Partially in response to this, partially because I’ve been wanting to post this anyway, please allow me to share a few things that I’ve tried this past week that have NOT worked out well (and one that did).
1. Painting the acrylic rods
I tried taking some clear acrylic rods and experimented with painting them red as well as first priming them white and then painting them. Both methods failed hard. Painting them cuts out too much of the light- down to the point where you can barely tell that there’s a light inside them at all. When I tried thinning the paint / applying less paint so that more light shines through the paint job ended up looking like trash. Maybe there’s a translucent dye or stain or something out there that would do the trick, but if so I don’t know about it.
You’re much better off just buying the lights and/or rods in the colors that you want to use.
2. Sanding the acrylic rods
This one actually did do fairly well at diffusing the light. You still get most of the light coming out of the top of the rod and the area near the base, rather than an even glow, but it’s far better than doing nothing.
I want to get some of this side-glow fiber optics stuff and compare how it works to the sanded acrylic. I have a feeling it will give better results.
3. Using cheaper conductive paint
That conductive silver paint stuff is expensive. So I searched around on amazon and found a carbon-based conductive paint for less than half the cost of the silver paint. So I bought some and tried it. It technically works, but the resistivity of the carbon is too high and you lose most of your light. So the moral of the story is don’t skimp- spend more for the silver paint.