Instructables

Book Light Reading Light

FeaturedContest Winner
Picture of Book Light Reading Light
book_light_side.jpg
book_light_side.jpg
Friends have regularly recommended books as being particularly illuminating, but I admit that after opening them I was as in the dark as ever. Since I’m not one to let a good metaphor go unmolested (and because design schools seem to constantly create designers who’s job it is to make ugly lamps) I made this.

*Thanks to Boing Boing, Make, Craft and all the other sites for featuring this project, and to the Instructables community for voting it as a finalist in the LED contest!



It turns off when its closed and gives off a variable amount of light depending on how far you open it, up to about a 40W light equivalent. It gives a nice warm, soft light and it looks right at home on my bedside table.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need
Skills:
  • Basic soldering. 
  • Basic wood cutting.
  • Measure stuff reliably.
  • You have to be wiling to scalp a book.

Time:
A couple of afternoons, though a lot of that time is waiting for glue and paint to dry.

Materials:
  • Hardback book. At least 1″ thick. (I got mine from the local thrift store.)
  • 1/4″ plywood or MDF (About a square foot or so should do it.)
  • Wood glue.
  • White or clear 2-part epoxy.
  • Smoked or sign white acrylic, 1/8″ thick and as big as your book. (I got mine from Tap Plastics.)
  • http://www.diodeled.com/products-view.php?id=16(I used this one from SparkFun because its small and sensitive.)
  • 2.1mm female panel mount plug. Like this one from Mouser or this one from Jameco.
  • 12v 600mA power adapter with a 2.1mm make plug. (Like this one from SparkFun)
  • 22 gauge (or so) insulated wire. Stranded or solid core.
  • Flexible warm white LED strip. You’ll need enough to be double the width and height of your book. I bought mine by the inch at the local hardware store, (this is what it is,  but they only sell wholesale.) If you can’t find it there, these from Phenopix are similar. You can also find other suppliers at this search. You don’t need waterproof, regular watervulnerable is fine.
  • White acrylic paint.
  • Electrical tape (ideally white)
  • Either a) Off-white linen & white glue or b) Ivory or white acrylic paint. Thick, from a tube, not a bottle. This is for simulating the outside pages. Paint is easier to do but it doesn’t feel as nice.

Tools:
  • Craft knife
  • Soldering iron and solder.
  • Pliers.
  • Clamps.
  • Square.
  • Drill.
  • Fine grain sand paper (220 or so.)
  • Wire cutters.
  • Wire strippers.
  • 1″ paintbrush.
  • Saw.
  • Pencil.
  • Ruler.
  • Tape.
yauzi2 years ago
Thanks for this awesome Instructable!
Was great fun making it, thinking of building another one :)
PB143331.JPG
Grathio (author)  yauzi2 years ago
That's fantastic! Thanks for sharing it.
(And a great book title!)

wauw this is great!

CaptainSlug5 months ago

With a few extra components the book cover itself could act as your power switch.

You will need a magnet, reed switch (with Normally-Closed contact)

, and small relay could be used in place of a traditional switch.

Attach the magnet inside or on the inside surface of the book cover.

Attach the reed switch inside the diffusor near where the magnet is on the book cover.

Then wire the reed switch to control the coil of a small relay. The relay contacts are wired Normally-Open to the LED strips.

Grathio (author)  CaptainSlug5 months ago

The snap action lever switch already allows the book cover to work as the power switch with many fewer parts.

However your solution has the benefit of being a little less visible.

McLovinGyver8 months ago
I like the remark: "You have to be wiling to scalp a book." There are other projects where you need to do that, like tablet-sleeves or netbook-cases. But all the time i'm hesitating. When it is a good book, i don't wanna destroy it. When it is trash, i don't wanna see the cover also. Has someone a good idea how to handle this inner conflict?
I've been looking for a small bed light for my camper van that doesn't connect to my leisure battery and I have a small book box (a box that looks like a book that is) and a string of battery powered led's. hmmm. I think I know what my next project is. Thanks for the idea!
What level of transparency do you recommend ? TAP offers 20% , 30% etc.
Grathio (author)  BenistheMenace2 years ago
I used 40%, though it's still kind of milky and translucent. I like that when it's off you can sort of see what's behind it. If you want to get rid of the milkiness go for "sign white" or 20%, though it will absorb a bit more light than the more transparent materials.
TheBestJohn3 years ago
Great instructable as always Grathio... as far as the switch goes you could have used a magnetic reed switch and a magnet embedded into the cover for more of a clean design. I love it!
Grathio (author)  TheBestJohn3 years ago
Thanks John!

A reed switch is a great idea, would clean up the lines, and would help hod it closed when off. (Which wasn't a problem with this book, but could be a problem with some bindings.)

Be sure to get a "NC" (normally closed) type reed switch which is a little harder to find than the common "NO" (Normally open) switch. That will make sure it turns on when you open the book rather than off.
snotty Grathio3 years ago
Yes!

I've been thinking of something similar since I made a book speaker. It would be awesome to use a flex sensor or a linear potentiometer that would control the light level depending on how far the book opens.
slu6alka3 years ago
Awesome project...I think I'm gonna try it :)) Thanks for sharing :))
jamiec533 years ago
Now that, is cool!
Jayefuu3 years ago
Nice.

I think your Vimeo video needs resizing though, it obscures your author profile.
Grathio (author)  Jayefuu3 years ago
Got it, thanks!
droid19363 years ago
wat een fantastisch idee, cone make one
I just realized the title of the book. Very clever!
This is sooooooooo cool! I've always wondered if you could use an old book for something other than a safe...
Great job!
ChrysN3 years ago
Awesome, great idea!