Instructables

I saw this Lamp that was made out of wooden sticks and mini light bulbs and thought, I can make that, and make it cheaper and better.  The cost of the one in the store was over $200 dollars.  So I took some pictures of it and got some ideas.

Overall, it is inexpensive (around $35 dollars) and easy to make, just a little time consuming.  Also, the one in the store was made with small incadecent lights and I wanted to make it a little brighter and energy efficient, so I made it with LEDs instead.

If you have any questions, or if something is not quite clear enough please let me know and I will assist you the best I can!
 

 
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Step 1: Parts and Tools Needed

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Here is a list of parts and where to get them:

Black Bamboo Bundle - 1 bundle (10 sticks--you can use whatever kind of sticks that you want)
     -Bought at Micheals, $9.99

Dark Brown Floral Stem Wrap Tape - 1 roll
     -Bought at Micheals, $1.99

Pure White LED's - 25 LEDs
     -Bought off of E-bay in a bulk purchase of 500

470 Ohm 1/4 watt Resistors - 25 Resistors
     -Came free with the LED's from E-bay

12 Volt Power Supply - 1   (just what I had, so if you use a different volltage then just adjust your Resistors appropriately)
     -Left overs from a earlier project

Roll of Floral wire - 1 roll
     -Bought from Micheals, $1.49

Hot Glue Sticks - 5 sticks
     -Bought from Micheals,  $1.99

Wire Red - Roll
     -Bought at Fry's Electronics, $3.99 roll (carried at any store with electronic parts)

Wire Black - Roll
     -Bought at Fry's Electronics, $3.99 roll (carried at any store with electronic parts)

Shrink wrap
     -Bought at Fry's Electronics, $.99 (carried at any store with electronic parts)

Tools Needed:

*Wire cutters

*Soldering Iron

*Lighter (for the shrink wrap)

*Hot glue gun

*Helping Hand
(nice but not necessary)

Step 2: Making the Bamboo Branches

If you find sticks that already have branches you can skip this step.

Grab your bundle of sticks(mine came with 10 main bamboo sticks) and the Floral wire, take a look and see how tall that you want the final branches to be and then cut the thin part of the sticks to that length. 

(Example: the stick is 4 feet long and you want the final product to be 3 feet, cut the top/thin part off, and use the think/bottom part for you main branch)

Use the branches which you have already cut off the tops of as the stalks that create the branches.  To put it simply, you are taking the top of the branch off and attaching them to the sides.

To attach them, grab the Floral wire and line the branches up how you like, then cut off about 9" to a foot of wire and start wraping the wire around the branches. Make sure that it is nice and sturdy!

For the final product of the sticks I ended up with five branches, with 2-3 small branches coming off of the base.

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Step 3: Preparing the LED's

This is an easy step, but one of the more time consuming. In this step we are going to setup each LED to have the resistor soldered on and add the hot glue to the LED.

1) Make sure that you are using the right resistor for the LED and the power supply.  For my setup I decided it would be the easiest to have one resistor for each LED so I would not have to deal with any crazy wiring when I start putting it on the branches.  Since I have a 12 volt power supply, and I am using Pure White LED's I needed 470 Ohm 1/4 watt resistors.  Here is a great website to help you out with figuring out what Resistors to use for your project:

http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz

Grab you LED and a Resistor, cut the negative lead on the resistor to about 1/4 - 1/2 inch long.  Then grab the Resistor and cut one side (doesn't matter which end) so it is about 1/4 - 1/2 inch long, take a look at the picture below as an example.

2) Solder the resistor to the Negative lead on the LED, repeat for as many LED's that you want for you branches. I did 5 for each branch = 25 total LEDs.

3) Once that is done, grab your hot glue gun and your LED with resistor combo.  This gets a little tricky; put a bit of hot glue on the LED (for my gun it was a total of 4 squeezes of the trigger), since the glue is hot it wants to drip off.  The trick is to put a little on at a time while spinning the LED continously, keeping the glue from dripping off (an easy way to spin the LED is to put the leads of the LED into a small tube so you can spin the tube like rolling a pencil in between your fingers).  Once it starts to cool down you can shape it how you like. I tried to make them look like a Pussy Willow blossoms.

By putting the hot glue on the LED, it not only creates a different shape and look to the LED, but it diffuses the light so the have more of a glow rather then 25 little spot lights.

Step 4: Wiring the LED's Up

In this step we need to wire all the LED's together, but using as little wire as possible because you do want to keep the natural shape of the branches.

1) Take a look at the branch and decide where you want to put the LED's, make sure the are nice a spread out and not clumped together, also try and make it pleasing to the eye, so nicely spaced out.  When the LED's are turned on they will be VERY noticable, so you don't want it lop sided.

2) Once you have decided where they are going to be located, take your red wire and cut peices of wire the length in between the LED and the solder points (example: take a look at the picture below).  When you have each red wire cut, you can copy the length of those and cut the black wires to match.

3) Now that you have all of the wires cut, start soldering the wires to the LED's, Thisis also the time to use your shrink wrap.  When using shrink wrap, make sure that you cover one of the leads and heat it up so it shrinks, THEN use a second piece to cover the other lead AND the lead that is aready covered (example: pictured below).  If you have two LED's on the same branch make sure that you solder the LED towards the end of the branch first, and then solder the next one down the branch so you can solder the positive and negative wires from the tip LED to the LED closer to the main branch.

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Step 5: Taping Up the Branches

Taping up the branches is one of the more rewarding parts because you are seeing what the final product is going to look like. 

Tape the LED's in place temperarly with electrical tape. You can let the wires just hang there.  Now grab your Floral Stem Tape, start wrapping it around the branch at the base of the LED's where the shrink wrap is.  Make sure that it is nice and tight, then start wrapping the whole branch covering the wires completely (you don't want to see any red or black wires peaking out, not really something you see in nature!).  Wrap each branch coming off of the main branch, then start wrapping the main branch from the top all the way down. If there are any parts that need more tape just cut some off the roll and wrap right ontop to cover any mistakes or big bumps you want to make disapear!

Step 6: Finishing up!

We're almost DONE! 

Place all the branches next to eachother so all the wires are close together, solder all the postive wires together, and all the negative wires together.  Grab you power supply and make sure you know which wire is positive and which is negative.  Take the shrink wrap and slide one over the positive wires and one over the negative wires (if you choose, you can add a large one over both).  It is mportant to do this BEFORE soldering the power supply to the project because you can't slide it over the wires after because the ends of the wire have things on them!  Once done, you can plug in the power supply and everything should light up!

At this point you have your branches done and it is up to you how you want to disply them.  I have them in a bucket/vase for now, but I am going to get a nice vase and drill a hole towards the bottom of the vase for the wire to come out. I also plan to add a hole to put in a switch that is attached to the vase.  I added styrofoam in the base of mine, ONLY because when I didn't have the styrofoam in there the branches fell WAY outward and looked messy. 

Now you are DONE!!!  Congradulations on making a handmade original piece of art!  I would love to see what you guys come up with, so if you have any pictures please post them for all of us to see.

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Gorgeous! I'm doing a version of this and I have a question. I have lamp wire laying around, and since I only wanted to use one LED I wanted to know, is one LED and one resistor wrapped to the lamp wire a thing/ would it work?

imbigman1 year ago
Beautifully done. I imagine that you realy don't need branches though, since you are just covering them up anyway. Maybe soder up some scrape copper, or the like, to look like a tree branch. Allthough branches would be a lot easer to work with. I have flower pedel molds, I think i'll try putting LEDs in them and see how they look. I know it's been a couple of years since you post this instructable, However thank you you doing so.
lineofbirds3 years ago
Wonderful project can't wait to do this!
tony1123 years ago
using the "HOT GLUE" gun doesn't hurt the LED??.... I would have though, that the glue would have damaged the chip inside the LED.. any problems of it burning out later?... please advise. thanks!
seligtobiason (author)  tony1123 years ago
I have used this technique many times and have not had any problems. The LED's themselves really don't produce heat, so the glue is not keeping the LEDs or the chips hot. So really it is just glue on plastic with some light shinning through. I am sure it would be an issue with some of the 3W+ LEDs, but haven't had any problems with these lower powered LEDs.
Psychotics3 years ago
I started building this project and picked up the same Micheal's floral tape you did. The tape is so sticky it leaves thick residue over my finger tips, and I can't lay the branches down for even a second as I'm afraid it'll pick up debris. Was your tape this sticky too?
seligtobiason (author)  Psychotics3 years ago
The tape is really sticky, and I would be careful not to set them down on anything hairy. But by the time I was done wrapping the branches and working with them I had touched the branches so much I think the oils from my hands took down the stickiness. I am not sure if that was exactly it, but the tape seemed to lose the stickiness on the out side, but never lost it on the inside.

I would just be careful where you set the branches down until you have it all put together, hope that helps!
Polilla3 years ago
I saw a similar lamp at a restaurant, I loved it and I wanted one. Now I can do it :) Thanks for sharing.
zthralls3 years ago
Thanks for the inspiration! check out my take on it.
thanks
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seligtobiason (author)  zthralls3 years ago
That looks great! Nice job, I am glad that this instructable inspired you, and thank you for sharing your picture.
super like!
Platt3r4 years ago
Hey, this Instructable is awesome. I'm gonna start gathering parts, but what size LED's are you using?
seligtobiason (author)  Platt3r4 years ago
I used 5mm LED's, but you really can use any size, it all depends on how big you want the blossoms. Let me know if you need anymore help!
Hey, so for a different project I tried putting hot glue on my LEDs and when I connected them to a circuit they all broke. The only thing I can think that would cause that is the heat messing up the LED innards. Was that an issue for you?
vez87 Platt3r4 years ago
Are you sure you used the correct power supply and resistors? As too much voltage will fry an led indefinately. The Hot glue shouldn'd affect it as the innards are coated in the hard plastic that makes the diode.
Platt3r vez874 years ago
I actually didn't use resistors, but only had a 3V power source. LED's that weren't hot glued worked and still work fine, but the hot glues ones are all fried. Hrm.....
deuce444 years ago
Really cool! Do you think this is feasible to do on a custom xmas tree?
seligtobiason (author)  deuce444 years ago
Absolutely, it was just take some serious time to do that, but it would be an amazing final product! If you end up making it please let me know how it worked out, and post some pictures too!! Good luck!
The House4 years ago
I am absolutely going to do this when I get a chance. It is sooo cool. Great job! Vote the ef up!
jnifrwebb4 years ago
This looks beautiful. I am going to give it a try, but I may try to use some Christmas lights instead. I'm not sure it will look as nice as your's though.
vishalapr4 years ago
good
sidthesquid4 years ago
This is beautiful. Will work great indoors or out & in any season. I think I have to have it! Very creative.
Criket4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
seligtobiason (author)  Criket4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
nice work m8...bravoo :-bd
dmb3214 years ago
I saw something like it in colorado and it was about 100$ thank you for the how to!
seligtobiason (author)  dmb3214 years ago
Your welcome, and good luck making it!
jtmjr4 years ago
nice i really like how this looks got my vote
I built that cake next to yours keep me in mind when u vote :)
seligtobiason (author)  jtmjr4 years ago
Thank you, it adds a nice glow to the room! I do like your cake too, very clever idea! I appreciate your vote and I will vote for yours also, good luck!
jeff-o4 years ago
Actually, I rather like the "temporary" vase you used. I'd keep it as-is.
seligtobiason (author)  jeff-o4 years ago
Thanks! Yeah it is growing on me, it makes it have a little more beachy feel.
lainey244 years ago
Hi, I love this design. I have an LED question for you, though. We would like to replace our CFL bulbs because of the mercury content. We are wondering if one can purchase 9W LED bulbs that actually fit into regular lamps?
jeff-o lainey244 years ago
You sure can. Check out the selection at Dealextreme. Much less expensive there, than at a local store.
Usually at the end of each CFL's life , the mercury is collected as sputter at either end of the bulb , along with the burnt phosphor .
It's not alot , really .
Not enough to really kill anyone .
Phillips makes the only good LED socket lamps at the moment, and while they don't have mercury they do have lead and are prone to over heating. A side note the mercury in your CFL's is less then whats in most thermostats; the most eco-friendly thing you could do is just hold on till your CFL's burn out and then replace them with LEDs. And DO NOT toss your CFL's in the trash, check with your local waste management for how to depose of house hold hazardous waste and let them deal with the recycling that needs to take place.

also awesome project... must do this one of these days.
t4tawah4 years ago
WOW YOUR SOOOOO TALENTED WISH YOU WERE MY BROTHER!!! OHHH YOU ARE!!!! WHEN DO I GET ONE!!!
Greatest house warming gift EVER!!!
By the way:

Give me a ringle if you are single.
If we mingle, I'll make you tingle.
I'll give you two thumbs up and a fingle,
If you really are single.
e46socal4 years ago
Cool project. How long did it take to make? Lola_girl your coming on a little strong. You want to play hard to get a little.
rcisneros4 years ago
Damn. Now I have another project. :)
Nice job.
Lola_Girl4 years ago
I really like this idea! It's very well thought out! Great job!
PS- you look really hot, too =) If you're single, give me a ringle!
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