Instructables
Picture of Fiber Optic LED Dandelion Lamp
d1.jpg
d3a.jpg
d3b.jpg
There are those times when the world is so luminous and beautiful, times when you find yourself mesmerized by the huge sky filled with stars, or the infinite universe in little pods and thistles.

This ambient wall lamp is inspired by the beauty of nature and magic of light. It’s made with very common materials and simple tools. I wanted to make something that looks nice even when it’s not lit, and easy to change light bulbs also. This is my first time working with fiber optics, LEDs & circuits, it’s an experience of learning through doing, and there will be a lot of beginner’s discoveries shared here.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials and tools

Picture of Materials and tools
This wall lamp is a half sphere composed of drinking straws and optical fibers, held together by a cardboard 'slices of orange' structure, and back-lit with different groups of color LEDs.

The following amount of materials will be enough to make a half sphere of 14” diameter. If you want to make a bigger sphere, consider that the surface area is calculated by the formula 4x3.14xRxR.  Thus the amount of materials will increase proportionally.

300+ feet of 0.75mm end glow optical fibers: I ordered a sample pack of various sizes first. I find the 0.25mm too thin to work with, and the glow tips are really small. The 0.5mm and 0.75mm fibers are great for craft projects like this and star ceilings. When it gets to 1mm and up, the fibers get more rigid, although the glow tips gets bigger. This is the only material here that's not easily found in local stores. One way is to purchase it online from places like http://thefiberopticstore.com/, or buy 1 or 2 UFO lamps and cut the fibers off.
5mm LEDs in white, pink, & blue. (3) of each colors: I learned a lot about LEDs from this great instructable (thank you noahw!)  http://www.instructables.com/id/LEDs-for-Beginners/ .  A LED voltage varies by the color of the LED. Since these will be in a parallel circuit(more on it later) powered by (2) AA batteries , and they all happen to be 3.0v to 3.4v, there will be no need for resistors.
Around (300) 9”drinking straws: I chose plastic straws because of their translucent quality. These happen to be bendable, but that’s not necessary.
White card board, I used some ultra-rigid white mailers: this will be used to build the inner structure of the half sphere, and the enclosure of the circuit. White looks almost invisible behind the straws.
(2) AA rechargeable or regular batteries, and a 2-AA battery holder wired in series: If you use a battery holder wired in parallel, it will still work here. The lights will be less bright.
A SPST rocker switch : a simple on-off switch. SPST stands for ‘single pole, single throw’.
22 gauge hookup wire and pliers to strip the wires: 2 different colors make it easier to see the circuit
Lead free solder and soldering iron: a really nice article here explaining lead free solder in detail- http://hackaday.com/2008/05/22/how-to-go-green-with-lead-free-solder/
(4) 1” brass fasteners and (2) metal paper clips: I got inspired by this(thank you matt.e.jenkins!) http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Simple-Circuit-from-a-Pizza-Box-No-Solder/ and decided to try it by adding a switch to play with colors of the LEDs
Electrical tape
3’ of 12 lb-test monofilament fishing line: for building the inner structure & hanging the lamp. It looks identical to the optical fibers, so keep them apart to avoid confusion
A mini glue gun and 3 sticks of all purpose hot glue
Scissors, box cutter or exacto knife, circle templates or compass, some clips, velcro, some white tape
shazni1 year ago
This is beautiful!...i'm surprised i never saw it before! I came to this page from another site!
blissful2015 (author)  shazni1 year ago
thank you shanzi! i love your ironwork and pendant too! =)
J-Five1 year ago
One word COOL!!!!!!!!!!
blissful2015 (author)  J-Five1 year ago
cool! =) thanks! =)
Congratulations on the win! That's an awesome DIY lighting project!!
blissful2015 (author)  flyingpuppy1 year ago
thank you so much flyingpuppy! =)
belsey1 year ago
Love the light, the idea, the photos, and how you show your source of inspiration, in nature and in other instructables. Plus I completely relate to the desire to make something involving electronics yet feeling too intimidated to start... I've a bunch of leftover fiberoptic stands stuffed in the back of my closet -- you've inspired me to just go ahead and use them!
blissful2015 (author)  belsey1 year ago
thanks much & have fun!! =)
Shmarte1 year ago
Im like is very beautiful.
Very creative and attractive piece of living art. Very well written ible, I appreciate how it flows while being very detailed. Also the sense of wonder and appreciation for the beauty of the cosmos that you convey in the first two sentences is contagious. :)
blissful2015 (author)  technovative1 year ago
thank you techno! admire your star trek light-ible too! your brilliant LED reflector will be copied in my future project! =)
Summer Rain1 month ago

how long does this take?

autocthon1 year ago
You do have me confused: two AAA in parallel is still 1.5 volts, you have to do them in series to sum the voltages, Your led's are in parallel, also. If they were in series it would be neg. to pos all down the chain. Your's are all positives together and all negatives together, like a household circuit
blissful2015 (author)  autocthon1 year ago
the 2 AA battery holders can come in series or parallel. if it's a parallel, the lights won't be as bright as you said it would be 1.5v output. and yes the leds are in parallel here. hope that helps =)

That's not so simple. In parallel, you've got 1.5V with twice the intensity available for 1 battery. As there's no resistor, the over current is absorbed by Leds and battery, reducing their lives. With batteries in serie, you'll have 3V, you can say "bye bye" to your Leds as they gonna burn after a couple of hours.

Aaaaaawwwwwwssssssssooooooommmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kalistrike1 year ago
So lets say I wanted mine to be relatively daylight usable like the old carny pixie wands...what should i be looking for in a LED?
blissful2015 (author)  Kalistrike1 year ago
hi !
if i understood correctly that you are asking about the brightness of LEDs - the amount of light the bulb gives off is measured in lumens, which should be available where you buy the LEDs.

my knowledge is quite limited though, so do some testing! =)
gutem1 year ago
The inspiration come from a Orange, but the photo is a Tangerine...
Love the look of the finished product. Wasn't sure what would come of using cardboard and straws. Very elegant and pleasing. Thank you
blissful2015 (author)  Wild_Bill491 year ago
thank you =)
mikey771 year ago
Nicely done.

Elegant structure.

Beautiful glow.

Why not take it to the next level?
blissful2015 (author)  mikey771 year ago
yes now i'm excited to learn more about circuits and create movements and songs! =)
Suizezem1 year ago
Im just working with some fiber optic on another project and hopefully there will be some leftovers =) This one is really nice.

Really good work =)
blissful2015 (author)  Suizezem1 year ago
thank you & look forward to see your project suize =)
craftyv1 year ago
I love this lamp and admire your work unfortunately I have no experience with Led lighting etc. so can't try it. Well done.
blissful2015 (author)  craftyv1 year ago
thank you!
if you don't want to wire LEDs just use a small bundle of led christmas lights =)
kostya1 year ago
Awesome project! Will fishing line work in this project instead of optic fibers? It is difficult to find them here/
blissful2015 (author)  kostya1 year ago
thank you! =)

suize's right- fishing line won't conduct light like optic fibers. if you search on amazon for "fiber optic ufo lamp' they are under $10 =)
Fishing line will not work instead of Fiber Optic. A good way to find some is either to buy 2nd hand items with fiber optics or buy cheap items with it.

For example like this one. http://prosites-lottofun9.homestead.com/files/fiberlamp2.jpg

I got some really cheap of theese for a project Im on, mine have around 30 cm length so would probably work as well for a project like this.
Nice work! and your first instructable is a featured one too!
blissful2015 (author)  awesomecreations1 year ago
thank you and really appreciate your creative jellyfish too! =)
Thanks!
That's pretty clever and it looks cheap enough to make yourself. Well done!