How to Design Light Diffuser Panels

Fluorescent lights.
What You'll Need
Design templates
Masking tape
Watercolor paints
Contact paper
Utility knife
Oil-free liquid soap
Terrycloth towel

If you have fluorescent lighting or a skylight, then you have light diffuser panels. These panels are meant to block light that's being emitted by the source. Many people don't want the full extent of the light source entering the space, which will frequently cause too much light and create difficulty seeing. Light diffuser panels are often made out of acrylic, which makes modification fairly simple. You don't have to be left with plain diffuser panels, and this article will show you how to harmlessly modify them.

Step 1 - Design

You can create any kind of design you want. You can hand draw the design yourself or go on the Internet to download one. When you find the design that you like you will want to turn the design into either grayscale or separated by color. You can then print the pattern out on your home printer onto contact paper. Make sure the image is either reversed or printed on the side without the adhesive. You can also print the design on normal paper.

Step 2 - Affix the Design

Fluorescent lights.

Remove the light diffuser panels that you plan to add a design to. Use soap, water, and a towel to clean the light diffuser panels of any dust, grime, or other stains from age. Dry it off with a clean towel. Affix the design to the light diffuser panels and use the utility knife to trim the design. Use an edge of the utility knife to peel away the contact paper. Only peel away the pieces you plan to paint. A complicated design will have to be completed in steps and delicate lines may have to be made. If you are using multiple colors then you must remove one color section, paint it, and then remove the next. You will have to work in pieces or stages to get a nice finished project. If contact paper is not something you want to use then you can also use plain paper. Cut away the pieces that need to be painted and affix them to the light diffuser panels using masking tape. Work with scissors and masking tape to create your design. Work with the plain paper as you would the contact paper.

Step 3 - Paint the Light Diffuser Panels

The light that is refracted from behind light diffuser panels is often dull and yellowish in tint. Adding designs and paint will help to make the light appear brighter. You want to use watercolors because they will not damage the light diffuser panels. Watercolors are easily washed off, will not harm the light diffuser panels, and also allow light to shine through as the paints are opaque. Dip your paintbrush in some water and mix it with the watercolors and apply liberally on the light diffuser panels. Apply more than one coat if you like. Continue painting until you are satisfied. Allow the paint to dry, then replace the panels.