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Halifax Makerspace was invited by our local library to an afternoon of tech and crafting. After our plans of an intro to soldering course fell through (no soldering permitted due to fire regulations), we were forced to be a bit more creative. For our part of the program, we wanted:

  • people to be able to drop in any time during the program and be able to complete the craft in a few minutes
  • to send people home with something cool
  • to introduce the concept of a circuit, and demystify electronics in general
  • to showcase our Makerspace's laser cutter
  • to be able to reuse some of the work we put in to designing the course for other events in the future
  • to do all this very cheaply

What we decided on was an acrylic ornament in two pieces, with an LED in the base lighting the ornamental part. Copper tape would make the connection between a lead of the LED and a button cell battery.

You could do any size batch of these for a makerspace open house, a Cub Scout troop activity, for everyone on a Christmas list, wedding favours, or just cut one for yourself.

Materials (Total cost for us: about $0.25-0.30 per ornament)

  • 1/4 inch acrylic - we got a lot of small offcuts free from the Discovery Centre when they moved, and some from a recent Little Free Library build
  • 2032 batteries - ordered from Aliexpress for about $0.20 each
  • LEDs - We gave people choices of yellow flickering (candle), red blinking or regular white. They cost a few dollars per hundred from Aliexpress. We were surprised to find the normal white LEDs were the most popular
  • 5mm copper tape - about $4 for 30m from Aliexpress

Step 1: Prepping the Base

We decided on a reusable generic base, in case we wanted to do a similar events for other holidays in the future. Features of the base:

  • our logo and website engraved, with a warning to keep out of reach of children (the small battery can be removed easily)
  • the positive side of the battery hole is marked with a "+"
  • two holes for the ornament's "legs" to slot into
  • two holes for the LED's leads
  • a rectangular hole to press fit the battery

It took some testing to get the battery hole exactly right. We wanted to make sure it press fit in place (with a LED lead and copper foil), and that it didn't press in so far that it came out the bottom.

About This Instructable

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Bio: We are a group of makers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. While we have had a physical space in the past, we are currently homeless ... More »
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