Introduction: Film Canister LED Flashlight

Picture of Film Canister LED Flashlight

In this Instructable I will show you how to make a flashlight out of an old, 35mm, film canister and some ultra-bright LEDs!
You don't need to spend 10$ on a flashlight that isn't even that bright. For 4$ or less, depending what you have lying around the home, you can make a really bright LED flash light. Its got for camping or just for back yard fun.
This flashlight is easy to make,looks cool and most importantly, effective!

Step 1: Components

Picture of Components

You aren't going to need many components for this project.

1. 4x Ultra-bright, white LEDs (picture 2)

2. Film canister

3. Push switch

4. 3V coin cell battery

5. some wire (I used telephone wire)

Step 2: Tools

Picture of Tools


1. Wire cutter

2. Wire insulation stripper

3. Soldering Iron

4. Solder

5. Electrical tape

6.Scissors whit pointy edges (or a needle)

7.Something to make a hole for the push switch (I used a drill that fit the diameter of my switch)

Step 3: Lets Get Started

Picture of Lets Get Started

OK, you got the parts, you got the tools, lets get started!

Make small holes on the cap of the film canister whit the scissors or the needle, two on every side, so the LED will go trough.

Step 4: Soldering

Picture of Soldering

Cut out 8 pieces of wire(like in picture 1) and strip the insulation on the ends.

The LEDs are connected in parallel, that means that all the negative (shorter) sides are connected together and all the positive (longer) sides are connected together.
Take the wire and solder it on the LEDs. One by one connect two same sides (longer whit longer shorter whit shorter) whit wires and solder them.(picture 2,3,4 and 5)

Don't cut all the end of the LEDs, leave two, one positive (long) and one negative (short) (picture 6)

Test it. Take the 3V coin cell battery and put it on the leads in correct manner. If all is good so far the LEDs should lite up.(picture 7 and 8)

On one lead of the LED solder a longer wire. Strip a bit more of the insulation on the oposite side and bend ti. (picture 9 and 10)

Step 5: Switch

Picture of Switch

Take the switch and cut out two longer pieces of wire.(picture 1)

Strip off the insulations on the end. On the end of one wire strip a bit more of the insulation and bend the un-insulated wire. (picture 2 )

Solder the wire from the switch to the remaining lead.(picture 4 and 5)

Step 6: Battery

Picture of Battery

The two end of the wire that we bended (picture 1) connect to the battery.
Connect them to the battery whit the electrical tape (picture 2) and your circuit is done!(picture 3)
Test it by pushing the switch, if all is good the LEDs should lite up.

Step 7: Make the Hole for the Switch

Picture of Make the Hole for the Switch

On the film canister make a hole for the switch. You can use a drill or anything that can make a whole.

Step 8: Put It All Togother

Picture of Put It All Togother

Now put it all together. Put the switch trough the hole, put the battery in the canister and close it all up.

Step 9: Done!

Picture of Done!

You are done!!!
You have built your own ultra bright LED film canister flash light!!!

Thanks for reading, place leave a comment and don't forget to rate!


RajanR6 (author)2016-02-17

How long the battery will last ?

If i try using Nokia 3.6v Li-ion battery, then what should i change in circuit ?

HasnainI (author)2015-09-22

NIce DIY !!How long the battery will supply? ?

marcelo2133 (author)2015-05-26

larry.rivard made it! (author)2015-01-06

I made a variation of this. I used a 3X AAA Battery holder I had a spare of. since 3 AAAs outputs 4.5 volts I used some 56 ohm resistors on the negative side of the LEDS. So they were set up in parallel rather than In series. Thanks for the great idea, your film canister flashlight was inspiring.

mommywoman (author)2014-08-23

Now this is something I could actually make (I'm a woman). I know how to use a lot of power tools, I've made furniture, but I've never souldered, so I think I'll have my husband actually show me how to do it. I've seen other people do it and it looks pretty easy. I already have everything but the battery. Speaking of batteries, how long will a battery last. I'm thinking I could use this in luminaries.

ibrahimabbasi (author)2013-05-10

nice portable led light

heretolearn98 (author)2011-06-04

what do you mean that all negative (shorter) sides are connected, and positive (longer) sides are connected? you mean i trim the LED ends a certain way?

fretted (author)heretolearn982012-12-14

The legs of the LED'S are already cut short and long some brands you have to look close to see the difference !

Marri81 (author)2012-11-04

This is perfect for my cubs' engineering achievement! They will love this. Thanks so much!

npendleton1 (author)2011-09-03

I'm using this for a cub scout project. Could a salvage an old string of LED Christmas lights?

Krz (author)2010-10-31

wow, this is great! Very clever use of the film canister.
I'll change the bright LEDs for red light ones, and it will be a charm for using in the photography dark room. (or maybe just use bright white ones with a film over them)

acosicris (author)2010-08-06

good job! I like the simplicity!

comodore (author)acosicris2010-08-22

Thank you!

StarkIndustries (author)2010-02-05

I would so make this! but my dad won't let me use his soldering iron. =(

comodore (author)StarkIndustries2010-02-06

Well, maybe you can make it with your father...
He can solder all the connections...  :)

NicOmbra (author)2009-12-16

 This might make me sound like I don't know where anything is (correctly), but where can you buy a push switch?

comodore (author)NicOmbra2009-12-17

IN your local electronic shop like RadioShack...or some other shop that sells electronic components...

NicOmbra (author)comodore2009-12-21


komecake (author)2009-10-24

  O__O... I love this website. Seriously. I've been on here like 2 days and I've already made so much stuff that I would have spent SO MUCH money on. This is a great one, thanks.

comodore (author)komecake2009-10-29

Great that you love Instructables and my Instructables!  :D

photogirlmim (author)2009-10-01

Having my son make this as a cub scout project... Thanks!

comodore (author)photogirlmim2009-10-02

:D Just knowing that some one is also making these makes my day! Thanks! :)

MADAVEEN (author)2009-08-20

i made one out of a pill case...thanx for the idea...

comodore (author)MADAVEEN2009-08-28

Cool! Can you please upload some pics of it! I think everyone would like to see it! :)

Jake Morton (author)2009-07-23

can some one tell me what happened to the comments here

The Nate Dawg (author)2008-04-24

Lets do. If this goes over 2 days without another post, I'll post something random

I'll send one sooner. Can't get much smaller, right?

teehee, that was random too

reeding (author)ranger_steve2008-04-24

ha this all started because of me

metal_flowboard (author)reeding2008-04-24

we broke past the right side margin!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets see how far over we can get it!

reedz (author)The Nate Dawg2008-04-24

Hmm, this shold be a collaboration on how to totally distract people from others' instructables.

The Nate Dawg (author)reedz2008-04-24

how many more comments until we break the record?

reedz (author)The Nate Dawg2008-04-24

Well what exactly IS the record? We need to know that first, and then create a group for all of us who commented to break the record.

blugyblug (author)reedz2008-04-24

Wow this is pretty fun. Lets just post some random stuff Yesterday I was at my school sport carnival and i was coming second last. This other weirdo was coming last but we were like side by side. Suddenly he screamed 'LETS DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!' in a Super Saiyan voice from Dragonball Z and suddenly we were going at like 100km/h and we both crashed into a girl eating a banana. The banana got runover by a train but the girl cried because she couldnt feel her tongue, so she couldnt talk.

blugyblug (author)blugyblug2008-04-24


reedz (author)blugyblug2008-04-24

Oh my gosh...that was a messed up story. So I was walking in the woods with my friends, and we come upon this hobo who is just sitting there minding his own business. We watched him for an hour...just sitting there....sitting sitting sitting..... after some careful decision making we created a fire ring all around him and slowly blew it in using hair dryers and chinese paper fans. By the time it got small enough to burn the homeless man we looked up...and he was gone!

blugyblug (author)reedz2008-04-25

I SAW THE EXACT SAME HOBO. He looked kinda burnt but still alive. He was screaming around that these people were shoving pieces of paper into the ground around him. Another hobo came up to him and said the exact same thing happened to him. So i was like "wtf?" A 3rd hobo came and a lightbulb popped out of his eye. Everyone freaked out, because an ENERGY SAVING lightbulb popped out of his other eye. People were going around screaming HIPPIE HES A HIPPIE. Every1 ran off, people called the police, people panicked, people hugged their loved ones, people hugged their mobile phones. They all thought it was the end of the world when HOLEH FUDGE ITS DOCTOR WHO appeared. SGHGHHREREWWWW... SGFHHEWWWWW.... SGHHWEWWWWW.... To be continued

reedz (author)blugyblug2008-04-25

*sighs* This is great. I hate to be greedy, but I want a t-shirt for this.

reedz (author)reedz2008-04-25

OH NOOOOOOO! I'm the first one to get kicked off the original page. *tear*

The Nate Dawg (author)reedz2008-04-25

This is so crazy! So, Comodore, how do you feel about this long, random, list of comments?

We have 40 of the 90 comments! Virtual High Five!

41 now!

we should start a recordbook of insructables with the most comments or something.

the torch the instructable is about is pretty cool tho, to put the initial subject back into things only problem i can think of is that you don't find many film canisters anymore but looking around my desk i can see other boxes and pots it could be adapted too nice one!

jongscx (author)metal_flowboard2008-04-25

Well, it doesn't have to be a film-canister... I bet you could make a "pen-light" out of an old empty sharpie and use watch batteries...and a single LED in the tip...

reeding (author)jongscx2008-04-25

or you could smack a baby with a pound and 3/26 of bacon

gamer (author)reeding2008-04-25

That should teach me to shut my mouth next time someone makes an error, but I know I'm not going to, I'll just keep on correcting the errors... Anyways... How many comments are we at? -gamer ps. I received an e-mail from the Instructables Robot saying "You have 5 new comments"... Funny enough, the biggest I've ever got was 4, lol, record!!

reedz (author)gamer2008-04-25

Yeah I got the e-mail for five also. First time here.

reeding (author)reedz2008-04-25

I got like 25 saying i had new comments

About This Instructable




Bio: ______________________ One of my favorite inventors, and one of the most brilinat minds that ever walked ... More »
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