Introduction: Animated Christmas Angel Topper
To top my tree, I wanted an illuminated angel with flapping wings. When I couldn't find one, I made my own using a flapping butterfly (scientificsonline.com) and a "Direct LED G4" from earthled.com. I started with an angel topper from KMart and went from there.
Step 1: Acquire Tree Topper Angel
Step 2: Acquire Butterfly
Available at scientificsonline.com
Step 3: Remove Wings From Angel
Step 4: Keep the Wings As a Pattern
You will need the wings to give you some idea of the shape and size to fit your angel.
Step 5: Paint the Butterfly
Paint the butterfly (both sides) to try and remove the bright butterfly colors.
Step 6: Make Wings
Use acetate (the clear stuff that you used in school to make your book reports look better than they were) and paint it white. Apply as much sparkly glitter as possible.
Step 7: Tape Acetate Wings to Butterfly Wings
I used packaging tape for this.
Step 8: Create Spotlight Bracket
Obtain a 6 inch long by 1/2 inch wide piece of stainless steel (I got it at the local hardware) and a 1 inch by 1/2 inch piece of perfboard.
Step 9: Insert LED Light Into Perfboard
Step 10: Attach Wire Wrap Wires to LED Light
Attach two wires (about 8 inches long) to the light.
Step 11: Attach Light to Stainless Bracket
Using electrical tape, attach the perfboard to the stainless steel. Leads from the LED must not touch the stainless steel.
Step 12: Drill Holes in Bracket
Drill two holes in the end of the bracket (opposite from the light end).
Step 13: Bend Bracket to Fit
Bend the bracket to the approximate shape where it can "spotlight the angel."
Step 14: Attach Bracket to Angel
Inside the tree topper angel is a thick plastic "cone." Drill holes to match the bracket holes and secure the bracket with two small nuts and bolts.
Step 15: Attach Tie Down to Back of Angel
Poke a hole through the back of the angel. Insert wire (I used #24 magnet wire) through this hole.
Step 16: Tie Butterfly Wings to Back of Angel
Step 17: Solder Light Wires to Power Source
To supply the LED light, you need a power source. The power supply can be anything from 10 volts to 15 volts, AC or DC, 150 milliamps or more. You can hook either wire to either terminal on the LED light.
Step 18: Tape and Secure the Wires
Wrap electrical tape around the solder connections. Using clear packing tape, secure the connection inside the plastic cone (inside the topper angel).
Step 19: Add Light Shield
Because the LED light is very bright and annoying even from the ground, a shield is necessary to prevent visibility from the human eye level. I took a short piece of the 1/2 inch stainless steel and formed a tight (ends touching) "U" shape. Pressure fit this over the LED light and the light should all go upward.
Step 20: Adjust the Light Bracket
While the angel is still on the ground, adjust the bracket until the light shines where you want it. If you wait until this is wired up on top of the tree, you will not be happy while precariously standing on a chair or stool and trying to adjust the pattern.
Step 21: Put It on the Tree and Enjoy
You will have two power supplies, one for the butterfly (angel wings) and one for the light. Take your time and thread these deep into the tree. Support these wall transformers, or they will drop at an inopportune time, taking part of the angel with them.