Backlighting For Any Translucent Material

Whether translucent stone, glass, plastic, veneers or fabric, Addlux will provide you with expert advice and the right LED solution to ensure that your chosen translucent material is evenly backlit.

The right selection, configuration and set up of the most suitable Addlux lighting technology will achieve bright, even illumination of any translucent surface material, without spotting, striping, or shadowing.

We customise all of our LED lighting solutions and offer recommendations on the most appropriate set up (depth, need for additional diffusing materials, attachments, etc), based on the translucency, size and weight of the material you have chosen to backlight.

Free of charge, we will in particular:

  • help you find the best LED solution to achieve a bright, uniform illumination with the least depth
  • tell you if an additional diffuser is necessary
  • tell you the optimum distance of the LED components to the decorative surface material
  • quote you our best price and delivery for your bespoke, ready-to-install backlit assembly

General Advice for Choosing and Lighting Translucent Materials

From the outset it is important to know the level of translucency or light transmission through the surface material in order to decide on the optimum lighting solution for the material of your choice. By the way, if you don’t know the translucency of the material, as is often the case for translucent stones, we will gladly test a small section of the material for you.

Typically, there are more lighting options for thicker and more opaque materials with stronger colouration and patterns as they are more forgiving, and the light is more evenly diffused throughout. Good examples of this would be natural stone panels such as onyx, quartzite, engineered agate or glass panels with multiple interlayers.

Thinner and more translucent materials tend to show hotspots more easily, especially when the distance between the material and the light source is too close. This can be overcome by increasing the distance between the translucent material (diffuser) and the LED light source. If the material is especially transparent then we suggest to add a made-to-measure opal acrylic film or sheet diffusers behind the translucent material.  Translucent materials too can be brilliantly illuminated in any colour using RGB or RGBW LEDs.

Light transmission varies greatly, so we will be able to advise you on how to illuminate your particular material and will try out which of our LED solutions is most suitable for your project by tests on a sample of the material.

Some of the translucent materials may only be available in limited sheet sizes and you might wish to join several together to cover a larger area. We provide advice on how to arrange the backlighting to reduce any seam effect.

Light transmission of various diffuser materials

Stone

Many natural stones are both translucent and opaque and can be backlit beautifully to show off the natural crystalline structure with their unique patterns, shapes and colours.

Three of the most common translucent stones used for backlighting purposes are:

  • onyx
  • quartzite
  • alabaster

When choosing a natural stone as diffuser note that the level of light transmission will vary for each sheet because of the natural formation of the stone. The thickness of the sheet will also affect light transmission.

Another satisfactory and cost-effective alternative is stone veneers. These are created by milling a very thin layer of stone and bonding it to a support material such as glass, acrylic or fiberglass. Stone veneers enable higher light transmission and permits otherwise non-translucent stone materials to be backlit.

Another potential option is engineered stone. This is a combination of natural stone pieces cemented together with a resin style binding material. A good example of this is to embed natural semi-precious agate pebbles in resin and then cut the resulting slab into sheets and polished to reveal an amber coloured mosaic.

Glass

An age-old yet still innovative material, glass is available in a many different finishes suitable for backlighting. It can be shaped, toughened and coloured to fit the design needs, and has the added benefit of being recyclable many times over. Examples of glass types that we have used include:

  • Textured and frosted glass sheets
  • Printed glass
  • Laminated glass with opaque or coloured interlayers
  • 100% recycled glass, for example Magna Glaskeramik
  • Stained glass

When backlighting glass, special attention must be paid to the translucency so as to avoid unwanted shadowing or hot spots. Ask us for technical advice when choosing the most suitable LED solutions for the material, when we will take into consideration your project specifications, size, available space for the LED light source, and light diffusion through the surface of the glass type you have chosen.

We are increasingly being asked to propose lighting solutions for backlighting stained glass art. As these are made up of different pieces of glass of varying colours it is important to consider the light transmission through the most translucent piece to decide on the most suitable lighting solution. When one section of the art-work is more translucent than other parts then an additional opal diffuser panel or film may be required. We will advise you on this and supply additional diffusers if needed.

Plastics

In combination with Addlux LED backlighting solutions translucent plastics become a strong design feature. Plastic materials can be heat-formed into required shapes, are lightweight and have great durability. The suitability of any plastic material for backlighting depends very much on its translucency (note: manufacturers often provide light transmission values for their product).

Types of plastic diffuser materials include:

  • Acrylic
  • Polycarbonate, for example Makrolon
  • Recycled plastics
  • Stone imitations, for example Corian
  • Light filter sheets
  • Honeycomb composites, for example Bencore

The most common plastic sheet materials used as diffusers are opal acrylic or polycarbonate based. We have tested and used most common types of these plastics and are able to advise on the most suitable lighting solution and diffuser for your project.

Fabric

Not often associated as a surface material for interior design or architectural features, nonetheless fabric  displays have often been used creatively for smooth backlighting of large areas with few shape restrictions, minimal number of seams, and because of their light weight very few structural requirements. Visuals and patterns can easily be printed onto fabric, but even plain fabric can be a powerful design feature when combined with tuneable white or RGB LED illumination. We have supplied light boxes and other custom-made framed back-lit ceilings, ready for mounting, using stretch fabric, PVC or other membranes.

Ample space is needed between the fabric and the LED lighting component to ensure even lighting. We will be pleased to recommend the best solution for your project based on the chosen material, size, shape and preferred installation method.

Printed Graphics

Addlux LED lighting is excellent when used in LED light boxes, indeed it is the most frequent use of our components and products. They have even light distribution, are slim and lightweight. Addlux light boxes are used to backlight a variety of printed graphics such as:

  • Duratrans (highest quality)
  • Paper
  • Screen printed glass
  • Vinyl
  • Printed fabric graphics

We will gladly discuss your application with you and provide you with specific examples of previous applications.

Wood

Wood can be used as a diffuser for backlighting when it is used as thin veneer applied to a stabilising backing material, such as glass, fiberglass or resin sheets. When the layer of wood is thin enough to let light through it  creates a warm and impactful glow. Wood veneers allow a high degree of customisation as different timber can be chosen for varying effect, pattern and colour. Even when not illuminated, the backlit wood veneer still has the advantage of appearing to be wood panelling.

Technical Details of Backlighting Solutions

We provide three types of backlighting, at least one of which will match your needs:

  • LED Light Sheet evenly illuminates translucent surfaces from just ≥3mm depth

    Wide range of colour temperature levels and colour-changing options, single- and double-sided, 3mm to 15mm thick and bespoke shapes and sizes up to 4.8m x 2.7m. Our 3mm thick light sheet is flexible which makes curved surfaces feasible.

  • Astrolux backlighting provides bright, uniform backlighting to translucent materials within ≥30mm depth for single-sided or ≥60mm depth for double-sided applications

    Wide range of colour temperature levels and colour-changing options. Either in kits for self-constructing or as a finished assembly (lightbox). Versatile in use, inexpensive, lightweight, single/double-sided, easy to assemble/disassemble, reusable.

  • Raylux edgelighting for evenly illuminating single- and double-sided translucent surfaces within ≥60mm depth

    Raylux is supplied in kits for self-assembly or as a finished assembly (light box) and is the least expensive solution. It is versatile, lightweight.

Click here to view an illustration showing the differences between these solutions.

Contact one of our experienced customer advisors for a consultation, a translucency test or a quote, or all three.

Phone: 0333 800 1828 or Email: sales@addlux.com