We recently checked Henre Tullet’s “The Game of Light” out of the library and it has become an instant favorite in our house! It’s such a simple but brilliant concept: each page has a series of cutouts, so when you shine a light through them, it projects fun shapes onto your ceiling! It feels so magical, and it’s such a lovely way to calm down before bedtime. I only wish I knew about this book when they were newborns!
As much fun as we’ve been having with “The Game of Light,” after a couple weeks the crafty mama in me started itching to create my own light and shadow cards with a bigger variety of designs, and here is the result!
How to make
DIY Light and Shadow Cards
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Step 1- Gather your materials
You will need:
A black pen (or printer)
If you want to design your cards on the printer and then print the designs directly onto the cardstock, that’s an option. I’ve made a few sample designs and a blank template that you can use.
Click to download- Light and Shadow Cards
Obviously- if you have a cricut- I’m super jealous of you right now. It would be a ridiculously awesome tool for this project. Do your super cool cricut thing and skip directly to step 5.
Step 2- Cut your cardstock into quarters
This step is optional- you could make full sheet designs, but to make them more manageable I chose to make each card the size of a quarter of a sheet of paper
Step 2- Draw your design
I used black pen to design my cards so if I made a mistake it would barely be visible. I did some sketching and redrawing on several of my cards before I was satisfied, but the mistakes are very subtle on the finished product and won’t be noticeable in the dark.
As you draw, make sure to think about what areas to leave as black and where you want the light to shine. It will be possible to have black shapes “floating”- more on that later
Step 4- Using a hobby knife, carefully cut out your design
Then carefully pop out the shapes
Step 5- Add colored cellophane
This step is, of course, optional, but it’s part of what makes these cards so fun!
Colored tissue paper would work as well, but the light that shines through it won’t be as clear
Measure your cellophane by placing it over the card and tracing around the area you’ll want it to cover. Make sure to leave extra where it can be glued to the black card
Measure and cut out any additional colors
Then use a glue stick to secure them in place
Step 6- Laminate
It would be possible to use your cards as-is, but they won’t be very durable, so if they’re going to have regular use by little hands, I would highly suggest laminating!
I believe that a piece of contact paper or adhesive self-laminating sheets would be effective for this, but I would recommend a heat-sealing laminator, preferably a style where you can place the cards in a pouch to feed them through. Personally, I LOVE my little scotch laminator– it was a great value and I’ve used it on so many projects! (You can see me gush more here and here!)
Place the cards carefully in the laminating pouch so there is a little room between them. Feed the pouch through the laminator carefully as well- you may have to support the end as it starts running through the laminator so the cards don’t fall out of alignment.
Cut the cards apart when you’re done.
Step 7- Find a flashlight, turn off the lights and
Enjoy the light and shadow show!
We’ll be using them at bedtime, but they could be used in so many places, including;
-on a light table
-in a sunny window indoors
-taped to a car window for fun on the go
-in a classroom
-in a children’s museum/library/playspace
They can also be used for different purposes, including,
-to reinforce academics (you could make cards with numbers, equations, or sight words!)
-to prompt storytelling (make cards with characters or depicting scenes)
-make cards with symbols that represent songs, and project them while you sing each one
The hardest part for me was coming up with designs! My sample card shows a sunset over the ocean. Here are some other designs you might try;
A tree at sunset
A sunny morning
And, of course, a firefly!
What light and shadow cards will you make? How will you use them?
Leave a comment and let me know!
For more ways to soothe your tiny people at before they go to sleep, make sure to check out my list of favorite bedtime stories (they’re amazing!), or you might consider making them a DIY Baby Stargazing Box (my babies LOVED it!).
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