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Lighting for Model Theaters


Click for tips

Safety Notes: Please use safe electrical practices, and avoid hot lights near flammable objects. Never leave your theater unattended while the lighting is turned on. Avoid using extension cords, especially across places where people may walk, including yourself - as it is easy to forget!

Disclaimer: We will provide tips and links to supplies for our visitors to explore, but we have no control over their safety, manufacture or use. We are not responsible for your decisions of what is best to use in your situation!

We like to use some of the low voltage lighting systems in our theaters. You can find small spot lights and various lighting kits at home building stores. Look for systems that have track that can be easily cut and adjusted to fit your theater. Some of them come with their own dimmer, but otherwise you will need to devise some sort of control box to adjust lights. Watch out for the heat that is generated by halogen lamps!

Lighting can be done for specific objects. As in the photo above, table lamps or street lights can be individually rigged with very small bulbs and powered by battery on a separate pack below or off stage. For more photos and ideas for lighting objects click here.

Tip from a visitor:
I have found that the use of "under shelf" lighting fixtures to be very useful for both footlights and overhead lighting.  The incandescent kind, not the florescent kind.  They come in various lengths and are about 1/2" square plus stand.  One mfg./style is "Advent Light Strip" distributed by "House of Troy".  I hope you find this of interest.

Submitted by: Donald Williams

2013 update: It seems the exact style mentioned above has been discontinued, but similar under-the-counter lights are available. They often come in lengths of 10, 20, and longer lengths. LED lights will have an entirely different effect than incandescent, so test them out before buying much.

There are also brass lights (from the above company) that have a curved neck bracket. Not sure if they would be useful. We look for the simple narrow bar style.
For general information about these, use your favorite search engine and type:
under cabinet lighting strips incandescent


If you have a model theater tip or trick you would like to share here, please email it to us, and let us know that it is alright to share it, and if you want your name, and/or email included.