Lumos

lumos candles 2

Oh, how we have wanted to test these floating LED candles for the blog. And YES they were just as amazing as we thought they would be!

Katie first spotted the Leejec Flameless Taper Floating Candles on Amazon. We’ll admit, they are pricey. You can get them at various lengths (6″, 7″, or 11″) and in various amounts (6-20 in a pack). We needed quite a few for our gallery display cases, so we went with the 6″ pack of 20 for $60.

Each candle requires a AAA battery (not included) and had a long, invisible fishing line extending from the top. But the best part is…wait for it…you turn them on and off with a wand!

Hanging the candles was a bit tricky. The fishing lines are really, really, really long. We ended up wrapping them around paperclips (which was kind of slippery and frustrating until you got the hang of it), securing them with tape, sticking the wrapped paperclip through some plastic light covers in the case, and then anchoring the wrapped paper clips with more tape. It definitely took some time and patience!

In the reviews on Amazon, some folks used thumbtacks to secure the candles to the ceiling, some used poster putty. Others hung them on already existing light fixtures. It was agreed the fishing lines were super long, but for people with cathedral ceilings, that was a bonus.

There’s no denying the final results. Our exhibit cases look amazing with the candles twinkling and swaying. And the wand is so much FUN to use. Honestly, we spent about 20 minutes turning the candles on and off both up close and at a distance. Sometimes one candle would lag behind the others and you would need to do another quick click, but generally they responded really well to the wand commands!


While these candles are expensive, the results speak for themselves. This is a really special set, and has earned a Pop Goes the Page five star review and two wands up!

Go a Little Wild!

Yes, there’s a time and place for proper behavior, but what happens when a tiger wants to go a little…wild?

We read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown (Little, Brown, 2013, read here by Glasgow’s Improvement Challenge) Mr. Tiger is feeling stifled in the city with its mundane homes, drab clothing, and polite conversations. So he tries something different. He (gasp!) drops on all fours. This begins a chain of experiences that ultimately ends with Mr. Tiger running around the wilderness in just his stripes. But it’s lonely being on your own. Can Mr. Tiger’s friends maybe change a little bit and join him? Because sometimes, a little wild is a good thing!

In keeping with Mr. Tiger’s duel lives, this project begins with his house in the city…

Then rotate the box to visit the wilderness on the other side!

You’ll need:

  • One 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” craft box (a large tissue box works too)
  • 1 smaller box for the interior
  • Green and brown poster board
  • Construction paper
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • 1 tiger house template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • Scissors, glue, and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

Begin by cutting the top off the large box, as well as two windows on opposing sides. Next, glue a smaller box inside so your toilet paper tube tiger can peep out of the windows. Finally, use poster board and construction paper to decorate the city and wilderness sides! For added wilderness texture, we offered kids fabric flowers, green tissue paper, crepe paper streamers, and paper crinkle. The results were AWESOME!

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We do, however, want to give a special nod to the creative individual who decided to put a hobbit door on Mr. Tiger’s city abode…

Next, use construction paper and markers to decorate a toilet paper tube like a tiger. Also, since clothing plays an important role in the book, we taped a little top hat to the top of the city window, and a little Hawaiian shirt to the bottom of the wilderness window.

There’s funny dialogue in the book, so we added speech bubbles on the tiger house template, as well as directions signs for the blank sides of the box!

We absolutely LOVE Peter Brown’s work…check out Creepy Carrots, this illuminating underwear, a growing garden, and a visit to Peter’s studio!

Cotsen Ghosties

book cover 3Last Halloween season we took a stroll through our special collections pumpkin patch. Today, we’re looking for ghosts! And we found them in this amazing optical illusion book titled Spectropia; or, Surprising Spectral Illusions. Showing ghosts everywhere, and of any color. Published by J.H. Brown in London in 1864, the book teaches the concept of “the persistency of impressions, and the production of complementary colours on, the retina.”

The illusion is very simple. In the image above, stare at the small black dot by the ghost’s neck for 20-30 seconds. Then look away at a white wall or ceiling. Her ghostly image will appear in your vision, except in different colors (in this case green wreath, blue ghost)!

Scientifically speaking, this is called an afterimage. The color receptors in your eyes work in pairs (red/green, blue/yellow, etc.). When you stare at the drawing and one color fatigues your receptors, the other receptor will step in and dominate for a bit.

The book has a very lengthy description of this concept, as well as viewing instructions that include having the “gaslight turned low.”

Spectropia also has a disclaimer at the beginning: “As an apology for the apparent disregard of taste and fine art in the plates, such figures are selected as best serve the purpose for which they are intended.”

I wish they might have reprinted the disclaimer before THIS image, which honestly is going to haunt me clear through December:

The book concludes with a grand finale image that is not a ghost, but a rainbow! Definitely try this one, because it is so cool to see the colors flip in the afterimage!

Looking more more optical spooky fun? Try making our tabletop Pepper’s Ghost illusion!


Images from Spectropia; or, Surprising Spectral Illusions. Showing ghosts everywhere, and of any color. J.H. Brown, London. Griffith and Farran.1864. Cotsen Children’s Library, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library.