enzrocks - Thanks for prompting me to post this...Here are the details on how I built my poster frames:
First, I knew going into this that my design would have the drawback of being very heavy. It's about 1/4 sheet of 3/4" MDF and 1/3 sheet of 1/2" OSB, plus the trim, marker board, and spotlight frame. I would have used something lighter than 1/2" OSB for the back of the frame, but I don't have a way to get large sheet goods home with my car and I already had the OSB at home, so that was an easy choice.
My molding is about an inch wide, so I needed a flat surfact to mount both the spotlight frame and the molding. I started by ripping eight 3.25" wide strips of 3/4" MDF. I doubled them up with glue and some nails to make 4 strips. Then I mitered the corners and made the strips into a picture frame using my trusty Kreg jig (great tool btw). The outside dimensions of the frame are 34x47". (And nevermind that ridiculously messy workspace!)
Then I attached my OSB to the back of the frame. I used these Spax screws that do not require pre-drilling even with MDF and had great results.
Then I flipped it over and primed and painted...then added the trim around the outside.
Then I took a break and ate some of this (a 35 pounder!). There may have also been some beer involved.
Next I dropped in a piece of dry erase marker board and attached it with glue. It is nice and reflective and pretty cheap ($10). I also laid down a light strip to see how many vertical runs I could get per strip. I was able to just eek out 5 per strip, or 20 rows total once all four strips are added. So I measured on the marker board and drew my lines 1 5/16" apart.
The lines for the lights in this pic are really tough to see, but they're there...
Next I stuck the lights onto the marker board and soldered everything up (after buying an iron and learning how to solder in 10 min on youtube
). I also applied that silver reflective waterproof HVAC tape to the sides of the MDF strips to reflect light back from the edges of the frame.
And it works!
Then I took break #2 ate some of these. I think there was also more beer involved. And a nap.
Then attach your spotlight frame inside the molding and voila!
My lights are 1 3/8" behind the acrylic and are very adequately diffused for me. I will take a pic tonight of the acrylic in front of these lights - you can barely see the strings through the acrylic and once the poster is in front of the acrylic, you really have to stare at it for a while and concentrate to see that there are any strings of lights back there. I had two friends over yesterday and asked them to try to distinguish any strings/strips/patterns in the lighting of the poster and they could not - they actually guessed that the strips were running horizontally rather than vertically, so I'm pretty satisfied that the black strips are fine.
Here are a few pics with posters in the frame.
I hung the frame last night and will be putting the final outside trim on tonight (to hide the MDF and OSB edges). I will post a finished pic tomorrow!
Skyfall - definitely no lines visible here:
the break-up - What look like lines from the strip lights are visible near the top of the poster by the actors' names. However, I think this is deceiving and the variations are generated by the poster rather than the lighting: the gray wall behind them is actually quite varied in color. (Check out the actors' names - they are very evenly lit.) And in the middle of the poster there are no lines at all. Unfortunately, I don't own any more light-colored posters to prove this point...maybe Santa will bring me a bunch.
I can see these posters turning into an expensive little side hobby!
Anyway, a very fun weekend project. I learned to solder and made some cool frames! (The second one will be finished this week.)
Thanks very much to cuzed, moggie, and others for this thread and for helping me plan my frames.