Picture of Hot Glue LED Diffusion

What would I do without LEDs and hot glue? They are integral components to nine tenths of my projects. Well, while I was working on my first instructable I noticed that the LEDs I'd hot glued onto the wires kind of made the translucent glue glow a bit. I thought to myself, "What would happen if I put the glue on the focus end?" And so, this instructable was born.

Usually when I'm diffusing a "Water Clear" LED I grab the sandpaper and go to town, but this works just as well if size isn't a problem, and looks better in the end.

***UPDATE 5/3/10:  Hey, if you make your own Hot Glue diffused LED project and post some pictures in the comments section, I'll give you a patch!***

Step 1: Gather materials

Picture of Gather materials
Okay, this is the hard part! You'll need:

1. LEDs
2. Hot glue sticks (low temp or multi-temp)
3. Hot glue gun

Man, that was hard. I got tired just writing that exhaustive list. You may also want some sort of breadboard, some resistors, maybe a thumbtack and a couple of toothpicks. If you're reading this, you probably already have all of those things.
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Looks like I'm five years late with my comments but glad I found this! Yours is a very cool idea that I'll play with later - what I was looking for was reassurance that gluing fine glitter to LED xmas lights wouldn't cause a meltdown... (I have a string I use on the mantle that has too harsh a bulb, I'm thinking the glitter would subdue the light and leave a ...more sedate? subtle? ...sparkle. Any thoughts? (Elsewhere on the web i read that gluing glitter to a bulb was asking for disaster -- too stupid to contemplate (well that's me) --but LEDs are cool, right?)

I'm no expert, but as long as they're LED bulbs, you should be fine! You're right, they're cool so there shouldn't be a problem.

cool I like I. I didn't really get the point but once I saw that you were interestly shaping the led to looke amazing I started to dig it.

depotdevoid (author)  makershaker051 year ago

Thanks! It's pretty fun to play around with the shapes you can make.

Happymoose1 year ago
I am experimenting with collage/decoupage glue to see what will happen. I had to order some LEDs for throwies, but they didn't have the warm white diffused, so I tried your method, which works really great, and since mine are just going into paper lanterns, I poured some modpodge in a cup and dipped the bulb to see if that works. I love all your fancy shapes! I just needed to diffuse mine is all.
depotdevoid (author)  Happymoose1 year ago
Thanks, I'd love to see how yours turn out!
what about using resin molds with clear silicone rather than hot glue? i've made quite a few molds for use in my soap making. normally you'd make a resin mold then use that to make a silicone one, so it would be like making silicone molds over and over, each with an led in it. the silicone is going to be sturdier than the hot glue, too. hot glue tends to get brittle over time, and has a tendency to break bond with non porous surfaces when handled much. but, that can be used to your advantage, you can use a nonstick surface to help manipulate the hot glue into the shape you want, rather like when you're working with molten glass. you could also use other techniques used in glass (lampwork) bead making, like making your base shape and using another color of glue, or glue with glitter in it to add patterns of spirals or dots, etc. i'd think you can take loose glitter and sprinkle it on before the glue dries....and there are a lot of different kinds of glitter, from super fine to translucent to shapes. you could do some really fun things using large LEDs and lots of glue...make flame or flower shapes, etc. could be really fun!
What I did once was buy some of those silicone baking trays, and just pour resin straight into those. You can get some interesting shapes and come out with an easy-to-remove resin LED mold.
depotdevoid (author)  smiddenkidden5 years ago
Hmmm, I hadn't thought about this instructable in a while . . . thanks smiddenkidden, I think I may just have to revisit the idea of making molds!
aspittal4 years ago
I've been trying to think about how to add the finishing touches to a project for my daughter. I googled leds and hot glue and this came up. It is perfect for what I was thinking. Makes my idea so much better now that I've seen it. Thanks for taking the time to write this up!
depotdevoid (author)  aspittal4 years ago
Fantastic, I'm happy to hear I helped out! Please post some pictures of your project, I'd love to see what you did with it!
techturtle25 years ago
My hot glue diffusion
hot glue diffusion.bmp
depotdevoid (author)  techturtle25 years ago
Nice, thanks for sharing! Your patch is on the way!
chy5 years ago
this may have been answered already but i saw some one was trying to come up with how to mold it in the 3rd par of this link its talking about using ceramic tiles with clear embossing ink on it to work with the glue and remove it easy im sure a mold could be made this same way.
Doddity5 years ago
thanks heaps this helped alot =) im making the glowing cube instructable and didnt want to fill it with hot glue
depotdevoid (author)  Doddity5 years ago
Glad I could help magiccowy!  Which instructable are you doing?
alexanders led cube
depotdevoid (author)  Doddity5 years ago
Sweet, I'd like to see pictures when you're done.
nein1665 years ago
This is a great Instructable
Have you tried a RGB or multiple LEDs clustered into a BIG bulb?
depotdevoid (author)  nein1665 years ago
Oh, I absolutely have!  Unfortunately, I accidentally burned out one of the LEDs in my BIG RGB bulb (it was about 1 1/2" across) before I took any pictures.  You can see a smaller version at this instructable that I did a while back.
Vspec5 years ago
Nice instructable, i just used this method of diffusion on a usb powered keyboard light i made.`
depotdevoid (author)  Vspec5 years ago
Thanks Vspec, it's always gratifying to hear that someone has made use of your instructable. Do you have any pictures?
Tommyhzy6 years ago
A faster way to do this with multiple LEDs is to set up kind of like a factory - Heat up a bowl of about 20 glue sticks in a small cup Dip the LEDs in the heated glue Use alligator clips to hold the LEDs Dip more LEDs while the first batch is cooling While the second batch is cooling, shape the first batch While the first batch is finishing off cooling and hardening into a final shape, shape the 2nd batch that is somewhat tacky Wait for about 2 minutes or place in freezer for 30 seconds You're done 2 batches of LEDs!
depotdevoid (author)  Tommyhzy6 years ago
Hey, I missed your comment until just now, I think that's a great idea, have you tried it?
Of course! Back in March, of course... (:
tensiga6 years ago
about the glue not sticking to the mold after months of playing with hot glue i found out it comes of whatever u stick it on pretty easily if u pour some water on it
depotdevoid (author)  tensiga6 years ago
Good to know. I've never gotten around to trying molds myself. Do you have any pictures of your work?
nert6 years ago
"especially the part about making sure the glue doesn't stick to the mold" I was thinking PVA, but the warm temp mike make ituseless. How about a teflon spray like Elmers 'Dry Slide'
a.cowen nert6 years ago
You could use something like vaseline to coat the outside of the mould. Or if it does stick use a hot knife to cut it out, as the glue will melt again? Perhaps.
I found this.
Fired up the glue gun.
Made this.
depotdevoid (author)  websurfer12326 years ago
Nice pic, that really looks like fire!
stonechild6 years ago
I was looking for a way to encase LEDs with a glue gun. I want to build an 8 x 8 LED cube. One that I saw had the LEDs encapsulaled with glue and it looked pretty good. Now I know how to do it. Now to look to see if you've reported on molding the glue which I'd like to do. Thanks for a perfect instrcuctable.
depotdevoid (author)  stonechild6 years ago
Thanks for the comment stonechild, I'm always happy to hear my instructables have been helpful. Unfortunately, I never got around to actually using molds with the glue, but if YOU do, please put it in an instructable! I'd like to see what your cube looks like when it's done, too.
Kaze6 years ago
This is my favorite new instructable! Having the various finished photos at the end is perfect and really shows how cool of an idea this really is. Great length, easy to follow, nice photographs. Keep the guides coming!
depotdevoid (author)  Kaze6 years ago
Thanks for the feedback Kaze, I hope you get some good use out of this instructable!
Ima make a color changing glowing thing!! Ill post back with images soon
depotdevoid (author)  Zippy_Pyromaniac6 years ago
Sweet, I can't wait to see it!
camperken6 years ago
I had another thought for you. I industrial molds they use a spray called mold release. Don't remember the brand but when parts start to stick they spray the molds before the plastic is injected. Molds by the way have pins built in that push the parts out. Rubber molds I've seen the parts were just carefully pulled out but this was low volume
camperken6 years ago
I thought this was great. I'm daydreaming now about what sorts of LED lights to make. I once made a mold out of aluminum and using peanut oil to heat delrin (a plastic)) and it also lubed the mold. Maybe molding acrilic plastic. I did that once to make a new tail light for an old VW van. What about several LEDs, different colors, which would connect to different parts of some glue world. Light would flow I'd think. Have a way to vary each LEDs intensity or on-off. BUt yours is great as is
daniel!6 years ago
pretty lights cool, great idea
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