Introduction: Bawls Blue Crystal LED Light

Picture of Bawls Blue Crystal LED Light

I have seen a lot of creative projects which utilize the popular “Bawls” bottles. Other projects had two features which I wanted to improve on;

1: The common use of batteries instead of a more permanent power source

2: The intensely bright spots which LEDs often produce

I based some of my design off of other projects and modified the points I wanted to improve on, this resulted in the Bawls Blue Crystal LED Light seen bellow.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

Picture of Parts and Tools

*If you have not worked with LEDs before I would recommend reading the LEDs for beginners guide before proceeding.

For this project you will need the following;

-Soldering iron
-Hot glue gun
-Heat gun (or a lighter)
-Glass drill bit ( Black and Decker Model # 16903 )
-Wire cutters
-Wire stripper

-Some scrap wire
-A resistor (Proper resistance to match your LEDs)
-Heat shrink
-Eight LEDs
-Power supply
-Bawls bottle
-Empty glass bottles (3 or 4 empty Snapple bottles should do)

Step 2: Drilling the Hole

Picture of Drilling the Hole

*Before you start drilling consider wearing a face mask to filter the small glass particles out of the air you breathe.

Once you have washed out the bottle and gotten the glass drill bit you are ready to go. I would not recommend trying to drill a hole in the glass with anything except the special bit, I attempted my first hole with an old dremel bit and the bit melted.

Start by placing your bottle in a vice, this drilling will take a while to do so you don’t want to have to hold it the entire time. When putting the bottle in the vice be sure to add cloth cushioning, this will prevent scratched and the unintended shattering of the bottle. I found that the best approach is to clamp the base of the bottle; this avoids undue pressure on the thinner walls.

After placing the bottle in the vice with the logo down you are ready to drill. This hole will later be an inlet for the power supply wires. Start drilling right above the base, keep the bit
centered in between the two lowest rows of dots. This is very challenging when starting the hole, so long as you don’t drill directly into the thick base you will be alright.

While drilling apply light pressure and maintain a high speed. The process will be slow. Every 30 to 60 seconds brush away the dust and check your progress. Continue drilling until you breach the inner wall. After 5 to 10 minutes hopefully you will have punctured through, as soon as you notice that you have done so slow down your drilling. At this point you must continue drilling slowly until you have a hole big enough to fit your wires through. If you drill to fast once you have punctured the inner wall the bottle begins to vibrate and then shatters. (I found that out the tough way.)

Step 3: Soldering

Picture of Soldering

Be sure to wash the bottle out after drilling, while it dries you can solder the LEDs together.
In the following schematic I used a 100 ohm resister if your power supply is different than mine please use the proper resister.

Simply follow the attached schematic. You will be building four parallel circuited which are then wired in series followed by a resister. Build the string of lights so that it is approximately the height of the bottle, if anything make it a bit shorter. As you construct the circuited be sure to put the heat shrink on before you solder the wires together. (This may sound stupid bit when you forget it is a Paine to get the cover on after.)

Step 4: Connection and Testing

Picture of Connection and Testing

By the time you finish soldering all of this together the bottle should be dry.

At this point feed the power supply wires through the hole and out the mouth of the bottle. Don’t forget to tire a loose knot in the wire, later on you will tighten this up so that it provides a sturdy point incase the wire is ever tugged on. Connect the power supply wires to your newly completed circuit and give it a test run. If it works then solder the connections and feel the entire thing into the bottle. Adjust the knot so that the lights go from the base to the bottle neck and there is little or no extra wire in the bottle.

Do a final check to make sure you have no loose connection anywhere.

Step 5: Glass Time

Picture of Glass Time

*Wear safety goggles when necessary
*Don’t cut yourself

Now that all the lights are working and you have everything soldered together you are almost done.
In order to disperse the light a little and avoid directly seeing the LEDs I chose to add glass shards. Filling the bottle with these does a great job at hiding all of the wires and making the bottle look great with the LEDs on.

I found the best approach to be as follows;

1. Peel paper off bottles
2. Place bottles in an old pillow case
3. Swing pillow case firmly into pavement or cement
4. Repeat 3 times

After this your pillow case will be slightly torn and more importantly filled with small shards of glass. Pour the glass into a box and carefully fill your bottle with the shards. As the bottle fills be sure to have the wires hidden. Keeping the wire directly in the middle of the bottle yields the best looking results when done. If you run out of shards that will fit into the bottle simply repeat steps 2 through 4 and continue filling the bottle. Once the bottle is full shake and tap the bottle, this will cause the glass pieces to settle and usually makes room for more shards to be added. Repeat this shaking and adding process until shaking and taping has no effect on the glasses level.

Your almost done now.

Step 6: Almost Done

Picture of Almost Done

Now all that is left to do is some simple stuff.

Put the bottle cap back on.

Add a bit of hot glue around the hole.

Take a damp cloth and wipe off the bottle.

You're done.

Step 7: Your Done.

Picture of Your Done.

You now have a very cool looking light to show off to your friends,

-Michael I


Swansong (author)2017-09-22

Those are really pretty :)

e1337 (author)2007-01-09

Thats cool, I tried it and thought that i wanted something brighter so i did 16 leds and it worked! But it is really hard to look at.

Sushin (author)e13372011-09-27

picture of fake. lol

randomhat (author)2007-04-06

Your using an actual plug in power supply, with a dangling cord of thinnly insulated wires...and shoving sharp glass shards inside a confined space?? Id be terrfieid of a power short and exposed wires! Wouldn't it have been better to use fish tank plastic fill stone? You can get them a bag a dollar in a dollar store that should be enough to fill the bottle & fit down through the neck.

pmilg (author)randomhat2007-05-11

I worked very hard to add extra shielding and protect all of my wiring. If i make more i will be sure to try your suggestion of the plastic fill stones.

ZeroXL91 (author)pmilg2011-03-31

I'm still wondering exactly how safe swinging glass is. Here's a better idea, put your glass in a pillowcase or towel, and get a sledgehammer, then proceed with smashing the glass(Not swinging the hammer on it, just picking it up and slamming it on the glass, like a stabbing motion.). Just a suggestion!

Sushin (author)2010-10-15

I followed the Kipkay's video about this, but i used clear glass

i made a green and a blue one.

Kamoku_Katai (author)2009-10-03


nanor11395 (author)2007-12-04

so what is bawls im 12 so i dont know

pmilg (author)nanor113952007-12-04

Bawls is basically a supper caffeinated. soda.

nanor11395 (author)pmilg2007-12-05

oh cool

it is the best energy drink ever! i don't drink anything else...

Yerboogieman (author)nanor113952008-01-27

its good, its like drinking caffinated sprite.

joetcochran (author)2008-11-09

Is there an easy way of determining what resistor you need? I have a 9V/400ma power supply and I'd like to do something similar to this. Thanks

pmilg (author)joetcochran2008-12-22

In order to determine the proper resistor value you need to look at the circuit as a whole. You need to make sure that the LED’s are not overloaded with too much current ( AKA "i"). You can find the LED’s current rating on the packaging. Once you know this you can use the formula v=ir to find the necessary resistance to use in the circuit. Plug in the voltage of your power supply and the rating of your LED’s and solve for the value of resistance.
So, for example if we had a 9 volt power supply and LED’s which can run at 700mA we would solve for resistance as follows.

v = ir

plug in our values

9volts = (700*10-3) amps * (r) ohms

Solve for r

r = 9/(700*10-3)

r = 1.29*103 ohms = 1290 ohms = 1.29 kOhms

any value within 5% of your calculated value will work. Most resistors can vary from 5 to 10 %.

Note that in this example we are assuming that the wire used and the LED’s used have no resistance. This will very closely emulate the conditions of the small circuit you will be building.

If you have more questions let me know.
-Michael I

pbawesome (author)pmilg2009-02-21

no no no how to calulate required resistance,

Input voltage - Desired Output Voltage / Current being pulled in amps = Ohms

so 7.5vin 3.2 desire 20mA power consumption

you would use 215 ohm resistor

pmilg (author)pbawesome2009-02-22

Very good point. I can not believe I made such a stupid mistake. Thank you for posting a correction.

knutsak8 (author)2008-10-17

hey... would any of you guys sell one of those?

pmilg (author)knutsak82008-12-22

Sorry, no plans to sell any at this point. The project takes too long to make it worth my time to make and sell them. They would have to be quite pricey. -Michael I

bansheekilla64 (author)2008-11-24

where'dyou get the random 9v/300ma power cord O.o ripped it out of an appliance or somethin?

pmilg (author)bansheekilla642008-12-22

Exactly. -Michael I

bansheekilla64 (author)2008-11-24

ifound some resistors laying around in my drawer today, and as i was reading the colors, they came out as 470Kohm, 220Kohm, and 10Kohm resistors. thats over 100,000 ohm resistors!! help!
i have a 125v power cord and 7 very very small LED lights. about, 10v or 8v. help =(

pmilg (author)bansheekilla642008-12-22

If all you can find are odd resistors then you can combine then in series or parallel to make a new equivalent resistance.

Use the rules;

when in series Requiv. = R1 + R2 +R3...

when in parallel 1/Requiv. - (1/R1) + (1/R2) + (1/R3).....

Hope this helps,

-Michael I

Kaldea (author)2008-12-22

Going to make a Nuka-Cola Quantum with this idea Since it really reminds me of it's nice blue radiation glow C:

pmilg (author)Kaldea2008-12-22

Nice, post some pictures when you are done. -Michael I

Notbob (author)2008-03-11

I second that motion. Way too cool!... ...if only I could solder...

Yerboogieman (author)Notbob2008-09-16

Really Easy. helping hands helps alot, dont "Pre Solder" the iron and use just a little bit, enough to cover the spot. and dont hold the iron on to long or it will burn out the component.

Notbob (author)Yerboogieman2008-09-17

Thanks, i already know how to solder, i just dont have the equipment to do so, luckily for me they're cheaper here in the UK than in Canada where i used to live.

michaeldnash (author)Notbob2008-03-12

i made mine without soldering -- lots of electrical tape and twisting :)

pmilg (author)michaeldnash2008-03-12

lol, I remember those days, before I could solder. Good luck and I hope your project comes out great.

michaeldnash (author)pmilg2008-03-13

yup for my next projects i'll take the time to actually solder properly. I just ordered 100 transistors, 100 photocells (3-~30k), 100 ultrabright blue LED's, 100 100k ohm resistors, and 100 470 ohm resistors and i'm in the process of finding a roughly 1ftx1ft square (maybe larger) and am going to cover this board with the array of paired photocell/LED's so that when a shadow passes over the light takes the form of the shadow -- a precursur to a one day even LARGER project of a coffee table. Yes, similar to the evil mad scientist thing but i don't like theirs too much -- too wavy, kind of distorts things. This project will be my spring break :) and yes, i will solder this one.

crapflinger (author)2007-01-09

in step that a picture of the bottle half full? or half empty? great addition to an existing instructable

pmilg (author)crapflinger2007-01-09

Well that all depends whether you took your Prozac today.

If you took the Prozac, you'd likely use the glass shards to slash your wrists. I'm not trying to be a spoilsport or anything. I like jokes about about all sorts of things, many of which would be considered off colour, by most of society. Antidepressants are not joke-worthy. Far too many lives have been ruined by the money-grubbing foists at the pharmaceutical companies, that prey on people's insecurities. By the way, nice Instructable. I'm thinking about using blue glass marbles, extracted from spray paint cans, in a clear bottle. Extra by the way, what's Bawls taste like? I'm thinking... kinda salty...

great one, lmfao

I gots another. (kinda obscure though) You know the urban legend about how Evian water is naive spelled backwards, as an in-joke about people spending so much for a bottle of water? (Not so commonly heard anymore, 'cause it seems like everybody will shell out loads o' cash for pissy bottled water) Anyhow, I was thinking that maybe the Bawls bottle is blue, so as to make a little joke about the condition of the actual balls of the typical Bawls consumer, namely guys who sit around playing computer games all night, while drinking over-caffeinated soda.


Thanks. I think I'm finished now.

lol, ok

Oh wait. There is another... 'tain't mine though, so I can't take credit. It's based on something Bender said in a Futurama episode. Here it is: I understand there's a lot of caffeine in Bawls. So does drinking a lot of Bawls make you testy?

lol, i havent heard that one, i usually watch futurama

It was the one where Earth went to war with the bouncing balls. Bender, sick of negotiations and wanting action, says "These balls are makin' me testy."

i got another one when beavis and butt head had to volunteer at a church and they said they had a band named metalica and the guy said that sounded good and nice, so beavis and butt-head didnt show up and a bunch of bikers started a fight and riot.

reds322 (author)2008-09-10

Has any one done this with UV l.e.d's? i just bought 20 white and 20 uv and i was wondering how it would look before making it.

Yerboogieman (author)reds3222008-09-16

looks dim.

sfizzle (author)2008-04-14

dude awesome bottle. i just found this site and this is the first thing im making, i love all of this. my girlfriend is going to love this bottle when im done

moyboy (author)2008-04-01

what power source did you end up plugging the thing into?

pmilg (author)moyboy2008-04-06

I used the power adapter shown in step one, if you hover your mouse over the picture the voltage and current details are listed.

michaeldnash (author)2008-03-12

I just made myself a little light using your wiring schematic (thought i'd test it out with wires and a "project box" before moving to lamp making) -- and it works great! i added an I/O switch so i can have the power shut off when i don't want it to be on, and i am the proud parent of a "rad detector" now. Seventy seven thumbs up to you, sir. Next project i'll make a real lamp or something with use :)

pyroman50 (author)2008-03-08

This is soooo cool.

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