Introduction: LED Cork Light

Picture of LED Cork Light

Here is a fun way to make some extra LED lighting that you can easily turn off by sliding the battery out when you don't need the light anymore!

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Picture of Materials and Equipment
  • pliers
  • exacto knife
  • drill and bit
  • LED's
  • Coin cell batteries
  • wine bottle corks
  • handsaw

Step 2: Cut Cork to Length and Drill Hole

Picture of Cut Cork to Length and Drill Hole

Using an exacto knife, cut your cork to the length of the leads on your LED's minus about a 1/4 - 1/3" (this will allow you to make a bend in the leads to grip the cork).

Drill a hole, the diameter of the distance between the leads on your LED (measured at the light end), right through the centre of the cork. Hold the cork securely in the grip of a pair of pliers (photo 2) or put in a vice to drill.

Stick the LED leads through the hole to check your length (photo 6).

If you want to taper your cork a bit in order for it to be able go a little further into the bottle, you can use the exacto knife to very carefully! shape the edge of the cork or try this sanding method:

Step 3: Cut Battery Slot

Picture of Cut Battery Slot

Cut a slot in the non tapered end of the cork to accommodate the thickness of your battery (photo 1). Make your slot more than 1/2 the diameter of your battery.

Secure the cork in a vice (photo 2) to keep it from moving around, and use your hand saw to cut both sides of the slot.

Step 4: Bend the Leads

Picture of Bend the Leads

Put the LED leads back through the hole in your cork and using the pliers, bend the leads away from each other over the edge of the cork (photo 3). The leads will run up the inside of the slot making it a bit snug for the battery which will help to keep it in place.

You are now ready to test it out!

Insert your battery in the slot and if the positive and negative sides are lined up, it should light up! (flip your battery around if the light doesn't come on).

Step 5: Make More!

Picture of Make More!

Stick your LED cork light in the top of a wine bottle and enjoy!

Once you have made one of these cork lights, you will want to make a whole set - they are much happier in a group!

When you want to turn off the light, slip the batteries out of the cork for next time.


SuperSmartB (author)2016-09-29

Thank you for doing the instructable but, do you think a 'Zinc Air' battery could be used?

Will2MakesStuff (author)2016-09-22

This is brilliant! looks like my fluorescent lamps are getting an upgrade! :)

guillermo.vtqb (author)2016-08-10

Don't you need a resistor so the led won't burn up? What battery voltage are you talking about? Prices?

licheness (author)guillermo.vtqb2016-08-10

That is a good question! I will let the people at evil mad scientists, answer it for you:

Basically, they say it is safe without a resistor, although the battery will not last as long, particularly with red, yellow and orange LEDs. The batteries still last quite a while though, especially if you take them out when you are not using them.

If you want to add a resistor, they show you how to add one that is 'a few hundred ohms' in the link above. I used 3v coin cell batteries, which can be expensive if you buy them one off in a pharmacy, but very inexpensive to buy in bulk online.

hvrobot (author)licheness2016-09-03

As a rule of thumb, red and green LEDs operate at approximately 2 volts DC and have an amp rating of about 20 to 30 milliamps. So, this means that a 1.5V battery will work for a single LED but will burn a little bit "dim". If you were to use a 9V battery to operate a single LED, it will immediately burn itself out Why? it operates on 2V. So, to eliminate the problem a resistor must be put in series with the LED. But, what value of resistance is needed? It's fairly easy to calculate. Since the LED will need 2 VDC, the resistor needs to drop the remaining 7 Volts. The current for the LED is (20 to 30 milliamps). Lets use 20 mA (.020 Amps). The resistance is calculated by dividing the Voltage across the resistor by the Amps through the resistor, or 7V divided by 0.020 amps = 350 ohms. The wattage rating for the resistor needs to be (Volts X Amps) or (7 X 0.020) = 0.14 Watts. This is a little more than 1/8 watt, so use a 1/4 watt resistor.

To operate a single LED using a 9V battery,you will need a 350 Ohm resistor with a 1/4 watt rating. The color of the four bands would be [Orange]-[Green]-[Brown]-[4th band could be Silver or Gold]. A 330 Ohm resistor would probably work [Orange]-[Orange]-[Brown]-[4th band could be Silver or Gold].

DanielC225 (author)licheness2016-08-19

I buy mine at dollar tree. lol

Braindead63 (author)DanielC2252016-08-22

Go to any scrap yard and take the batteries from old pc computers. Free electricity. They are 3 volts and are about the size of a nickel. Typically a 2032, and is referred to as a "CMOS" battery as used in a PC.

Raitis (author)Braindead632016-08-27

I doubt they will have too much juice left in them, since they are used to keep the internal clocks running as far as I know.

sue.donim.144 (author)DanielC2252016-08-21

at dollar tree they are 2 CR2032s for $1.00 by sunbeam . (used to be 3 in a pack).

stripedstarfish (author)2016-08-26

Can this be done with certain kinds of mini-christmas lights? For some reason That is what I am reminded of, though nor sure my idea is even remotely possible. Thank you for sharing & the inspiration. Think I'm going to make this with my kid!

Yonatan24 (author)2016-08-21


Just to let you know, "Roman UrsuHack" stole your thumbnail. He's done this countless times, I just thought I'd let you know...

If anyone has a YouTube channel, please report him!

Yonatan24 (author)Yonatan242016-08-24

Ooop! He changed the thumbnail!

Credit, anyone? He just wrote "Idea: licheness". Of course he isn't going to leave a link for the inspiration.

I wish I could dislike twice...

licheness (author)Yonatan242016-08-24

thanks for having my back! I'm sure that it was direct pressure from instructables members :) that made him decide to create his own thumbnail. The reference to licheness means that anyone who really wants to find the idea source will find my instructable, although a link would sure have been nice (and appropriate). That having been said, he did make a nice clear video, so in spite of being disappointed in his initial lack of consideration, I am thinking about maybe adding a link to his video from my instructable... give me a few more days :)

Yonatan24 (author)licheness2016-08-25

If he gets inspired by your idea, he should credit you, by writing your name, AND putting a link to your Instructable

PLEASE don't (even think) about adding his video to your Instructable. That man makes a living off of stealing and plagiarizing other people's ideas, and making extremely clickbait thumbnails, and titles. If he didn't plagiarize other people's ideas, and make clickbait titles and thumbnails, I doubt he would have had even a fifth of his subscribers, and less than a fifth of the views.

Same goes with "American Hacker", "Crazy Russian Hacker", "Sliviki show en", and many more.

If someone wants to flag me as "not nice", they are welcome to that. Just make sure that you realize that you're hurting the DIY community, and contributing to videos that ignore YouTube's rules.

maskman57 (author)2016-08-21

Don't forget button/coin batteries are dangerous and can be deadly in the hands (stomachs) of children. Please use wisely! This is a great project, we would not want it to be marred by the death of a child. I'm going to make one . . . or four.

licheness (author)maskman572016-08-24

true, thanks for the reminder!

diamondemb (author)2016-08-13

Great lnstructable!
Love all the pictures. I will definitely make some of these.

licheness (author)diamondemb2016-08-24

thanks :)

Eee1997 (author)2016-08-22

if you are building this project, please be aware of the extreme danger these batteries present espicially when they are easily accessible. For more details please see:

licheness (author)Eee19972016-08-24

thanks for the link.

Tdogm6 (author)2016-08-23

This guy took your idea.

licheness (author)Tdogm62016-08-24

thanks for letting me know :)

Raitis (author)2016-08-13

Pretty fun to see a design same as I made for printing CR2032 holders for LEDs made in a lot more accessible manner!

Jonathanrjpereira (author)2016-08-12

Awesome Idea


BKLaRue made it! (author)2016-08-11

Here's the first one we made...I had to adjust the width of the opening a bit, so we could use 2 LR1130's that we had on hand. Other than that, it was super simple! Again, this is a really great idea!

Thanks for sharing it!

licheness (author)BKLaRue2016-08-12

Thanks for sharing your photo! looks great :)

Twogunrocky (author)2016-08-11

Great idea mate.... I wonder, do they work in the bath or swimming pool?

licheness (author)Twogunrocky2016-08-12

They would short out pretty quickly if they weren't waterproofed first!

Here is a related instructable that uses balloons to make floating lights:

BKLaRue (author)2016-08-10

This is such an awesome idea!!! I may have to borrow it for a Makers Camp project!

You totally have my vote!

licheness (author)BKLaRue2016-08-11

Happy to see this idea shared!

BKLaRue (author)licheness2016-08-11

I actually also shared it with the Maker Camp community on G+ as well. We've still got a couple weeks left and it's projects like this, that are simple yet really fun for the kids to make.

licheness (author)BKLaRue2016-08-11


RoboPro made it! (author)2016-08-11

Cool & simple, I just love it!

licheness (author)RoboPro2016-08-11

You made one! thanks for sharing a photo.

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-08-11

So simple and looks great nice work

licheness (author)Jedi_zombie852016-08-11

Thanks :)

watchmeflyy (author)2016-08-10

Clever idea!

licheness (author)watchmeflyy2016-08-11

Thank you!

EricS326 (author)2016-08-10

Thats an awesome idea... i wish I could just have thoughts like that. Maybe you csn make those special wine cork sets people buy and just use a smaller battery. It'd look cool at a bar with certain bottles corked with all different colors lol or if its dark... the bartender can have a color code to easily find it I'm aure it can be done with a photo resistor to turn on at the right time. If that's what you were shooting for, forgive me. I just noticed the project pocture and wanted to throw out an option for ya. Profitable? Who knows.... but if you know people that would likd them, you csn always count on them.

Who knows tho theres probably a stupid patent out already. My father had an idea he didnt think was possible, and but showing him how proximity and PIR sensors and even microwave sensors along with an accelerometer/gyro module it would work. I worked at it for a while then found a website to lookup patent info and someone had every detail i had thought of. It was definitly a let down.

licheness (author)EricS3262016-08-11

Thanks for your thoughts :) I probably won't go into to production! but you just never know where an idea will take you when you start to explore it...

mbutterworth (author)2016-08-10

Brilliant idea glad I could help cheers

mbutterworth (author)2016-08-10

You can buy rechargeable Lir2032 batteries

licheness (author)mbutterworth2016-08-10

I did not know that! That is a great option.

M3G (author)2016-08-10

Such a great idea!

licheness (author)M3G2016-08-10


YoKidz (author)2016-08-10

Wow these are so amazing ... what do you think flat LED light for it ... with that we can get more light ?

licheness (author)YoKidz2016-08-10

Thanks! I haven't used the bright flat LEDs but if they don't have long leads, it will change the way it will need to made :). Post back here if you figure something out!

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