Turn an ordinary umbrella into something whimsical and magical. The Electric Umbrella will glow with many pinpoints of light. Carry the sun and the stars with you at night! Perfect for night-time strolls through the countryside or just being silly. And it's dimmer adjustable so you can set how bright you want to be - anywhere from dim ambient light for strolling in the dark to carrying your own portable supernova beacon of light!
Step 1: What You Need
The things that you need may be found through some combination of local stores, electronics parts shops, online and scrounging parts from old electronic junk you may have lying around.
Parts & Equipment:
-One umbrella, preferably light colored (I picked yellow), with a straight handle and with a hollow shaft so that you may pass wires through it. It is very important that the umbrella be simple - none of that spring loaded-automatic stuff! You want the shaft to be hollow.
-64 SMD (surface mount) LEDs in your color of choice. The actual size does not matter except that smaller will look more invisible (preferable) but will be more difficult to work with. I used size 805 (2mm wide) 3.5V white LEDs. White, blue, UV & some greens require 3.5 Volts and won't require additional resistors on each LED, but 1.8V LEDs (red, yellow, green) do (more trouble!)
-A spool of thin single strand, lacquered copper wire. Thin enough to be almost invisible against the umbrella, but thick enough to withstand the occasional stresses/snags. This is what the SMD LEDs will be soldered onto.
-3AA battery holder, preferably compact and arranged in an L shape, as the batteries will have to lie over the umbrella's shaft. 3AAA batteries would work well too, and are more compact, but won't last as long.
-Normal plastic coated multi-strand copper wire, preferably the kind that will not break easily after repeated flexing.
-One 750 Ohm variable resistor with built-in on/off switch for dimming and turning the umbrella on & off.
-Needle and thread (of the same color as the umbrella)
-Solder and Soldering iron/gun
-Wire cutters, wire strippers, scissors, x-acto knife
-Drill and drill bits
-Large board and small nails, to be used for laying out the wires and soldering the SMD LEDs onto the wires.
-Masking tape and double sided tape/carpet tape
-Clear epoxy or Glue, super-glue