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"What's Really There," A Shadow Story

Patent can be viewed here:

Written and designed by me, illustrated by Rachel Caires

Methods used

  • Rapid prototyping
  • Book making
  • Ideation
  • Fabrication

How can we create tangible experiences that children will want to engage with more than their devices?

Devices often cause insomnia and can distract children much past their bed times. In an effort to keep books relevant, I wanted to create a delightful physical experience. In considering a scenario of children wanting to hear a bedtime story, I wondered what could be done with light and shadow to enhance the narrative experience.


I started through experimentation with materials and methods, just trying to see as many different experiences I could create with lights and shadows.

As one of my experiments, I tried making my room into a camera obscura. I was struck by the fact that a single pinhole could have such a large impact. 

I played with many materials and methods, but landed on laser cutting as my ideal method of making.


I finally came upon my intended effect: I wanted to create photographic shadows. 

Once I had my process detailed, I needed to find a way to apply it to my problem. How could I make a story that is told through shadows? 

I came up with the idea of having a page that would tell two stories: In ambient lighting it would show one part of the story, but when the lights are out and there is a flashlight pointed at it, it would tell a different side of the same story. 


Once I had my plan, I just had to collaborate with my illustrator to create the narrative. I learned how to make an actual book by hand, through the steps of printing the pages, getting my pages laser cut, having them bound, then cutting and creating the cover with board, a printed graphic, and glue. 


If you would like to speak more with me about this project, I welcome any and all contact. I would love to see this book made for real!

Using Format