Introduction: Exploding Sun Lamp Design

Picture of Exploding Sun Lamp Design

Last summer I made the first version of the exploding sun lamp and I got a lot of good feedback for my design.. Since then I have made a few different types of designs and with these instructions I would like to share how you can make this lamp yourself. I will try to explain as complete as possible how to create you own exploding sun. There are no limitations on how you can make this lamp. You can use a bigger sphere, more pmma optic wires, bigger size pmma optic wires, make your own unique shapes, etc. I hope you like my instructions and feel free to give me feedback or ask questions.

Step 1: The Materials

Picture of The Materials

These are the materials used for making this lamp. You can alter the amounts of optic wire, size, shape, color to your own Exploding sun.

- Styropor sphere 20 cm (consisting two halve balls)

- 120 meter pmma 0.75 mm optic wire (This you can change to your favourite size. 0.5/1/1,5 mm, This is not cheap material and prices goes up rapidly choosing a bigger size)

- 4 neodymium magnets 10mm / 5mm /4mm

-Apoxy clay (toe components)

-Dremel 4000 (Makes some parts easier. You can use hobbyknife as well)

-One second clue ( Test the glue on styropor before using it, Not all glue you can used on this material)

-Bodkin/needle (around 1 mm size)

-LED lights (out of safety reasons use only LED light. The lamp will be closed and you do NOT want to overheat it)

For this project i bought a LED light with a remote control which enables me to choose 15 different colors.

-Lamp socket


-Acrylic paint oker yellow (I use waterbased paint. Styropor does not react good on chemical types of paint.)

-Hobby knife

- A marker

- A Scissor

Step 2: Creating the Hole for the Lamp Socket

Picture of Creating the Hole for the Lamp Socket

One on side of the 20 cm ball I drew a circle where the lamp socket is going to be. I outlined the circle by using a lamp socket. I used the hobby knife for cutting it out. Then I placed the lamp socket and made the outline for the perfect fit. The last part in making the hole for which I used my dremel for cutting away the four edges for the best possible fit of the lamp socket.

Step 3: Placing the Lamp Socket

Picture of Placing the Lamp Socket

After the hole is made check if the lamp socket actually fits and sticks out on the inside. You want the best spot for the LED light, so that the lamp stays in place and the light from the led light covers all sides.

Step 4: Making the Holes in the Styropor Bol

Picture of Making the Holes in the Styropor Bol

With the bodkin/needle I pressed through the styropor to create little holes where in a later stage I pressed the pmma optic wire trough. The bodkin/needle I used is slightly bigger then then 0.75 mm needed for the optic wires. The styropor expands after pressing the holes so it will be a good fit. The lamp socket I left in so that I could see where to start making holes in the ball. Both sides of the ball I pierced trough with the bodkin/needle. I placed the holes in a choatic way in the lamp in order to create a random effect. On the edges make sure you don't make holes. The two sides should fit perfectly on each other so that's why this small part of the sphere should not be filled with pmma optic wire.

Step 5: Measuring Where to Place the Magnets

Picture of Measuring Where to Place the Magnets

For my lamp I decided to use magnets. I wanted to make it a lamp that hangs on the ceiling where you can take one part off to replace the light or have more light shining in the room. For a standing light you won't need magnets. I decided to go for 4 magnet; two on each half of the ball. The nyodynium magnets I used are very strong and each magnet can hold up to 2.4 kg. For this lamp it works perfectly. Make sure you won't overdo it with the magnets. Test how it work and if necessary add more magnets. That would be better than tearing your lamp apart.

I measured roughly where the centrepoint was on both sides. Then I placed the magnets and outlined the place which I have to cut out. To ensure that the magnets will connect on both sides of the ball I placed the magnets on one half of the ball, closed it with the other half and pressed gently. This leaves a mark on the other side so you can see where to place the magnets there. Outline both sides. Make it slightly bigger than the size of the magnets so it fits with a little space left. I used the dremel to create the holes, This also can be done with a hobby knife. Make the hole slightly deeper so that the magnets do not stick out. You will fill this up in the next step.

Step 6: Placing the Magnets

Picture of Placing the Magnets

When all holes are made its time to place the magnets. I used two component apoxy clay to keep the magnets in place. When hardened it is incredibly strong and it will keep the magnets on their place. I was concerned about the power of the magnet and I expected that glue would not do it. If you do try it in a different way make sure to test it on styropor before applying. Styropor does not react well on all types of glue.

You make two balls out of component A and B and mix them together till you see only one color left. At that point it is ready to apply. Cover the outlined hole with apoxy clay and press the magnet in. Cover the magnet with a bit of apoxy clay, smooth the surface so it will not stick out. Do the same on the other half of the ball. Then let the apoxy clay harden for 6 to 8 hours. MAKE SURE THE MAGNETS ON BOTH SIDES ATTRACT EACH OTHER. It comes really precise placing the magnets so they do not repel each other. Even knowing this I did this wrong the first time so I would like to emphasise this. .

Step 7: Painting the Sphere

Picture of Painting the Sphere

Now it is time to paint the sphere. For this project i decided to go for the color yellow Ochre. In previous projects I tried black as well which gave a nice result because then it emphasized more the wires. I am using acrylic water based paint to do the job. As I mentioned before the styropor does not react well on some glue and paint, make sure you try it before applying it on the sphere. The sphere needs several layers of paint to give a smooth look. With the paint you can give the lamp its own character. After two layers I placed the sphere on a lamp socket to see how light comes through. I decided to paint the sphere with one last layer to give it a smoother look.

Step 8: Cutting and Placing the Pmma Optic Wire.

Picture of Cutting and Placing the Pmma Optic Wire.

Now comes the last and most time consuming part of the lamp. Inserting the wire into the sphere. I decided to make all different lengths of wire which I placed in a chaotic way around the sphere. I use the scissors to cut different lengths of the pmma optic wire. I decided to go for this material because it transmits up to 90% of the light to the end of the wire. Glas fibre has the same qualities but with that material you have to be very cautious not to get injured.

Step 9: Placing and Glue the Pmma Optic Wire to the Sphere

Picture of Placing and Glue the Pmma Optic Wire to the Sphere

Now comes the part where you fill all the holes with the wires. From the outside I press the wire into the sphere. From the inside I put a little bit of one second glue and press it gently back. The glue i do from the inside so it won't leaves marks on the painted parts. To speed up the process I press more wires in the same area into the sphere before I glue them and gently push them back. It works best to start on top of the sphere and work your way down to the edges of it. Use different length wires in a random way to create a burst effect.

Step 10: Hanging Your Lamp

Picture of Hanging Your Lamp

After all the hard work the most rewarding part starts; Hanging up the lamp and see the results. For the light you put in the lamp make sure you will be using a LED light bulb. They do not create the heat of old fashion lights. Since the sphere will be closed you do not want to overheat the interior of the lamp. You connect the lamp on the socket, put the LED light in and close the sphere.

Step 11: Now Enjoy Your Own Made Exploding Sun

Picture of Now Enjoy Your Own Made Exploding Sun

I hope you found my instructions for creating your own design lamp clear and valuable. I really enjoyed making this instructions. Personally I really like the LED light with remote control so you can create your own atmosphere by choosing your desired color. I am curious how you like my project. Feel free to comment, give feedback or ask questions. The lamp works very nicely for me but there is always room for improvement. Looking forward seeing people own creations on this design.

Kind regards,

Rutger Oomkes

Gronings Wild

Step 12: Variation on Exploding Sun

Picture of Variation on Exploding Sun

By using a rotating disco LED bulb inside the sphere the colors subtle change. Creating more the vibe of a universe. To create this effect the best way is to paint the sphere black. Make sure that the disco light has the space inside the sphere to rotate.


novelchip (author)2017-10-15

wow ! looks unreal !

Ace Gambit (author)2017-06-23

This is so cool! Congrats on getting first place!

increddibelly (author)2017-06-22

I'm using the same globes as you - There's a pippo's around here too ;)
I'm having trouble hiding the edge between the two halves. There's a really big seam on my otherwise beautiful orange / yellow / flamy sphere. What's the best way to cover it up, in your experience?

Cool that you start building this lamp! Also in my design the edge is slightly visible. When it comes to painting the balls you need to find the balance around the edges. If you overdue this the edge is darker then the rest of the lamp. In my opinion it is best to paint only one side of the balls with paint mixed with water so the light still can go trough. It comes precise and there will be a subtle difference though. When you work with black there is no issues with the edges.

marcellahella (author)2017-06-18

So beautiful!

Thank you,

PaytonB8 (author)2017-06-21

could you link the specific led disco bulb used? and is the blue light in the last picture using the original bulb or the disco bulb?

Gronings Wild (author)PaytonB82017-06-21

The blue lamp is the original led light in the brightest blue mode. the closest lamp is the disco light. I used a cheap disco led light i bought at the action. These you can find and buy on the internet.

38ren (author)2017-05-02

It came out gorgeous :)

I wonder if you press the remote to make it a colder color, would it look like an exploding moon? Also one could make an entire mini exploding solar system!

Voted btw

Gronings Wild (author)38ren2017-05-03

Thank you 38ren.The colder color i used is blue. it looks then more like a solar system. Maybe by using a dimmer you be able to create more moon a like. On my first design i use the color black. this works very nice with a rotating disco light. this results more in a solar system. will try to upload a video.

38ren (author)Gronings Wild2017-05-03

Cool to know, I'll look forward to watching the video if you post one

Gronings Wild (author)38ren2017-05-04

I added a last step to my instruction showing a alternative and a video. The colors are hard to see on the camera. I keep trying. :)

38ren (author)Gronings Wild2017-06-08

Congratulations on first place!! :)

Gronings Wild (author)38ren2017-06-08

Thank you!! I am so excited. :) All the new possibilities. :) thank you for the support!

mrw122015 (author)2017-06-03

That is so amazing!! Great Job!

StavrosK4 (author)2017-05-18

This is amazing. Really beautiful.

How you managed the wires that pointing upwards or horizontally, to keep their direction. Do they bend down after some time ?

Gronings Wild (author)StavrosK42017-05-18

Thank you StavrosK4, The pmma fibers of 0,75 mm stay in place really nice, They are strong enough to keep pointing up. The ones i bought for this project were wired around a cylinder of 20 cm. The wires have the bend of the cylinder. Once i bought pmma fibers on a small cylinder and they stay in that curve. Good to check which curve the fiber has.

ThirdEarthDesign (author)2017-05-14

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Great build. Kudos to you, Sir :-)

much appreciated. thank you.

deluges (author)2017-05-11

This is truly stunning

Gronings Wild (author)deluges2017-05-13

Thank you for the nice compliment.

mlduffy (author)2017-05-04! TFP

Gronings Wild (author)mlduffy2017-05-04

Thank you. What does TFP means?

mlduffy (author)Gronings Wild2017-05-11

"T.hanks F.or P.osting"

michaela181 (author)2017-05-04

Great design. Simple, easy, cheap, Diy and beautifully lamp ~_*

Thank you. Only the pmma wires are not cheap. Cheaper when you by them in bulk.

redkcir (author)Gronings Wild2017-05-04

I use fiber optic Christmas trees as a source for fiber. After Christmas 4 and 5 foot trees sell for as little as $5 or $10 at our Walmart, so I try and buy a few. It does take a little work to take them apart, but you get a lot of materiel for the effort. Some times you can find fiber "hair extensions" after Halloween that are pretty cheap, but the trees are your best bet.

Gronings Wild (author)redkcir2017-05-05

That is a good advice. Do they have the same quality as pmma optic fibre?

redkcir (author)Gronings Wild2017-05-06

Maybe not, but they have been good enough for my projects. Sadly at present I have no pictures for them as I have given away all of them. We made a lighted picture and I made a fairy wand as well as a big fiber lamp with them (think this - Once unwrapped the fibers are various lengths from short to about two feet, which have been great for my use. An added plus is the base has color changing LEDs you can reuse to light some of your stuff. They have ab adapter, but can be run on batteries.

LaserDave (author)2017-05-05

@Gronings Wild

is one of the most creative and visually-striking uses of light and
fiber-optics!! An improved, modernised version of the early 70's
fiber-optic lamps that used a vertical spray of fibers mounted to a
base, forming a mushroom shape, which was a guilty pleasure for many
people. I think the nostalgia factor also contributes to its grand
appeal. Terrific job!!

If you don't mind, however, I'd like to
contribute a few tips for your readers (and maybe for yourself) that
will give you even better results!!

[] - Verify that the
remote-controlled LED bulb you choose doesn't use an infrared (IR)
line-of-site technique for controlling the bulb, it won't see the signal
from inside the sphere. There are Bluetooth and Wi-Fi versions that
work well, some of them from a Smartphone app.

[] - Avoid using
Superglue (CyanoAcrylate) to hold the fibers in place, it produces
vapours as it cures that can leave a thin, cloudy film. Fiber ends rely
on clarity for maximum light to enter the fiber, but this film can block
light and affect overall brightness. A great alternative is clear RTV
silicone tinted with a tiny bit of acrylic paint which will cure in just
a few minutes. This can open up other creative opportunities for the
colours at the base of each fiber.

[] - Since the profile of
the fiber ends are what dictates the amount of light that gets in,
there are several techniques that can be used to allow much more light
to enter.

1 - Squarely cleave the end of the fiber with a razor
blade or hobby knife to make a clean, flat surface. Clipping the fiber
will give pinched, squished ends.

2 - Add surface area to the
end by *gently* heating the plastic (or glass) with hot air to produce a
slight "blob", or lens. This works well for the other end too,
increasing the size of the glowing "dot". (This technique requires

3 - Have the fiber ends begin as close to the bulb surface as possible.

for the long-winded post, I wanted to provide tips that can be used for
this and any hobby. Great project, and beautiful results!!

Cheers from Canada!!

Gronings Wild (author)LaserDave2017-05-05

Thank you LaserDave. I really appreciate your feedback. Nice to see ways to improving this design.

I will look into RTV silicone for the connection of the pmma fibres. The superglue i tried to apply almost at the end of the fibre so it does not the effect the lighting. I like to see your way applied to see how that works on the exploding sun.

The remote I use I do not have to remove the sphere it self. However I have to stand within a meter of the lamp to change color. Would be nice to be able to change from your seat.

I have tried before to create a blob/lens on the pmma fibre. It does come really precise. Easy to overheat the fibre. Maybe a hot knife?

The fibre works very good in the white inside of the sphere. The white reflects the light very well. I personally don't think it is necessary to get the wires more close to the light bulb though. What is your thought?

Once again. Thank you for your very detailed feedback. Much room for improvement.

LaserDave (author)Gronings Wild2017-05-05

Thank YOU for the kind words regarding my feedback. I wanted to clarify that the hints and techniques I offered were "take home" tips that can be used for this or any application.

The RTV silicone mixed with acrylic paint is a trick I use almost everyday for a variety of things from colour-coding wires, to colour-matching pieces of a repair. The sky is the limit with this idea and I know it would be a valuable tidbit for anyone to have in their "Cerebral Toolbox". If you mix the silicone with a little corn starch powder, you get a quick-setting, flexible white putty that can be molded by hand with a million uses. Mixing in a tiny bit of colour, then spreading the translucent silicone into a thin film, a type of "rubber stained glass" is perfect as a sleeve to slip over small light bulbs to change their colour for lighting up control switches or the instrument panel in a car.

The other recommendations regarding the super glue, controls for the LED bulb, preparing the ends of the fibers, and having them closer to the bulb... were directed mainly toward readers who might be doing this project and need a boost, they may not have a white background. Your results look great so these tips don't really apply to this project, but may be handy for future creations.

I've seen many people accidentally ruin optical parts from the stray superglue vapours, I've done it myself, yet it's a hazard many people are unaware of. Readers may now prevent ruining many hours of work.

Again, things like 'lensing' the ends of the fiber take practice, patience and also depends on the type of fiber. A hot knife could certainly make a clean flat on the end of plastic fiber, but glass may need to be held at a controlled distance over a small flame to get it just right. I've used this technique with glass and plastic fibers for years with various applications using lasers and LEDs. (Several were 50um, thinner than a human hair)

Great job with your project, I've been admiring the photos ever since!!

jferva (author)2017-05-04

Amazing! Love it!

Gronings Wild (author)jferva2017-05-05

Thank you.

jfuredy (author)2017-05-04

Did you really use 120 meters of fiber optics on this build?!? That seems like an awful lot.

Gronings Wild (author)jfuredy2017-05-05

I used fibre of all different sizes. from 5 cm to almost 80cm. I think I pierced up to 1000 holes in the sphere. that is on average not even 10 cm a hole. one lamp i made i used a sphere of 25 cm and i used 300 meter of optic fibre. You need allot to create a cool effect.

JuanG137 (author)2017-05-04

Amazing, simple, at least something i can make

gurrz (author)2017-05-04

This looks really neat. Voted 4 you & will make it soon. :-)

Does the bulb not getting really hot in a heat reflecting environment like a styropor ball?

Gronings Wild (author)gurrz2017-05-04

Hey Gurrz, Thank you for the vote. The inside won't get hot as long you will be using LED lights. I made this lamp first last September and it has been used since. Especially in the beginning i checked often but the light bulb and stryropor sphere were not getting hot. I do advice to check the LED lights how warm it gets.

tipigeon (author)2017-05-04

That looks AWESOME! Especially for how simple it is!

bearbbit (author)2017-05-04

Finally!! Something that "I" can make, with parts that I can understand and easily find on-line. Most, if not all, of the 'ibles, are way too difficult for me to endeavor. Thanks for including the 'least of us'!!

Gronings Wild (author)bearbbit2017-05-04

Hahaha. I know! I have no technical background myself and could not reproduce most of the creative project i see on instructables.. In that sense i am part of the least. :) Curious about your result.

JPod (author)2017-05-04

Truly a beautiful work of art, that is also functional. I have to say, "awesome" is the best description of lamp. Your instruct-able is well done, and easy to understand. Nice job all around. Three thumbs up out of two.;-)

Gronings Wild (author)JPod2017-05-04

That is a awesome compliment. Thank you so much. Three thumbs back. :)

timbazi (author)2017-05-04

Really awesome. I'll definitely make one someday

Gronings Wild (author)timbazi2017-05-04

Thank you Timbazi. Looking forward on your version.

AshwinC6 (author)2017-05-04

Great looking. Alas, perhaps some site selling Styropor sphere of 20 cm and optic wire, I could have made it outright ! But I would vote for you!

Gronings Wild (author)AshwinC62017-05-04

Thanks Ashwin, My design is indeed easy to make and i hope my instructions help people further in making and improving this design. Sometimes beauty lies in simplicity. :)

brmarcum (author)2017-05-02

That's really cool. Nice design.

Gronings Wild (author)brmarcum2017-05-03

Thank you. And not to hard to make yourself.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a silicone jewelry designer located in Amsterdam. My true passion is creating functional art. At this moment my favorite materials are silicone, plexiglas ... More »
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