We are collecting ideas here for using light to write, draw, message. Add your own below.

Word and Light are great Bible synonyms that "reveal" their meaning to kids in some illuminating ways. 

Using the sun to create messages...

Students write messages or verses by poking pinholes in tinfoil to form letters and words, then placing the tinfoil over a hole in the top of a box and letting sunlight stream through the pinholes onto paper or sunpaper to reveal the message inside the box.

Here's my message poked in tinfoil. Below that you can see the words it wrote in light (I did this during the 2017 eclipse but you can write with sunlight any time.)



While I created this message using my homemade pinhole camera for the solar eclipse on 8/21/17, you don't need a solar eclipse to write with sun points!  Notice the crescent-shape of the sun points. This photo was taken at about 50% eclipse.

Here's a photo of my pinhole camera. It shows my tinfoil "slide" on top of the hole in the box, letting in sunlight which appears on the white paper I placed on the bottom of the box.  To make my box, I simply left open the top of a regular box, then laid it on its side and cut a hole in the side facing the sun and covered that hole with my tinfoil "slide." 


The box is a simple "pinhole camera" -the kind kids make in science class. I've simply poked more holes with my pin to spell out a message  Any reasonable sized box will do. Using a box creates a nice dark focal point for the light message, and a nice platform for the tinfoil to lay on. 

To prevent tearing of the foil when poking holes, cover it first using either scotch tape or clear packing tape. This also makes it easier to handle the tinfoil after poking the holes when swapping in new tinfoil messages onto the top of the box.

I used a "boutonniere" style pin that's thicker than a straight pin and easier to work with. Bigger "pins" (like nails) are harder to punch through the tape and will tear the foil if it is left un-taped..

Don't tape the tinfoil to the top of the box, Rather, just lay it on top of the hole so that different tinfoil message "slides" can be displayed using the same box.

To "record' the messages and let students take them home, use "sun art" paper or "sun print" paper.  After exposing aunprint paper to the pinholes of light  (for about 3 minutes, check instructions), you place the paper in water to stop the exposure process. Instructions: http://www.sunprints.org/how-it-works/

Lesson Application Ideas

You could simply use it to "shed some light" on any lesson's message. Or you could use it for specific verses/stories.  

Light unto my path (pinhole path) Psalm 119

Light = Word = In him was light, and the light shines in the darkness. John 1

Idea: You could write part of the verse on paper and put it on top of the box, then write the "kicker" part of the verse in pinholes so that it is revealed in light.

Example 1:    (Top of the box part The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness (second part in pinhole light a light has dawned. Isaiah 

Example 2:  The second part of I Peter 2:9 would have impact written in light.  You could write the first part on top of the box, then lift a flap on the box to reveal the last part.  (1st part written in ink on top of box) "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who..."  (2nd part written in light) "called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

The box could also be a bit of a "diorama box" or "cave" ...with a scene and characters inside of it, and the message/verse streaming in through the pinholes. 

Example 1:  Daniel and the Lion's Den

Example 2: Isaiah 9 and Matthew 4:16  "the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Looking forward to hearing how you would adapt this fun idea. ~ Neil


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Fluorescent, "Glow in the Dark," Blacklight Play Dough

"Blacklight," a.k.a. safe UV light, makes certain colors and materials come alive!  --which is another great metaphor for our need for God's light to give life and spirit.   

You can buy glo-in-the-dark play-doh, or you can make your own with the recipe below.  Blacklights are inexpensive and found online, in big box stores, and in many hardware stores.

Some ideas...

  • How do the people who walk in darkness appear in the dark, and then appear when God's (uv) light shines on them?   
  • How does Creation look without God's light? 
  • How does the Bible, worship, prayer feel, look, seem to us when it's not illuminated by the presence of God's spirit?   
  • How does life, the world, others around us appear to those who are not living in God's light?
  • What does a person in need look like to God?  
  • What happens when God's light shines on you?  Can it reveal your spots (sins)?

Here's a YouTube video showing how-to make the blacklight play dough. Others there as well.

Here's the recipe for glow in the dark (blacklight) play dough from the person who posted that video. There are other recipes on the website that don't use the cream of tartar. 

I have to wonder if it would simply be EASIER to add "glow in the dark" POWDER to white flour-based play-dough. That way you don't get the painty mess to clean-up.  These powders are widely available on the web. You'd undoubtedly have to adjust how much water you added.  You can also buy a big tub of white play-doh online which would illuminate in the blacklight. Several possibilities worthy of research and experimenting with


  • 2 cups of plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Up to 1.5 cups of  water
  • Non-toxic neon acrylic paints (5 colors; 1 tablespoon of each)

You need to shine blacklight on your work. The play dough will not look anywhere near as cool without ultraviolet light. 


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