Best known for their use in 1970s disco clubs, disco lighting effects were used to add warmth and excitement to a dance room. They often consisted of a stationary light shining on a hanging mirror ball, flashing multicolored lights, strobe lights and a smoke machine, which created a surreal effect. While lighting effects today are often controlled and produced by complex computer programs hooked up to lighting equipment that sync the lights to the music, those hoping for an easier method can also re-create the look of the disco. Whether you're making lights for a home disco, teenager's dance night or child's party, these lights are a simple way to jazz up a room. To learn how to make disco lights, follow these guidelines.
Things You'll Need
Solid rubber ball
Silver spray paint
Strong adhesive cement
Plastic hook or loop
Holiday LED lights or computer monitor
Party strobe light
The Mirror Ball
Create a mirror ball to hang from the ceiling or any high point in your house, such as a staircase railing or balcony. Choose a rubber ball of any size to use as your mirror ball. Glue a plastic hook, such as the kind used to create temporary wall hangings, to the top of the ball. Make sure that the hook and the glue can hold the weight of the ball.
Spray the ball with silver spray paint, covering the hook as well, and let it dry. Buy a selection of mirror chips, which can be found in any craft store, or look for other reflective surfaces that are eye-catching. Measure the shape of the chips, and using the pencil, map out on the ball the placement of each chip. Make sure that the rows are as straight as possible to get the best effect.
Glue the mirror chips to the ball markings, working from the center outward. Make sure to let the top section dry before flipping the ball over to work on the bottom section, otherwise the chips may slide out of place.
Hang the ball in the room you would like to hold your disco in, and determine the best place from which to shine a stationary light on it. Experiment with a few different distances to get a clear picture of your options.
Create a set of flashing, multicolored lights. This can be done in several ways. You can purchase many colored LED lights, like the type used in Halloween pumpkins, or flashing strings of Christmas tree lights. Put the lights into clear jars or string them around the room. Alternatively, you can use your computer monitor to create the flashing lights by downloading programs like Disco 1.1.0. You can also purchase a disco light machine.
Set up a party strobe light. You can either purchase a party-style strobe from a store, use a computer program, or create your own strobe light the old-fashioned way by placing a spinning wheel in front of a stationary light. The strobe effect is created by putting a pinhole in the wheel.
Make fog through which the many colored lights can reflect. This can be done either by purchasing a party fog machine or by using dry ice inside of an insulated container. Put hot water into the container and add dry ice to create the fog or smoke. Put a fan behind the container to blow the fog into the room.
If desired, you can purchase a small motor from the hardware store to make your disco ball spin.
Be careful with any complicated lighting equipment. Read all instructions for voltage requirements. Wear protective gloves when handling dry ice.