmer pack controlled two of the diamonds and net lights as well as the Par spots for the front of the stage area.

Variations of the diamond theme could include covering the net lights with solid or cut coroplast, removing the net lights and placing an LED bar inside, black out the inside, hang lights below, attach an LED bar to the center support, etc. These will see many variation changes before they are taken apart for future projects.

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One response to Speckled Blinders

  1. The group performing is from Poteet, TX. They are called Vertical Praise. They rocked! The venue shown is Trinity Baptist Church in Pleasanton TX.

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