Introduction: LED Floaties

Picture of LED Floaties


LED floaties are the mellower version of throwies. Instead of flying through the air in an arched trajectory, they'd much rather loaf about on the ground until being kicked up by a playful child or fascinated dog.

On Thursday December 14, me and my partners from Uncoolkids inflated and released 200 floaties into Tompkins square park in Manhattan. The somewhat foggy windless night provided the perfect atmosphere for a couple hundred glowing balloons. All passerby really seemed to enjoy the effect the balloons had on the park, and the balloons create a perfect interactive environment.

Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

1. CR2032 3V Lithium Batteries (2 batteries per LED)
2. 10mm Non-diffused LEDs
3. Duct tape

Because the LEDs require 2 batteries each I recommend buying a throwie pack from HB Electronics, and then buying batteries for however many LEDs you buy at

The throwies cost about 75 cents each depending on how many you make.

Step 2: Steps

Picture of Steps

Stack two batteries on top of each other and sandwich them between the legs of the LEDs. Use a few inch long strip of duct tape to hold them on completely.

To get the lights in the balloons have one person reach inside the balloon with their fingers and hold the neck open while the other person drops in the light.

This whole process works best when set up in an assembly line with a few people making lights, a few stuffing balloons, and a few inflating the balloons.

Release the balloons.

Step 3: Cleanup

Picture of Cleanup

Cleanup is virtually nonexistent. The balloons eventually pop and the lights are picked up by curious strangers. The balloon latex is completely biodegradable so the scraps are safe to be left around.

Instead of cleanup this project just dissolves into the night.

Step 4: Update: Instructional Video

The folks over at have created an instructional video based on this project.


sue.donim.144 (author)2016-08-21

use clear ballons and you dont need to up voltage.

Stikk (author)2007-05-23

Why do these LEDs supposedly need two batteries? Are they not exactly the same LEDs as in the throwies? Do you just add the second battery to up the voltage and increase brightness? If so, you would be overpowering the LEDs (they only need 3-3.6v according to that website) and they'd burn out.. Sorry if this is a stupid question but im confused...

Tetranitrate (author)Stikk2007-05-29

You are correct, you are sacrificing the life of the LEDs to make them brighter. They need to be brighter then the throwies because they have a layer of latex to shine through.

um no. those batteries are 1.5 volts. 1.5 x 2 = 3. your still about 0.7v short of even making its life SLIGHTLY shorter.

CR2032s are 3v. and 2 for $1 at dollar tree .

I'm sorry, they are 3v. but is he wiring them in series or paralel? paralel jsut increases amps ,not volts, maknig them brighter withuot burning them out. series ups the voltage and does nothing to the amps.

overamping also kills leds

nerdnurture (author)Tetranitrate2008-06-02

what color of balloons did you use? Would the regular one battery throwie set up work if you used clear balloons? I think this would be great for decorations for a school dance. But we are on a budget... They like it DARK in there, so I'm wondering if we can get by with just one battery... What do you think? AMAZING idea. I loved it! (o:

sue.donim.144 (author)2016-08-21

dollar tree sells sunbeam CR2032s, 2 to a pack for $1.

BuilderboY (author)2007-06-05


w00ty32 (author)BuilderboY2007-11-14

Noff, but i think the battery would keep it from flying away.

and-reas (author)w00ty322009-08-18

In step 4 you have someone who made it with helium, those floaties floated to the roof, I think it will work

BuilderboY (author)w00ty322007-11-14

perhaps, the concept is cool though. It can probably be done by making the light as small as possible and perhaps using two or three balloons. It would be cool to set a bunch of those free. I bet if you put tags with a phone number or address on them you would get more responses then normal!

LEEROYJenkins (author)BuilderboY2009-04-20

haha, indeed thats what would happem

Hawaii00000 (author)BuilderboY2007-11-07

Wow were did you learn that kind of math!!! lol Good idea.

nw (author)2008-07-23

I have done this for an art exhibition, on a smaller scale, with one... It was a special shaped balloon, that looked like a zeppelin. The piece was called L.E.D. Zeppelin!

yggdrazil (author)nw2009-08-17

LOL! funny! You could release it into the sky so it can take the "stairway to heaven"

Tommyhzy (author)nw2009-01-26

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Seriously, good name. No sarcasm or pun intended.

ampeyro (author)2009-05-19

wow, i had the same idea, helium could be cool

Wesley666 (author)2009-05-14

Cool ible.

Wesley666 (author)2009-05-14

Use Hydrogen then you can light em' up when your done! (Bad idea seriously though)

stinkycheese23 (author)2009-03-29


Derin (author)2008-06-30


Sagar Gondaliya (author)Derin2009-02-21


Derin (author)2008-06-29

fire at them with a bb gun then the fun begins bam bam bam then you make something where the balloons move around on a belt and if you shoot one you get to have the light

Techno23 (author)Derin2008-07-17

That would actually be quite cool *steals idea for airsoft tourneys*

Derin (author)Techno232008-07-17

no problem bro,u can take my idea

nintendo309 (author)Derin2008-08-09

Wow. That was so nice it almost sounded like sarcasm...

i think it was

Derin (author)Sagar Gondaliya2009-02-21


Pyromaster951 (author)2008-12-21

maybe then these could float using helium

Pyromaster951 (author)2008-12-21
What if you used the ballons in the project and insted of using the CR2032 batteries, use BR1216 batteries. they are smaler and lighter.
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lebowski (author)2008-12-08

We just did this at a birthday party. Here are a couple of tips. Make sure you buy Jewell Tone colors, like these:

The LED's will show through them much better. They are the same as in the video above.

It's really cool if you can get them to hover around, but it requires a bit of work. You can attach paperclips and some tape to help weigh them down a little.

Also, electrical tape works great for attaching the LED to the batteries, since it's really easy to take off the tape to re-use them.

watermelonhead (author)2008-08-19

wouldn't the balloons pop and the LEDs would fall?

abnor (author)2008-06-30

that would be great to put in a pool then have a pool party

firefighter1333 (author)2008-06-30

what if you put some simple to make hydrogen in the balloons? would they fly then?

wrentchhead (author)2008-06-27

i think that this may be one of the best instructables i have seen,lol, im serious though...

scopevisions (author)2008-06-13

nice instructable... make a video with ...real kids on it, imean smaller kids lol. it will make a great video!

Artificial Intelligence (author)2008-05-22

These things are very cool. There is one thing I don't understand though: how do you drive a LED directly on 6Volts ?

you drive a led directly on 6v because they are only small button batteries and so cannot deliver the current because of their internal resistance

OK, but it's enough with just one of these batteries.

yes it should be indeed. using two will just make it beasty bright. you can buy cheapo "disposable" torches that have a single led and two li-ion button cells in series. costs me 2 bucks for one. its funny because the batteries are worth $5 ea and the led about the same :P

Actually, I don't think it will make it brighter, because yellow LEDs only require 2.8 Volts or so and sometimes if a LED get too high voltage, it will actually be less bright and burn out faster.

for standard 3-5mm "i come in an asorted pack of 100" cheapo led's yes, they tend not to be as efficient. but the "super bright" leds you will find get significantly brighter for reduced life expectancy when increasing the voltage, you just need to have it current limited. which is why the throwies work cause the batteries own internal resistance is high enough that its ok. hook two AA's up in series and youll kill it really quick. same voltage but can deliver far more current. unless your planning on caring whether they last for 10,000hrs or 100,000hrs though it really isnt going to matter if you over power them. and really i dont think anyone cares if your 5 buck led only lasts for 10,000 hrs cause thats still around 1 1/4 years on constantly.

-Aj- (author)2008-06-02

YESSS, so doing this with helium!!!

gerwitz (author)2008-05-21

Thanks for this idea, it inspired me for a party. Purchased the cells and LEDs at

xfnord (author)2008-02-24

check out - there you can get cheap led-throwies. or just leds and batteries

Powerhouse (author)2008-02-06

Do you know a good cheap supplier for LEDS? especially bright colorful ones?

stpso44 (author)Powerhouse2008-02-09

Try for a few deals. Shipping takes a while since the LEDs are coming from Hong Kong. But at least you won't have to pay for the shipping.

Powerhouse (author)stpso442008-02-11

Oh thanks a lot. LED's can be pretty pricey.

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