Virtual Windows
January 16, 2008 6:55 AM   Subscribe

How do I make fake windows?

So I'm moving to Finland. It's dark most of the time during the winter.

I want to rig up dawn/dusk simulator style things to fake my body out.

Ideally, it would look like these
Any pointers as to how to do this?

Any pointers to DIY lightboxes/dawn simulators? I'd love to have the whole house lighting system run by this stuff...
posted by Lord_Pall to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You may find this question from two days ago helpful.
posted by bristolcat at 7:17 AM on January 16, 2008

Response by poster: Cool, that covers the electronics. Any pointers on how to make it look natural like the sky factory stuff?
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:08 AM on January 16, 2008

High resolution color transparencies. I haven't done it with sky images, but I have done it with other designs and they work pretty well.

If you have large areas to cover, and only have 8.5x11 transparencies, use sticks of molding to hide the joints between sheets, and act as mullions/muntins (I forget the correct term; the "window grill" you see on old windows). Clear spray adhesive worked well to attach the transparencies to a sheet of translucent acrylic that was mounted on the light fixture.

Beware heat coming off the light fixture; avoid incandescents. Also, my uses were short-term, so I'm not sure how long this will last. I could see there being issues with color fading. Also, my uses were for direct viewing, not for viewing the shadows being cast (dunno if that makes a difference, so I'm mentioning it).
posted by aramaic at 8:55 AM on January 16, 2008

I remember seeing something awhile ago--I want to say it was on Apartment Therapy, but for the life of me, I can't remember--that basically looked like a set of blinds with a light behind them. The pictures I saw made it look like unless you pulled the blinds up, you'd think it was a window. I'm sorry I don't have more information than that, but that might be something you could rig up yourself.
posted by phaded at 10:39 AM on January 16, 2008

I believe i saw the same types of blinds on makezine's blog really as fancy as those ones in the original post, It would be relatively easy to get some LED's in strips and make your own.

Especially with a couple of these, my favorite LED cheap, so bright.

I don't live in as dark of a place as Finland, however, i use full spectrum bulb, and it can make a world of difference in the winter. Especially if you have a desk you work at for more than an hour or so.
posted by furnace.heart at 10:49 AM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Not to pimp the same product twice, but to avoid color fade, block the UV rays with a clear (T1510) GAM Tube (I promise this isn't Pepsi Blue... they're just darn useful!)
posted by Thin Lizzy at 7:58 PM on January 16, 2008

It also might be helpful to experiment with different types of plexi. You'll probably want something more diffuse than you think- heavily frosted or even white. The biggest give away for fake windows is when you can see the lamp image.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 8:02 PM on January 16, 2008

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