This instructable shows you how to construct a fairly simple LED light comprised of a wooden base, four single LED's, and an empty liquor bottle of your choice. This makes for a great decoration or gift for someone special. I added a gel-like substance to the inside of the bottle in order to refract/show the light better.
Step 1: Obtain Your Supplies
For this instructable, you will need:
Wood (I used pine)
An empty liquor bottle
Single LED's (I used four pink LED's) - Radio Shack
A mini switch - Radio Shack
Small gauge wire - Radio Shack
Batteries and battery connectors - Radio Shack
Resistors (I have - Radio Shack
Clear hair gel (CVS, Target, etc.) or synthetic clear lubricant (Home Depot)
Screws (Four #4 1" in length) - Home Depot
Jute rope (optional) - Jo Ann Fabrics, Michaels, any craft store
Hot glue gun
Solder iron and solder
Step 2: Make the Wooden Base
I used 3/4" thick pine wood for my base. I cut two squares that had a side length of 4.25". The side length of your wooden base will ultimately depend on the diameter of your liquor bottle. Once cut, I routed the edges of the top piece of the wooden base. Then, I routed an area in the top piece for the liquor bottle to sit in. I also routed out an area in the bottom piece of the base in order to hold the electrical components.
For the top part of the base where the bottle sits, I used my Dremel and a 1/4" straight routing bit along with the circle cutting jig. This allowed me to route out a perfect circle area for the bottle.
I used a SPDT mini slide switch on this light. On one side of the bottle part of the base, I used a very small drill bit and drilled four holes. I then used a small flat file to make a snug square fitting for the switch to slide into.
After cutting and routing your wood, use a fine grit sand paper to smooth out the surface of each piece.
Step 3: Stain and Coat the Base
Since I was using pink LED's, I thought a type of reddish stain would look nice/compliment the pink light. I used the Sedona Red wood stain by Minwax and applied one coat to each part of the base. I let it soak in for about 15 minutes and then wiped the remaining stain away. I use old white cotton shirts to apply the stain. I cut the shirts up into little squares and use them for applying and wiping the stain.
After staining the wood, coat each piece of the base with a protective layer such as a varnish or polyurethane. I used a gloss varnish from ACE Hardware (For a picture, go to the supply list). Note that is is becoming difficult to find the ACE brand varnishes in 1/2 pint cans. I called up a couple of stores and they told me they are no longer selling it in this size. However, you can easily get the Minwax polyurethanes, stain and gloss, in 1/2 pint cans from most hardware stores. I applied about three coats to each piece while sanding with fine grit sandpaper in between coats to give the base a nice glossy look.
Step 4: Wire the Electrical Components
Once the base is finished, now you may wire up the electrical components. Depending on how many LED's and the type of batteries you use, you will have to calculate using R = V/I to find out which resistor you should use. I showed my calculations in a picture above if you are unfamiliar with this. Also, if you are unfamiliar with wiring LED's to batteries, LEDs for Beginners is a great instructable to follow.
Once wired and checking to make sure your LED's light up, connect the two parts of the base together. I used four #4 1" brass wood screws from the Home Depot. Even the screws are not in sight, I like the brass screws since they compliment the red hue of the wood stain. Also, I added four rubber pads to the under side of the base to prevent it from marring or slipping on hard surfaces. In the future, the screws may be removed in order to replace the batteries.
Step 5: Fill the Bottle With Clear Gel
I decided to use clear hair gel inside the bottle in order to disperse the light better. The hair gel (see supply list) had the consistency of peanut butter which made it difficult to place inside the bottle. I used a plastic knife and a small rubber cooking spatula to accomplish this. After the bottle was filled, I placed it on the wooden base. I was going to hot glue gun the bottle to the base, but the bottle ended up being snug with the area I routed out so glue was not necessary.
Optional: I decided to add a piece of jute rope around the bottle of the bottle on the wooden base just as an added decoration. Just measure out a piece of jute rope around the bottle, cut, and connect the two ends together with hot glue gun.
Once finished, enjoy your new light!