11 March 2022
Need help with lighting and magnification while working on your miniatures? Jane Harrop is here to help...
We’re nearly at the end of the A–Z of basic miniatures crafts and we’ve covered many aspects of the hobby, but what if you need a little bit more help to see while being creative? That’s where Jane Harrop will help out with lighting and magnification and conclude the series, with Z for ‘zooming’...
Natural daylight is best!
We all know that natural daylight is better for doing close work or reading and when I’m choosing a venue for a workshop a good amount of windows in the room is always a main priority as bad lighting can cause eye strain and headaches. In an ideal world it would be great to work on our miniatures during daylight hours and on nice bright days. However, that doesn’t always happen so we need to make some allowances with artificial light.
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Let’s talk light bulbs...
All light bulbs have a precise burning coloured temperature measured in Kelvin degrees.
Standard light bulbs emit a low 2700°K warm orangey glow that give our homes a lovely relaxed feeling when the curtains are drawn at night, but not enough ‘good’ light for crafting. However, help is at hand and bulbs producing a high 6000°K white bright light can replicate the lighting at noon on a clear bright day. You can find specialist task lighting fitted with bulbs imitating daylight, perfect for taking out to a miniatures workshop or club night.
Daylight Foldi LED Table Lamp
Electrical lamps vs battery powered lamps
Electrical lamps will of course give out more light than battery powered lamps and it’s here that there’s a wide choice replicating daylight. Each individual has their own requirements and in the past the wattage of a bulb will have been significant in your choice. Watts measure the amount of energy/power needed to light the bulb and the higher the power the more light produced. However nowadays with the introduction of energy saving light bulbs this is no longer applicable and lumens (lm) measure the amount of light output to the human eye from a light source. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. As an example, a 40-watt incandescent bulb is equal to 450 lumens.
Of course technology plays a big part in choosing a task lamp and those fitted with light emitting diodes (LEDs) are now a popular choice for craft workers.
The diodes use very little energy whilst still producing high levels of brightness which is instant when switched on. You can find table lamps with touch sensitive controls adjust the brightness to suit your needs at any time of the day, along with flexible arms to allow you to direct the light where you need it. How clever is that?
PureLite Ultra Quad Spectrum LED Table Lamp
Not everyone has perfect near vision and unfortunately as we get older long sightedness can begin to develop. For most a pair of prescription glasses will correct this and nearby objects will be brought back into focus. For mild forms, inexpensive off the shelf reading glasses can be helpful, but may not be as beneficial as a bespoke pair.
On occasions, with or without glasses, it can be difficult to work on tiny objects and magnification will enlarge its appearance. The power of a magnifier is usually defined by an ‘X’ sign. So, a 2X magnifier will make the image double the size through the magnifying glass. Dioptres are also used to convey power and to work out the magnification you need to divide the number of dioptres by 4 and add 1.
Hand held magnifiers can be helpful but in reality are better for checking work than using as an aid whilst crafting.
LED magnifying lamps like the one shown here incorporate LED daylight lighting and has a flexible gooseneck so that light and magnification can be positioned exactly where needed making a fiddly task a lot easier to tackle.
MAGnificent LED Magnifying Lamp
Other outlets are available…