Introduction: Diffused Glue Stick Lamp

Picture of Diffused Glue Stick Lamp

Last week, I received the glue gun I ordered almost a month ago which I replaced with my older mini glue gun. The mini glue gun used thin glue sticks(7mm) whereas the new one I got used only normal sized glue sticks(10mm). So I had a whole bunch of these thin glue sticks left over, thought for a bit and decided to make a lamp from them and a few LEDs!

In this instructable I will tell you how to make your own multicolored diffused lamp. It works great as a showcase lamp for your room and is quite bright!

This cost me almost nothing as I was just reusing the glue sticks I had left over. The LEDs, switch and battery holder cost me only about 4$, but most tech enthusiasts usually have them lying around somewhere.

So if you are interested in making a diffused light lamp with glue sticks and LEDs then lets get started!

Step 1: Ideas and Design

Picture of Ideas and Design

The new glue gun I ordered had a small red LED on the back as an indicator for when its turned on and when I put in a glue stick in, the light kind of flowed through it and diffused throughout the glue stick. I found this very interesting and tried experimenting with more glue sticks and LEDs. I thought the thin glue sticks I had lying around would work great to make a lamp.

I thought about diffusing the LEDs before installing them but I found out that they work best when they are not diffused. So I would advice you not to diffuse the LEDs for this project.

About the shape, I thought I would attach the glue sticks in a straight line in an increasing order, but then I figured that they would look better if they made a curve or a semi circle.

Another thing I noticed was that some glue sticks work well in doing the diffusion but some others don't work that well, have a look at the images above to understand what I mean.

Step 2: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools


  • Battery Holder (AA) (1$) (Buy From Ebay)
  • 2 AA Batteries
  • About 6 Glue Sticks (I used 7mm glue sticks (mini))
  • 10 LEDs (RGB if possible) (2$) (Buy From Ebay)
  • Cardboard
  • 2 way Switch


  • Soldering Iron
  • Glue Gun
  • Dremel Multi-tool (Optional)

Step 3: Making the Cardboard Base

Picture of Making the Cardboard Base

Cut out 2 round pieces of cardboard of the size you desire. I printed out a circle and used it to cut out a perfect circle.

Once that is done, using a dremel or some scissors make 10 holes along the circle. Make sure the holes are just big enough for the LEDs to snugly fit in.

Attach the 2 pieces together with some hot glue as this would make the base thicker so the LEDs would fit in perfectly.

Step 4: Adding the LEDs and Connecting Them

Picture of Adding the LEDs and Connecting Them

Add all the LEDs into the holes, make sure that all the anodes are either pointing inwards or outwards and cathodes the other direction.

Bend down the leads of each LED such that they are in contact with the leads of the next LED, the image should give you a better idea. Once this is done, solder the leads together. This way you will connect all the LEDs in parallel with each other creating a common cathode and a common anode (Current is shared and voltage is the same).

Note : The LEDs I used did not need any resistors with the 2 AA batteries I was using. If the LEDs you are using need resistors then make sure you attach them first before connecting them together.

Make sure you check if all the LEDs are working after connecting them by connecting the anode to the +ve of the battery and the cathode to the -ve of the battery.

Step 5: Attaching the Glue Sticks on Top

Picture of Attaching the Glue Sticks on Top

Using either a dremel or a glue gun make a small dent on the end of the glue stick as shown in the above images, this will be glued on top of the tips of the LEDs we attached earlier.

Once that is done, you can go ahead and glue the sticks in an increasing size order on the LEDs. You can also attach the tops of the glue sticks together so the structure is rigid.

Step 6: Creating the Circuit

Picture of Creating the Circuit

The circuitry for this project is very simple. The common anode of the LEDs is connected to the +ve of the battery holder and the common cathode of the LEDs is connected to a switch which is then in-turn connected to the -ve of the battery.

The image should help with wiring the circuit.

Step 7: Battery and Switch Housing

Picture of Battery and Switch Housing

For the casing, you can print out a picture of a distant galaxy and attach it on a strip of cardboard and then attach it to the base.

Here is the image I used : Infinite Space

Cut out a small hole in the cardboard strip where you can insert the switch.

Then attach a small piece of cardboard inside the base as you can see in the pictures. Once that is done, attach the battery holder on it with some hot glue and cut out a circular piece of cardboard with a hole big enough to replace the batteries whenever needed and attach it to the base.

With this, you have made your own Glue Stick Lamp!

Step 8: What Next?

Picture of What Next?

What to do now?

  • Make a different pattern of glue sticks.
  • Add in a micro-controller for timing different LEDs on and off.
  • Use more LEDs and glue sticks for better lighting and a bigger design.

I wanted to use coin cell batteries instead of these AA batteries as they would not take up as much space as the AA batteries do. I am planning to extend the pattern by slowly decreasing the size of the glue sticks as we move along the base by adding more glue sticks. This would give us an increasing then decreasing height pattern of glue sticks with the middle being the maximum height, this would look very nice when lit up.

If you make this or any other pattern with this idea be sure to post an image in the comments below, I would be very happy to see them!


Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-06-20

Oh man!!! This is the coolest ever lamp idea I have seen recently. Great job done Vishal. A wooden base would have been ideal but I can understand the rush :D.

I also see a small on/off switch (didn't see in material list). I would love to know, how the different color is programmed in the circuit (Forgive me, I don't know about electronics much).

Thanks :D!

I missed the switch in the materials, added it now. The LEDs themselves are tri color LEDs so they automatically change color with slow time intervals, you can buy them on ebay with the link given. I too wanted to make a wooden base but I have no idea where I can get thin sheets of wood nearby and don't really have the tools needed for wood working.

See... I told ya that I don't know about electronics :D and thats OK if you don't have the wooden base. Keep it for v2.0 :D

Yea I will definitely make a v2.0 :D Extend the pattern and use wood for the base as well! I will search around a bit tomorrow for wood shops XD.

brmarcum (author)vishalapr2014-06-22

my local ace hardware has small 4'X4' sheets 1/4" plywood. Really overpriced for the size, but it would work

vishalapr (author)brmarcum2014-06-22

I searched today and I found one which sold thick sheets of wood which would be very hard to work with :(

All the best :)

Thanks :)!

AlexAndAmigos (author)2016-06-11

I made this ages ago and it is great

Yonatan24 (author)2015-12-25

Nice, Relieved to see you don't need resistors

amira123olivas (author)2015-07-07

I tryed it and it worked!!!! #awsome

mametchi (author)2015-05-26


francescapereira (author)2014-08-19

Awesome project. Check this one out on LED's

gheciobanu made it! (author)2014-07-31

I did it, very happy how it turned out! Love the project, I'm waiting to see how you will make it smaller! Thanks for a great project! :)


vishalapr (author)gheciobanu2014-08-02

That looks amazing! The colors really make it look a lot more appealing! Great job!

Thanks and glad you liked the project!!

Shellshocked (author)2014-07-28

i think this desirves a vote in the Glue Contest, its contructive and pretty easy

vishalapr (author)Shellshocked2014-07-28

Thanks! A vote will be well appreciated!

zicaMKD (author)2014-07-27

you can put them in a straight line if you use them as a VU meter ;)

vishalapr (author)zicaMKD2014-07-28

Yea and maybe red, orange and green LEDs would make a very cool VU meter :D

darklotus (author)2014-07-27

Simple and attractive! This is a use for glue sticks I wouldn't have thought of. Well done!

vishalapr (author)darklotus2014-07-28


Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-07-26

Amazing...double winner ...Congratulations!!!

I am soooo happy that I am a finalist in the glue contest and a winner of your contest :D! Thank you :D!

TrollFaceTheMan (author)2014-07-25

Makes for an awesome display.

It sure does ;)

hardlydavidson (author)2014-07-15

heyho. congrats on the win. nice work. you had to use a board with a plum pudding pic? I was so distracted. hahaha. nice effort man. not so good with led assembly but will give this a shot.

vishalapr (author)hardlydavidson2014-07-15

Thanks! Its a rather simple project! When you make it be sure to post pics of it!!

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-07-12

Congratulations for making to the finals :)

Thanks!! Its quite awesome that I am a finalist in such an awesome contest :D!

skykiur (author)2014-07-11

How long this circuit will last with 2 aa batteries

vishalapr (author)skykiur2014-07-11

It depends on what LEDs you use and what batteries you use. The one I used lasted for about 18-22 hrs approximately, I used low power LEDs and high capacity AA batteries, so it lasted this long.

gheciobanu (author)2014-07-06

Great idea! I'll do it for sure! You got my vote!

vishalapr (author)gheciobanu2014-07-06

Thanks! :) Post a pic once done!

zatransfers (author)2014-07-03

wow this looks great! Hope it will win, good luck :)!

vishalapr (author)zatransfers2014-07-03

Thanks :)! The contest has got loads of other great entries so it would be hard but worth a shot x)

goldlego (author)2014-07-01

What a clever use for glue sticks! It looks great!

vishalapr (author)goldlego2014-07-01

Thanks! :)

shazni (author)2014-06-26

This is a very nice idea :-)

vishalapr (author)shazni2014-06-26

Thanks :-)

BikeHacker (author)2014-06-25

You have my vote!

vishalapr (author)BikeHacker2014-06-25

Thanks! :)

Sembazuru (author)2014-06-24

Imagine, if you will, putting a neopixel under each glue stick and driving a light show with and arduino (or similar).

vishalapr (author)Sembazuru2014-06-24

Something like this , yea it would be awesome!

Sembazuru (author)vishalapr2014-06-25

Or some of these so you don't have to change your physical design too much. (Granted, they are each the cost of 25 regular LEDs, but much more versatile.) Sparkfun has Arduino Pro Minis for just under $10/each but I'm not sure if they carry the clear lens THT neopixels...

vishalapr (author)2014-06-25

Thanks! :D

craftzrulesO (author)2014-06-24

Neat! Would this work if we used lasers? Im not sure because they generate a lot of heat. Great work!!

vishalapr (author)craftzrulesO2014-06-24

Thanks! Not sure, I never worked with lasers before, they will probably melt the glue sticks.

ljhopkins (author)2014-06-23

a thought as the stick get taller the light still only goes up about the same.

if you were to use different voltages on each, or grouping you could increase/decrease the light. granted it would be more wiring using resistors.... but could be cool

jaybo2099 (author)ljhopkins2014-06-24

LEDS don't work that way. An LED is either off or on. There is no in between spot. By varying the voltage, you will most likely burn out the LED. They are VERY sensitive to voltage change. The way to dim an LED is by switching it off and on very quickly using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). That's where an Arduino would come in handy. They have several output pins that are setup to handle PWM.

vishalapr (author)jaybo20992014-06-24

Yes, with the arduino we could do it :D

About This Instructable




Bio: A programming enthusiast. I tinker around with everything I see and love to game.
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