An easy step by step Instructable for creating an interactive child's night light.
Night lights are essential in most children's nightly routine, creating a source of comfort and protection from the monsters under the bed and creatures in the closet. This globe night light goes one step further. Not only does it create a safe sphere of light but also provides an educational and fun activity for kids. Watch their faces light up with curiosity and listen as they ask questions about places and cities they may not have heard of yet.
Let's get started--illuminate the night and your child's imagination.
Step 1: Materials
Gather the following:
- Jansjo Light
- Coping Saw
- 1/8" or 1/16" Clear Acrylic Rod (or both!)
- 1/8" Dremel Cutting Bit
- Medium Dremel Drum Sander
- Dremel Sanding Disk Bit
- Super Glue
- Small Phillips Head Screwdriver
*NOTE: I purchased the "5 political Globe made by Elenco which is readily available online (Amazon) or in stores. You can go with a different or bigger model, but you may have to get a stronger articulating light since I don't believe the Jansjo light will hold the weight of a bigger globe.
Step 2: Taking the Globe Apart
Since the final product is just a hanging globe, you'll have to remove most of the globes components before attaching it to the light or installing the rods. The stand is the primary component we will be removing which is attached at the top and bottom of the globe. Both of these attachments, as well as the stand, are pressure fit and can be pulled out if enough force is applied. The base comes away with applied force rather easily but I found it easier to use a coping saw instead to saw through the minimal plastic directly attached to the globe and avoid the risk of breaking or cracking the plastic globe.
A small part of each of the pressure fittings will fall into the globe when you use the coping saw. This is okay! When you create the hole that the light will pass through, you will have the opportunity to remove them.
Step 3: Putting the Light Together
Next, as with most Ikea products, you'll have to assemble your lamp. Assemble it according to the directions they give you.
- Screw in the light fixture to the base.
- Remove the sticky covering from the foam and add the protective foam covering to the base.
Step 4: Measure Twice, Cut Once
Using a digital calipers, measure just inside of the largest diameter of the light head of the Jansjo lamp. Once you have a measurement you feel comfortable with, utilize a program like Adobe Illustrator to draw a circle with the diameter you've measured. Print out your circle and cut it from the paper. This will be your template of how wide and large to cut the hole in the top of your globe.
I've attached my PDF file of my circle if you do not have Adobe Illustrator or another program to draw the circle.
Step 5: Trace
You can find the center of your circle by folding the circle in half twice with each fold perpendicular to the other. The two lines should cross at the center of the circle. Mark the center with a pen if that helps you to visualize it. Place your paper template over the top of the globe, aligning the center of the template over the hole left from the stand.
Using a pencil, trace around your paper circle. When you're done, you should have a faint line that you can cut up to creating a hole for the Jansjo lamp.
Step 6: Dremel Away
Attach a 1/8" cutting bit to your dremel. Inserting your bit through the whole left from the globe stand, work your way out to the pencil outline you drew. Continue to cut along the inside of the pencil line with your cutting bit until you have removed the circle piece of the globe you had outlined.
Replace the cutting bit with a medium sized drum sander on your dremel. Smooth out the edges of the hole in the globe, taking care to remove as little material as possible.
Step 7: Test Fit
You'll want to test fit the whole you just created against the Jansjo lamp itself to make sure that it fits. Gently push the Jansjo lamp head into the hole. You should have to apply a little pressure since the circumference of the circle you created should be smaller than the largest circumference of the lamp head. Your globe should be able to rest easily on the lamp but should still be loose.
Adjust your globe and it's resting position on the lamp head until you are satisfied with it's orientation.
Step 8: Glue
Once you have adjusted your globe and it is naturally resting in a position that you like, you can super glue it to hold it in place.
For this particular application I used a relatively thin super glue so that I wouldn't end up with a bead of glue on the finished product. It also works well if you have a super glue with a small applicator tip which will allow you to place a thin layer of glue in between the globe and the lamp head. Apply glue around the entire circumference of the circular hole in the top of the globe.
Allow the glue to dry before moving on to the next step. Once dry, test to make sure that the globe is held firmly in place by the glue. If you need to apply more glue to hold the globe in place, do so now and allow to dry again.
Step 9: Light Holes
Once your glue is dry and your globe is firmly in place you can begin drilling holes. You'll a drill bit that is the same size as the clear acrylic. We drilled two sets of holes, some that were 1/8" and some that were 1/16".
Drill all of your holes before placing any acrylic that way it will be easier to rest your globe on a hard surface like your table while you're drilling.
For this particular project, we decided to drill the holes in places that either of the two of us had been to. You can always get creative maybe only drill capital cities, or places you'd like to go, or places around the world that your family lives.
Step 10: Prepare Acrylic
Once all of your holes have been drilled you can start preparing your acrylic. Start by breaking small sections of acrylic off. The rods are thin enough that they can be broken by hand but you can also cut them with your dremel and a cutting disk (for plastic).
Each piece can vary in length and the total length will depend on the length of rod you'd like sticking out of your globe. We broke off a variety of lengths to play around with, but all of the pieces were under 1".
Once broken, you'll want to smooth the ends of your rod. This will ensure a nice glow when the light is on instead of fragmented light. Smooth out the end by running it along a fine grit sandpaper. You can also flame polish some larger acrylic rods with a simple lighter. The flame polish method is not recommended for the 1/16" diameter rod or smaller.
Step 11: Place & Glue Rods
Place the appropriately sized acrylic rod in a corresponding hole on your globe. You may have to apply some pressure to get the rod in since it will be a snug fit, but it will go. If you use a hammer or another tool to help coerce the rod into the hole, remember to be very gentle since the rods can become fairly fragile as they get smaller in diameter.
Although the rods should fit snuggly into each of their holes I recommend applying a small dab of super glue around the circumference of the rod where it meets the globe. This will help insure that the rods will stay in place over time. The super glue is also easier to apply in a controlled manner if you use a toothpick as an applicator instead of applying directly.
As you'll notice in the photos the rods are not equal in length from the surface of the globe. You can keep it like this as a fun visual dimension but they will also get ground down to equal size in the next step.
Step 12: Equalize
Allow the super glue to dry fully before starting this step.
Place the your sanding disk back o your dremel. Gently and slowly, use your dremel to grind down the acrylic rods to your desired length.
Step 13: The Antarctic
You'll notice that there is still a hole in the middle of Antarctica from when you removed the original globe stand. You have a couple of options:
- You can leave it and let light shine through it (spot light effect).
- You can fill it with a substance or material that won't let light through.
- You can fill it with acrylic rod and change the way the light shines through (more of a glow and less of a spot light).
I chose to fill it with 1/4" acrylic rod. It allows more light to shine out of the globe without creating a spotlight effect. It also visually appears as more uniform since the light always passes through the acrylic.
Place the rod in the hole in the bottom of the globe. Apply pressure until it's almost all the way in and glue in place. Sand down so that it's flush with the base of the globe.
Step 14: Light It Up!
You're done. Place your night light wherever you need a little illumination and fun. Plug it in and enjoy!