Introduction: Animated Christmas Angel Topper

Picture of 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

Picture of Acquire Tree Topper Angel

 

Step 2: Acquire Butterfly

Picture of Acquire Butterfly

 Available at scientificsonline.com

Step 3: Remove Wings From Angel

Picture of Remove Wings From Angel

 

Step 4: Keep the Wings As a Pattern

Picture of 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

Picture of Paint the Butterfly

 Paint the butterfly (both sides) to try and remove the bright butterfly colors.

Step 6: Make Wings

Picture of 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

Picture of Tape Acetate Wings to Butterfly Wings

 I used packaging tape for this.

Step 8: Create Spotlight Bracket

Picture of 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

Picture of Insert LED Light Into Perfboard

 

Step 10: Attach Wire Wrap Wires to LED Light

Picture of Attach Wire Wrap Wires to LED Light

 Attach two wires (about 8 inches long) to the light.

Step 11: Attach Light to Stainless Bracket

Picture of 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

Picture of Drill Holes in Bracket

 Drill two holes in the end of the bracket (opposite from the light end).

Step 13: Bend Bracket to Fit

Picture of Bend Bracket to Fit

 Bend the bracket to the approximate shape where it can "spotlight the angel."

Step 14: Attach Bracket to Angel

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Tie Butterfly Wings to Back of Angel

 

Step 17: Solder Light Wires to Power Source

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.

Comments

kimbabrt (author)2015-12-11

She's absolutely beautiful! You did a wonderful job!!

lemonie (author)2009-12-14

Despite disagreeing with angels being depicted as richly-dressedwomen, this is very well photographed and nicely built.

L

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am an author and a maker. My current project is Santa's Shop. I'm working on a science fiction type book--more later. @EngineerRigsby
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