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September 24, 2016 6:36 AM   Subscribe

How do I tastefully illuminate a large, top-hat-wearing inflatable spider?

Last fall I invested in an inflatable spider, namely, this guy. Mr. Spidey was a bright source of joy in an otherwise bleak period in my life. But he was not bright enough! You see, I failed to take into account the fact that Mr. Spidey is mostly black, so at night he becomes nearly invisible in the garden. It's true that his fetching hat and eyes light up, but they aren't very bright and at most it just looks like there's a very short, disembodied magician on my lawn. (Nothing against vertically challenged necromancers or anything, but it wasn't really the look I was going for.)

This fall, I am determined to drag Mr. Spidey into the spotlight so my neighbours can bask in his arachnophabulousness. I figure I need a spotlight or something directed at Mr. Spidey so that he shows up better, but this is where I need some help. I don't want it to look stark--I want to preserve something of a mysterious aura around Mr. Spidey. I thought about a coloured spotlight, but I don't know what colour would be good (green? orange? purple?). But then if I go for white, then I could theoretically use it at Christmas, too. But perhaps it would be too bright? Or is there a way to place the light so that it illuminates without looking like I have trained a searchlight on the guy? Do I place the light in front of or behind Mr. Spidey? How far away?

Lighting design is not my forte. Does anyone have any general advice?
posted by Mrs. Rattery to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
LED Christmas tree lights, any colour you like, underneath-ish and around the edges.
posted by the Real Dan at 6:59 AM on September 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

I also came to say sit him on top of a nest (web?) of christmas lights!
posted by phunniemee at 7:07 AM on September 24, 2016 [6 favorites]

Diffusers are your friends. A battery powered outdoor garden light or two with a sheet of thin packing foam / tissue / t-shirt material on a frame of bent coat-hangers (or similar) in front of the light will make a huge difference. Don't forget to test it for a few hours with a person around to make sure it won't catch on fire. Hiding it in a hole or covering the back side with black cloth (again, make sure it won't burn) will keep reflected light from the diffuser from your guests' view. (You can also buy fancy diffusers of various kinds designed to clip onto lights that are even less likely to burn for a few 10s of dollars, if you have time and money.)
posted by eotvos at 8:10 AM on September 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Touch up his body with luminescent paint dots?
posted by Scram at 8:39 AM on September 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Throw some light behind Mr. Spidey so that his silhouette looms menacingly against it. Leave him relatively dark. I'd try red or purple behind him.
posted by egypturnash at 10:38 AM on September 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding egypturnash. Light an area behind/below his body (I'm thinking purple), so the legs stand out against the lit area. You could throw a little green light on him from below, too, and vary the brightness of them if you can (dimmers?) to get the best contrast.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:13 PM on September 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

That's delightful.

I think I might want to honour him with a really big web and some lights (coloured?) focused on him. I think I would want to avoid taking the focus away from Mr Spidey; I'd want peoples' eyes to settle on him ASAP, and only then would they notice '...and he's on an enormous web!' [etc].

You can get small clip-on LED lights, usually sold as book lights, for dirt cheap at dollar stores -- I might just surround him with a flock of those, strategically placed on the web to point at him?
posted by kmennie at 2:34 PM on September 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

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