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Light Painting

Source Institutions

    The Exploratorium

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Light Painting

Light painting is a creative activity that involves creating striking images and illusions using a camera, a light source, and a little practice. Light paintings may be literal representations or impressionistic, color-filled images. When the camera shutter is open (and the room is dark) the film or digital sensor acts like a blank canvas onto which learners "paint" with a flashlight.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Electronics
  • Photography and Film/Video


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, The Exploratorium,

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, ESI-0452567


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