Introduction: Led Birthday Hat
This instructable will be showing you how to create a very simple light up birthday hat! These don't take much time unless you feel like painting them like I did, though they are a pain put all together without creating shorts. Anywho, let's jump right in!
Step 1: Materials
There's not alot of materials you'll need for this build. All you'll need is:
- 3 volt battery
- some birthday hats
- some wire (depends on how many leds you're using)
- a few leds (depends on how many you want)
- a switch
- electrical tape
- hot glue
- paint (optional)
I still had a butt load of leds from making this instructable ( https://www.instructables.com/id/Led-Cube-8x8x8/?ALLSTEPS ) and I got them from here if you plan on using alot of leds in your lifetime ( http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?SearchText=led+blue+diffused+3mm&catId=&initiative_id=SB_20140523170424 ). Everything else I got from either radioshack or walmart, but you could probably get them anywhere for cheaper if you look hard enough. BTW, the leds will take a while to get to you since they're from china.
Step 2: Understanding the Circuit
In order for the LEDs to all be powered with full brightness, they need to be connected in parallel. That means that all of the positive leads are connected to the other positive leads, and all of the negative leads are connected to the rest of the negative leads. In my example, I'm using 12 LEDs, so you can see in the diagram, there are 12 LEDs (simple, right?) The positive leads are connected to the toggle switch, which will turn all the LEDs on when switched on. The more LEDs you place in the circuit, the faster the battery will die. I imagine you won't be using it for long, so it's ok for it to happen. The diagram will be labelled the same way as the actual wiring so it'll hopefully be easier to understand.
Step 3: Prepping
Ok, because LEDs do have a chance of not working, it's always good (whether they're coming from china or not) to check every LED you use. It's just good practice.
Now it's time to create your design. You can make any design you want, it doesn't matter. Just make sure you know how many LEDs you want, and where each led was in relation to your design. The spray paint I used allowed me to faintly see what my design was underneath it, which was helpful.
I know in my pictures there's 2 Batteries hooked up to allow for 6 volt supply, but I planned on doing something different. Only use one 3 volt battery for this. I recommend using small flexible wire for this and alot of tape. You're going to want to place one wire on the tape itself and place it one side of the battery and then wrap it around to the other side and place your wire on the other side. Lastly, complete the rotation around the battery and start wrapping the tape around as tight as you can for only about 3 or 4 rotations. That should keep it tight in there and keep it from moving.
Step 4: Creation of the Design
Ok, here you're going to want to take your own creative view on how to do this because there really isn't a best way to do this for your specific occasion. I'm doing this as a highschool senior spirit week kind of thing for my friends. You might be doing this for 30 some odd kids for your childs birthday and that would make this a whole lot easier. This is where you get to be creative. Here's what I did.
After drawing my design on the hats, I started making holes in key places around my hat to fit my design. After each one, I tested the hole's size with an led and hoped that the hole wasn't too big. I found out later that my rotary tool worked wonders on time and neatness.
After making the holes, I spray painted it blue because it's my school color. After letting it dry, I painted the actual design white because it's my other school color. It's as simple as that.
Step 5: Creation of the Circuitry
This part sucked by the way. I went through two attempts and alot of wire before thinking to UNFOLD THE STUPID HAT. So step one: unfold the hat.
Once that's done make sure it's secure and that there's room underneath for the LEDs to rest and stay put while soldering. I tried to make all of the positive leads touch each other before soldering and if they didn't reach, I used bus wire to connect them. If I had taken the extra time to not be lazy, I would have definitely used some sort of insulated wire to help not short the circuit. Once all the connections are made, check the solder joints by touching the positive and negative ends of the battery to the proper places on the LEDs. Then, if it works, solder the negative end of the battery to the negative leads, and the positive to the switch. Then connect the other side of the switch to the positive leads. Then flip the switch and it should work.
Lastly, to make sure LEDs stay in place and don't fall out, I used hot glue. You can probably use any kind of adhesive and it'll work, but I like hot glue. Once every LED is almost guaranteed to not come loose, you can start carefully folding the hat back to it's original position. To help with making sure you don't make a short, have the switch flipped on while folding. If a short is made, then the lights will turn off.
Step 6: Final Product!
After that 20 some odd minutes of fun, you have your end creation that's sure to amaze( results may vary)! If you did decide to get the 1000 LEDs, I hope it lasts you a long, long while. Thanks for taking the time to view this instructable and I hope it suits your needs and you're happy with the result! My next plan is to make an arduino powered spirit week crown using three birthday hats so if you're interested in that sort of thing, keep a look out for it! Comments and questions are welcome.
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