Here’s a step by step tutorial on building blinder lights. The total dimension of each of these is 1’ x 8’ with six 8.5” lights on each. But, you could easily adapt this to use 5.5” lights or a different number of rows and columns (i.e. 4×4 grid instead of 1×6 row).
- Plywood (19/32 Pine Sanded Plywood, 4’ x 8’) – cut to 1’ x 8’
- Black matte indoor latex paint
- Hole saw drill bit
- (6) Bayco Clamp Light with Aluminum Reflector (make sure reflector isn’t dented)
(6) Warm Incandescent Light Bulbs – 60W (If you’re not planning on having dimming control, 25W would be better. I have these blinders hooked up to a DMX controller, so I used 60W because I wanted 100% to be very blinding, just for crash out moments and effects in high energy songs.
Typically, I keep the intensity at about 30-50%)
- 6 outlet power strip
- Assorted zip ties
- Plywood (19/32 Pine Sanded Plywood, 4’ x 8’) – cut to 1’x 2’
- 2×2 Furring Strip, 8’ long
- Wood screws
- Paint roller or paint brush
- Staple gun (not essential)
- Miter saw (for support foot only)
STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL:
1. Cut plywood into a 1’ x 8’ board. Many hardware stores will do this for you, although their equipment doesn’t allow for super-precise measurements. If you need an exact size, cut it yourself, but a rough cut worked perfectly for me.
2. Mark center for holes at 1’ apart. Top hole should be 6” down from top edge of board, and centered left to right on board. Each of the following holes are 1’ away from each other. (This left me with an extra 2’ at the bottom end of the plywood. I needed this extra length but you might consider starting with a 1’ x 6’ piece of plywood if you want the lights to be equally dispersed on the board without extra length at the bottom.)
3. Drill holes.
4. Sand down surface of plywood, being careful not to take away too much of the material around where the holes were cut. I sanded around the holes too much on some of them and it ended up causing my lights not to screw together tightly.
5. Paint plywood black on all sides.
6. Unattach clamps from lights and unscrew the aluminum reflectors. Put light socket through the back of the hole and screw the reflector onto the front until tightened.
7. Once all 6 lights are in place, attach the power strip to the back by stapling 3 or 4 long zip ties to the back of the board and tightening the zip ties around the power strip to hold it tightly against the board. Plug all of the lights into the power strip then use the same zip tie and staple method to organize and clean up the cord to each light so that cords aren’t hanging, visible from the front, or prone to snagging on things.
8. Screw in light bulbs.
(After this step, I wrapped each reflector in bubble wrap because I was planning to transport them in a trailer to an event and I didn’t want the reflectors to get dented or the bulbs to break).
The next step is building the feet to stand the blinders up in. You may not need to do this, if you are planning on hanging these, or attaching them to a truss.
9. Cut the 2x2s in two 1’ sections. Then, cut two more 1’ sections with a 45 degree miter on both ends. Measure the center of the 1’ x 2’ plywood and attach the 2×2 verticals in the center of the board (leaving a little more than enough space to slide the plywood from the blinder in between). Screw in the diagonals (keeping a spacer in between the verticals). Paint the foot black. I kept the foot unattached from the blinder so that everything could be broken down and transported easily, but if this is a permanent piece, you may want to screw the blinder into the foot.)