Introduction: Glowing Crystal Nightlight

Picture of Glowing Crystal Nightlight

Recently I had a large 30 year old ( I have only been using it for around 6 years) light bulb burn out so I decided to make a night light out of it.

I decided to make this a low voltage DC project...

Step 1: You Will Need

Picture of You Will Need

You will have to have basic soldering knowledge and the following materials:

Clear light bulb
quartz crystal that will fit inside of the light bulb
Plastic light socket (home depot sells this for $1.40)
Wall Wart, 5VDC
Regular household copper wire ( about 10 inches)
3 LEDs ( I chose amber DIgiKey part number  160-1653-ND)
150 Ohm 1/4 watt resistor
1 1K Ohm Pot ( this was an old spare with a click off switch on the low side, sorry no part number)
3/8 inch flat rubber washer

Step 2: Prep the Bulb

Picture of Prep the Bulb

There are several Instructables which show how to prep the bulb.

I used a bench vise to break the purple glass insulator on the bottom of the screw base.
I followed this with a small screwdriver to break the clear class tube under the insulator the a pair of needle nose pliers to remove any remaining glass.

Be careful and wear safety glasses and gloves when doing this.

Step 3: Prep the Crystal Holder

Picture of Prep the Crystal Holder

Strip the 14/2 household wire or just use the bare ground wire from the bundle

Using the small crystal as a guide, tightly wrap the bare wire several times around one end, make sure you leave several inches of wire to attach to the base.

Step 4: Make the Led Light Assembly

Picture of Make the Led Light Assembly

Tightly grip 3 LEDs with the flats together.

Bend the long leads(anode) outwards at a 45 degree angle and twist the short leads(cathode) together tightly.

Press the led assembly into the base and bend the long leads so that they touch the copper wire holder. Solder the 3 leads into place onto the holder.

Solder another wire to the cathode wrap.

place the assembly in a vise and fill with clear silicone.

Press the crystal into the silicone and wait for 24 hours.

Step 5: Make the Light

Picture of Make the Light

I had to make the opening in the light base slightly larger to fit the LED light inside of the bulb, I used needle nose pliers for this.

Insert the LED assembly into the bulb to get an idea of where you would like it placed, mark the anode (holder) wires and create a flattened part on the wire. I used a bench vise for this.

Bend the wires at the flat spot and place the assembly back into the bulb. Solder the wires to the screw base on the bulb, you may want to use a high powered solder gun for this so that you do not end up with a cold solder joint

Notch the edges of the rubber washer with side cutters and fit over the cathode wire and into the bulb screw base, Place a large ball of solder on the cathode wire at the rubber washer interface.

Test fit the bulb in the base and trim any extra solder as needed

Step 6: Power the Base.

Picture of Power the Base.

Drill a small hole in the light socket base which will allow enough space for the potentiometer to sit in. The hole should needs to be large enough for the pot shaft to go through.

With the pot in place solder one lead to the 150 Ohm resistor and connect it to the socket screw which goes to the center of the socket for the cathode wire.

Solder the negative lead of the power supply (shown black) to the center lead of the pot.

Attach the positive (shown red) to the socket screw which connects to the bulb screw base mating surface.

Not shown but attach a knob to the potentiometer adjustment shaft.

Step 7: Enjoy the Light

Picture of Enjoy the Light

The potentiometer has a built in switch which allows for both on/off function and dimming.

Plug in the wall wart and enjoy the light!!!


FlareFolf (author)2016-06-27

anyone know a good place to get cheap crystals?

GoranR1 (author)2015-01-28

Thank for the instructable, great project. I was able to make mine in 45 minutes (i had most of the parts already at hand). I had only blue LED and a smaller light bulb but it turned pretty decent. I used a single blue LED, 5v adapter and 120 ohm resistor.

Random_Canadian (author)GoranR12015-01-28

Nicely done!

Double_a_aarin (author)2014-05-27

I am 13yrs old and am making it so far the hardest things for me have been to find the tools I am making this for my class I am in advanced if you were wondering when I finish it I will post a pick of what it looks like but all you weenies need to stop just flagging the stuff and actually make it

7searls16 (author)2013-02-10

could you make this without the glass of the bulb, it seems all that is really nessesary is the bottome srew part.

Double_a_aarin (author)7searls162014-05-27


Absolutely! the bulb part is purely decorative.

Cam918 (author)2011-05-04

Cool, but looks tough to make.

MissBetsy (author)2010-05-20

 Looks great and you made an awesome instructable. Had to bookmark it in my steampunk folder!

Same here!

Nikiman (author)2011-03-05

Great idea, this is my version.. ^^ I connected the LEDs to an USB cable... It's alot Easier.. :D

jamesona (author)2010-04-23

looks awesome as an idea for potential steampunk/fantasy lighting. I'd use a luxeon or rebel style diode, to REALLY light it up (ie. bright enough to use as actual room lighting).

danm95 (author)2010-04-16

Perhaps this could make an interesting joule theif project.

Hexpigge (author)2010-04-16

As a replacement CuSO4 (Copper Sulfate) crystal can be used, color is nice too! :]

Zergling_pack (author)2010-04-07

 Reminds me of the Steam Punk light bulb i made. Great instructable though!

Steampunk lightbulb?  Would love to see that!

I really like this lightbulb, but lack soldering tools and the skills to use them.  Would buy one though.

 Okay i will get the materials later today and make an instructable. I will message you when i upload it. 

Sounds great!

Thank you

Bad Donut (author)2010-04-15

i saw this and thought the crystal was magically glowing by itself.
too bad theres an led in there :(

tundrawolf (author)Bad Donut2010-04-15

 I thought so, too. It's still cool.

roland985 (author)Bad Donut2010-04-15

Same here, it would be cool if it was, I wonder if it were possible?

khanguy (author)roland9852010-04-15

Actually LEDs themselves have crystals which produce light when current is passed through it. It is described here:

incorrigible packrat (author)2010-04-09

It's almost like a tiny zero point module, imprisoned in a light bulb.  I'm tempted to make one with those little neon indicator bulbs.

Stargate Freek!

Enjoy it!

The ZPM is a great idea... I tell you what, I'll race you to the posting of one...

In Canada it starts with Zed...

go canada (im canadian too nova scotia)

Of course I said Zed.  Rodney would kick my arse otherwise.

Don't bother racing to post, as you'll win anyhow, on account of my being generally lazy and shiftless.

I think my "things I should get around to sometime" list is well into the hundreds by now.

hot-fresh-rider (author)2010-04-15

great idea :D

newroger (author)2010-04-15

ha muito legal gostei!

chrwei (author)2010-04-15

I like how you made use of the "normal" screw base so the bulb is removable instead of just running wires out of the bottom of the bulb

for extra awesomeness find a base with room for a AA battery or 2 and use a joule thief circuit...

mdog93 (author)2010-04-06

hey looks great!

I didn't think you could use dimmer switches with leds, unless you have special dimmable leds. How does this work?

Random_Canadian (author)mdog932010-04-06


While the preferred method of dimming a LED is PWM, The quick and dirty way is to limit the current available to the LED by increasing the size of the resistor in the circuit.

Since the brightness of a LED is dependent on the current of the circuit, to decrease the brightness of a LED you need to either decrease the voltage available or increase the resistance of the circuit. There is a limit to the amount of current that the LED can handle which is why the circuit uses both a fixed and a variable resistor. Make sure that the potentiometer  that you choose can handle the power, In this case a 1/4 watt rated pot would have worked but I was going for a specific look.

Note that the resistance circuit used here will result in a differing brightness in the individual LEDs due to manufacturing but this is not seen here due to how they are mounted.

I hope that this helps...

mdog93 (author)Random_Canadian2010-04-09

yeah, thanks for clearing that up :)

ElectricUmbrella (author)2010-04-08

This is gorgeous!
I'm going to try and make it over, nice job!

1up (author)2010-04-05

Nice! This would be even cooler if you combined it with this Instructable to make it mains compatible.

Chromatica (author)1up2010-04-07

Hey dude, haven't seen you in awhile.

1up (author)Chromatica2010-04-07

What do you mean?

Chromatica (author)1up2010-04-08

I don't see your comments as much.

TorinMiasma (author)2010-04-08

This single project just struck a chord that reverberated through my brain... I'm mixing and matching ideas and instructables. I just want to thank you for giving me a new need to create. Just finished my first attempt with this. Awesome.

If you have any questions just let me know.

Good luck with you project.

kcls (author)2010-04-07

Excellent 'ible! It creates a very warm and pleasing looking light.

slayer_x911 (author)2010-04-06

 5* and faved :)

Chromatica (author)slayer_x9112010-04-07


Arbitror (author)2010-04-06

Whoa, this looks amazing! I just got some 10mm orange LED for a project, so I think I'll try this too! Great job on the 'ible!

quincentopolis (author)2010-04-06

Amazing!  I saw this on the homepage and literally said out loud, "I MUST HAVE IT!"

Bramael (author)2010-04-06

Crystal power!  Excellent project.  You could even have alternating lights, instead of three similar lights have three different colored super LED's.  Fun.

noahw (author)2010-04-05

I like this very much as well.  There's something curiously pleasing about it...perhaps its kryptonite like "special glow".

Random_Canadian (author)noahw2010-04-05

Man, that would have been great!  I never actually thought of putting green in for the kryptonite look. Now I am toying with the idea of a remake...

brainwise (author)2010-04-05

I gotta say, I'm a fan of this project.

I am surprised that I didn't do something like this sooner. Thanks

About This Instructable



Bio: Bit of a background in various electrical and mechanical fields, obscure sense of humour and typically willing to help...
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