Picture of Giant hot glue LEDs- I made it at TechShop
Sometimes you just want some really big LEDs! It's no problem to go out and buy some that are slightly larger than your standard 5mm LED, but if it's something larger that you desire for a project then the quick and easy solution is, as always, hot glue. It's a fairly straightforward and inexpensive process, with the possible exception of finding an appropriately-shaped ice cube tray for the casting process. The LEDs look quite cool when lit up and add personality to any projects that have exposed lighting.

I made this project over at TechShop (
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
2013-05-19 18.50.45.jpg
This is a pretty cheap process, which is great because these giant LEDs can be easily mass produced.

List of materials:

1 5mm (or larger) LED
Corn/vegetable oil
1 ice cube tray- I used this one specifically because of its shape and the rubber bottom that allows you to easily poke the LED out, but any old ice cube tray will work if you're willing to use a knife or similarly small object to pry the glue out.
Hot glue/hot glue gun
1 X-Acto knife
1 paper towel

Step 2: Preparing the ice cube tray

Picture of Preparing the ice cube tray
The obvious problem that comes up with any sort of hot glue casting is that, being an adhesive, once it grabs onto something it will let go only begrudgingly. If you just dump a bunch of hot glue into the tray you'll have a heck of a time trying to retrieve it- believe me. That's why it's necessary to lubricate the surface with something slick- corn oil in this case, as it's easy to wash off- so that removing the final product is as painless as possible. Just dampen a paper towel in the oil and go to town!

I make sure to use an extremely liberal amount of corn oil; too little and you might find yourself in trouble. Again, speaking from experience.