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This is a Chinese lantern basically made from a keychain red LED and a red inflatable ball.  

There is something magical as the ball spins.

This is my nine-year-old daughter's project--it was her idea, and she did all the work except that I suggested that the water bottle neck adapter as a more secure way of attaching the LED and I cut the neck of a water bottle for her.

Ingredients and tools:
  • keychain LED, e.g., this one
  • small inflatable ball
  • some string
  • a stick
  • tape
  • scissors

Step 1: Tie String

Tie a string (in this case, orange wool) to the LED and to a stick (in this case, a red dowel).

Step 2: Make Bottle Neck Adaptor

Cut off the top part of a water bottle, leaving some of the flaring plastic below the neck, and put some tape on the top end of it, sticking out past the end.

Step 3: Attach LED

Attach the LED to the tape on the bottle neck.

Step 4: Tape the Other End of the Bottle Neck

Tape the flaring end of the bottle neck to the ball.  My daughter used paper tape.  Scotch tape would be good, too.  Ideally, use a tape that will come off the ball with no damage.  The tape won't be very visible once the room lights are off and the LED is on.

Step 5: Variations

My six-year-old son then made one with a whole water bottle instead.  He was proud that it had only three ingredients: bottle, tape and light, with the light taped into the neck of the bottle.  He used a UV LED light.  I hung it from one of the ceiling fan pulls for the photo.

My daughter's first design had the LED plugged directly into the bottle valve, and then taped in place.  This resulted in a brighter lantern, but my daughter said that the ball softened after a few minutes.  I suppose one could glue the LED in place, but then the ball wouldn't be re-usable as a ball.  Or maybe some good tape would hold the air in for a while.


With a bigger battery (one could use wires instead of the string, and then attach a battery holder to the stick), this would make a nice night-light.


awesome ideas from the kids. Keep inspiring their creativity!!
Cool light idea. Keep them kids building!

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