Introduction: Light-Up LED Lollipops

Picture of Light-Up LED Lollipops

Great fun and yum for every age! Adding a spicy red LED to your lolly is hardly more work than just making regular lollipops. That huge sucker will liven up your halloween party - and keep your guests "licking and sticking" all night long! (because big lollies are super sticky, don't let them drop on the couch)

If you like my projects, I hope you'll check out my new project on Kickstarter

have funs - and yums!

I created this project originally for The Hungry Scientist Handbook

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

What You Need

A standard recipe for lollipops:
* sugar
* corn syrup
* cream of tartar
* Plastic mold such as a yogurt container
* Sauce pan
* Candy thermometer (can measure up to 300 F)
* Oil or cooking spray
* Measuring cups

Stuff to make an LED go:
* Bic pen
* 2 wires
* 5mm-size LED, any color. make sure it is a "LEAD FREE" or "ROHS" LED.
* 3V coin cell battery

WARNING: if you are in USA it is still legal to sell electronics with lead. you should check that your LED is "LEAD FREE" or "ROHS" before using it in this project. if you are in EU then do not worry, you guys are smart and made it illegal to put lead in the electronics 10 years ago.

Step 2: Wire Your LED

Picture of Wire Your LED
  • Cut your wire about 2" longer than your Bic pen.
  • Strip the ends of the wire with a wire stripper.
  • Connect each leg of your LED to a wire. You can just twist them together, you don't need to solder it like I did here.
  • After the wires are securely twisted together, cover the bare part of one of the wires with tape, so that it can't accidentally touch the other.
  • Take apart the pen leaving just the plastic tube
  • insert the wires through the plastic tube until they come out the other end.
  • Touch the two wires to the opposite sides of the battery, and your LED should light up. If it doesn't, flip the battery around and try it the other way.

Step 3: Make Your Mold

Picture of Make Your Mold

You need a plastic mold to hold your lollipop liquid until it hardens. The bottom of a yogurt container is convenient, but you can also use some other type of plastic or metal mold. Cut the bottom off your yogurt container with a sharp box cutter, leaving about 1/2" to 1" high walls. Then cut a notch in the side that snugly fits your Bic pen.

Step 4: Make Lollipop Liquid

Picture of Make Lollipop Liquid
My instructions here are a quick refresher on how to make regular lollipops.  If you have limited kitchen experience and have never made regular lollipops before, check the more detailed instructions about how to make regular lollipops at the link above. 
  • In a sauce pan put: 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup corn syrup, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • Heat on medium heat and stir until all the sugar dissolves
  • When it starts boiling, you can stop stirring.
  • Add a candy thermometer, and wait until it reaches 300F ("hard crack"). Then immediately remove from the heat.

Step 5: Get Your Mold Ready and Pour

Picture of Get Your Mold Ready and Pour

Put a thin coating of oil on the inside of your mold

Position your LED and pen in the notch, reaching at least 1/2 inch into the mold.

Once your lollipop liquid cools to 200F you can pour it into the mold, without the plastic melting. If you have any trouble with the plastic melting you can put it into a little ice water like in the photo.

Step 6: Wait for It to Cool and It's Done!

Picture of Wait for It to Cool and It's Done!

Wait for your lollipop to harden

Carefully bend the mold off

Hold your battery between the two wires and wrap them together with tape. That will keep the LED on while you have time to lick it!

WARNING: if you are in USA there may be small amounts of lead on the legs of the LED, in this case do not lick all the way down. if you are in EU do not worry, your electronics are safe to lick!


dave.keenan.3939 (author)2015-01-02

WOW!! This was fun & EASY to make thanks to your well written "ible." I would have had a LOT of trouble with the candy-making without your tips. Thanks again, dave & family ..................PS: I cringed at all the strange comments. Following your tips, I know mine is lead-free.

alayna.pruitt (author)2014-10-06

Cool,I hate how people are so worried to bad I can't make these #to young

princessbaker16 (author)2014-06-02

neat seems cool

ra.rokks (author)2011-11-03

doesn't solder have lead in it? if so, why have you soldered the LED to the wires?

knexinventer (author)ra.rokks2014-03-05

The lead makes it taste better. No I am just kidding do not eat lead!

kazmataz (author)2012-10-28

Carleyy and I are making these now, and came across an issue. For our molds, we used plastic Solo cups - but when we poured in the candy, even after it had cooled to 200, it melted the plastic. Is there a particular type of plastic that's safer to use, and has a higher heat-tolerance?

dan (author)kazmataz2012-11-25

don't use foam. notice in step 5 i put the cup into ice water so it wouldn't melt. use Polypropylene (recycle code 5), that has a melting point around 250F and is not harmful if it does melt.

james4 (author)2012-06-01

Why do I have a strange feeling that this isn't a good idea?

wirestyle (author)2011-11-04

where exactly does the 3v battery go? the bottom of the pen shaft? is there any way to get everything to fit inside of it? someone mentioned using 3 smaller batteries, would that work?

dan (author)wirestyle2011-11-07

i just taped it to the bottom of the pen shaft.

wirestyle (author)2011-11-04

you can buy lead free solder. it uses tin instead of lead

hugoop (author)2011-10-31

Nice instructable, nice nose.

DarkRubyMoon (author)2011-10-27

I could be wrong, but don't the LED wires contain lead? I just ask because I'm currently working on a little electronics kit and it has a warning to wash hands due to lead contents of the wires.

Yeah, I work with Electronics for a living, and I would never suggest putting an electrical component into something you eat... and also I would not suggest getting Solder anywhere near food.

This Instructable is cool... but doesn't look too healthy

dan (author)RobertRobbie2011-10-27

a lot of electronic parts are lead free because the sane parts of the world made lead electronics illegal 10 years ago. but its true that in the US, you may not know what you got. so don't lick all the way down to the LED!

Skymeat (author)dan2011-10-30

The amount of lead in here is minuscule. I wouldn't sweat it. I handle mercury arsenic and lead in my everyday life and regularly take heavy metal tests to confirm my exposure. Needless to say with a bit of precaution you aren't in danger. And with this there are only a couple possible leads you could potentially suck and get any exposure. I'd worry much more about berries picked anywhere near a road that existed when leaded gas was still around.

RobertRobbie (author)dan2011-10-27

It is true that most electronic parts should be lead free... but in most cases they aren't completely, anyway the main thing I'm thinking about it chemicals they use to make the leds and also the fact that you are soldering lead directly onto the led anyway.

MikrySoft (author)RobertRobbie2011-10-30

parts are almost always lead-free. Solder on the other hand... But in this project it's not a problem - you don't lick anything other than plastic bulb of the led.

dan (author)dan2011-10-27

I added a warning about this to the project

kerikins (author)2011-10-30

Oh my goodness!!! I crack up at how many people try to 'sabotage' the submitting author of the great ideas on this site. It reminds me of the people whose 'JOB' on Craigslist is to scan ads and 'FLAG' every ad that doesn't cross it's t's and dot it's i's......people...these ideas may have been found elsewhere and the submitter is thankfully for us putting it somewhere for- WE/US the people who have NOT seen it before. This is not SCIENCE class or some members only/ squaddies club This is not about inventing the 'first' this that or the other thing or a Tesla/ Edison competition ...This is for the creative and curious minds who may never have been privy to all of these delicious and exciting projects made user friendly ideas!!!! Loosen up and enjoy the ride......Sukipookers P.S This is a brilliant idea, Thanks so much for putting it up on iinstructables......

tbibb (author)kerikins2011-10-30


drusilla (author)2011-10-30

This project is really cool, and using the right materials, I imagine it is probably harmless given one doesn't put the electronic parts in ones' mouth.

However, it seems like a bad idea to give these to children, especially really young children, given they tend to have a low body mass, are still developing, can be more susceptible to certain chemicals that may be present, and are more likely to do something like chew on the led if not carefully supervised. The stuff in the LED is definitely not healthy. And even lead-free solder isn't safe to eat--certainly the stuff I've bought in the past is covered in numerous warning stickers.

Lonetengu (author)2011-10-30

I would have used a more cloudy lollipop recipe for more light diffusion but other then that awesome job.

csprinkle (author)2011-10-30

This really is clever, but lead, or no lead, I'd be concerned that it's a choking hazard...

madwheels37 (author)2011-10-28

Everyone on here is degrading it. What the heck, nice way to be encouraging. Nay-sayers. Who cares where he got it from, and if you're worried about getting lead poisoning from it I'll tell you a secret how not to get it. Don't effing make it or eat it ddeerrrrrr. Awesome project. I'm sure the amount of lead in here won't make me expire.

gotsparkles (author)madwheels372011-10-30

GREAT comment! I most enjoy the comments that keep negativity to a minimum. At least let's ask questions (ie: this seems to be a repeat of one I saw on another site / book / etc.), rather than assuming the worst.
Also, there is lead free solder, for those who are concerned about the lead in solder. I use it to make jewelry, and it is approved in US for children's jewelry (as they have a tendency to chew on stuff even when older than toddlers.).
Just found this site, and am loving the creativity!!

rcisneros (author)2011-10-30

Couldn't you use (3) 1.5v button cells? They make them much smaller then you could put them in the handle with a push button switch at the bottom. You could then use a multicolored LED.

Cool project. I so want to make them, but my kid isn't even 2 yet. Maybe I'll make them for myself.

iScience (author)2011-10-28

This is from 'The Hungry Science Handbook'!!! You stole pictures from it? Because it looks exactlly like it

dan (author)iScience2011-10-28

I created this project originally for the Hungry Science Handbook. If you read the chapter on this project I think you will find my name there.

rcisneros (author)dan2011-10-30

LOL! That is awesome. Best slam ever.
Love the project.

iScience (author)dan2011-10-29

Oh Really? Im so sorry for mis-understanding! Cool project though

batonas (author)2011-10-28

looks great

ChrysN (author)2011-10-27


Kiteman (author)2011-10-27

How about a version with a switch?

dan (author)Kiteman2011-10-27

to turn it off just remove the coin cell. you want it very simple since you are just going to eat it! i guess you could re-use the handle and LED in a new lollipop later.

mischka (author)2011-10-27

Looks cool. I guess my 3yo nephew would love it.

About This Instructable




Bio: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.
More by dan:Giant Xylophone made from Bed SlatsEasy Mothers Day Fudge (with small child)Mosaic Tile Pixel Art Car
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