Picture of Make Your Own LED Wedding Table Cards
For years I've been drawn to stuff that lights up.  Maybe it was all the glow-in-the-dark toys they made back in the 80's.  Maybe I'm just part moth.  Whatever the case, when I started planning for my wedding I knew that I wanted to make something myself that was unique and lit up and looked awesome.

My original idea was to make some kind of LED centerpiece.  I was looking online and found that there are already many prefabbed setups to make LED centerpieces, but nothing really gave me the unique twist I was looking for.  Finally, I stumbled upon the idea for edge-lit holiday cards at Evilmadscientist.com which linked me to the LED Throwie Instructable, which in turn led me to all the other cool stuff on this site.  It was then that my idea for light up table cards was born.

Before delving any deeper, I'd like to give one cautionary note to anyone thinking of making these.  Though they are fairly simple to make, (I'm not the handiest or most artistic guy in the world, but I still pulled it off), they are time consuming.  You're getting married and there's a ton of other stuff you're worried about.  You need to make sure you start the project early and leave only the last steps for right before the wedding so you don't find yourself in a mad dash to finish these the night before your wedding.

In the end, the payoff can be pretty cool though.  Unless you're friends with one of the 150 or so people at my wedding, chances are your guests will never have seen anything like it before.  It's definitely a nice touch and something that people will even take home with them and still look at until the battery dies out.

Finally, remember this will not be very impressive if you're having a very bright reception.  For instance if your reception will be outside during the day, this won't really work.  If you get bright enough LEDs though you should be able to see it decently well even in a normally lit room and it will look fantastic in a dimly lit or dark room (like when they dim the lights when everyone's dancing etc.)

OK, now let's cut to the chase...
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HarishST1 year ago

Nice Project.. Worthy! But, Where to get Acrylic sheet & Polypropelene rod?

HarishST1 year ago

Nice Project.. Worthy! But, Where to get Acrylic sheet & Polypropelene rod?

espo2demo1 year ago
Hey I wanted to reach out to you and thank you for all your help, I know it's months later but I actually did this for my wedding and it came out amazing. I did a few things differently and made some mods. I went through a lot of prototypes in order to try and build on your concept. (the pull tabs weren't working out well for me it made the connection for the LED too loose when I pulled the tabs out and the light would flicker and sometimes go out completely) I added switches so I could make them all ahead of time and not worry about batteries dying or the pull tabs ruining the whole thing. Then I made mods to that idea and just used cr2032 cell battery holders and then all I had to do was slide a battery into each one the day of, I had the catering hall do this when they set up the card table instead of wasting my own time. It was real simple and worked amazing. I soldered the LED directly to the battery holder and krazy glued the battery holder to the inside of the binder clip and just bent the LED up into place. I cut the polypropylene rod out completely because I think my LEDs had a wider angle of light distribution so it actually lit the acrylic up perfectly without the rod and all I did was use the binder clip to hold the card in place. I still have prototypes with the switches, they're really cool, and I have some of the actual seating cards I used for the wedding still. Im not sure how I could show you pics if you're interested in seeing it. I'm happy I came across your instructable it gave me my own touch on our wedding day, and I wanted to say thanks. Oh and btw I suck at dremel engraving so I used a KNK Zing machine for engraving it came out so professional looking that way. You gotta see the sample I did of me dremel engraving vs the actual finished product.
Can you send me a picture of your modifications? robertbischoff2562@gmail.com
I know nothing about electronics but can you put an rgb led in there and it'll still change colors or do you need other things to make it change colors
you need another circuit to make it change color. Most simply, a microcontroller and a single resistor are all you need. In total, $0.86 for the microcontroller and a penny for the resistor. The other thing worth mentioning is that you would need some soldering. If you are more interested I could send you a schematic and the if you really want, the program to make it run. Cool idea :)
Hey what microcontrollers are you using that would be so cheap? I am very interested in doing that for my wedding.
I would use an attiny13 like this one http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Atmel/ATTINY13A-SH/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMsgSGrx0WqTbM6D4zKh2wZJ

I have bought them for as little as $0.25 each for a 100. Buying in bulk saves a lot. Other chips would work too but this is the easiest to work with in my opinion. It is also very low profile and can be hidden inside the clip still. It looks small, but it is totally easy to solder still.
As for the RGB LED, I would order those in bulk too. Instead of paying outrageously high prices for RGB ones, you can bring them down to a few cents each.
mahajan2 years ago
how have you placed LED ports on battery?????
jlee jiawen2 years ago
Hi I'm just curious to know. What other materials could i get to replace the Polypropylene Rods
hi i need the schematic for controlling rgb led through microcontoller can you send it to vignesh220ece@gmail.com
espo2demo3 years ago
Hey I know my post is about a year or two off but I came across your instructable while searching for an LED cube instructable and coincidentally I just got engaged to my gf back in February. I am looking to use this idea for both my engagement party this summer and wedding for next summer however I already purchased the acrylic from rid out (after a serious amount of looking around no one was as professional and cheap). My problem is the website listed for the LEDs doesn't work anymore apparently, and I found some other websites but I don't trust the sources because the websites look real shady. Do you happen to know of anywhere else cheap to order the LEDs from? I'm probably using white (cold light not warm light) if this doesn't look good I'm probably going with Blue, so I don't want to take my chances because I'll probably be making several purchases. Any help would be greatly appreciated, and by the way this was a really clever idea.
This is probably too late, but for anyone else wondering this I buy most of my LEDs from either mouser or tayda electronics. They are both very legit, cheap, fast shipping, and high-quality.
JerseyJ (author)  espo2demo3 years ago
I honestly haven't purchased any LEDs in a while so I can't give any advice beyond the calculator I mentioned in the post. You might want to try asking the question on the general forums or looking at some of the other LED 'ibles for a recommendation though. Obviously there are a ton of projects with LEDs on here so I'm sure someone can recommend a good vendor.

Sorry I couldn't help, but best of luck with the project!
Hey, thanks for the quick response... I found a spot pretty good prices but the LEDs aren't water clear is that an issue? they are 55 degree viewing angle and 4,000mcd .
Onyx Ibex2 years ago
I made a few of these today but found that either the light doesn't diffuse enough or I had the engrave a lot deeper than expected. Did you have this problem too? Yours looks much prettier...
Onyx Ibex2 years ago
Squash2 years ago
Awwwsome! Unique idea. We had some friends marry recently and it seems as though they are mind-readers because they used our song choice, game choice and other ideas we had already discussed for our possible, future wedding. Now we are on the hunt for differnet ideas so not to be known as the copying couple. Lol. This is a GREAT idea we will add to our new selections. Thank you!
patchrick3 years ago
Alright, first I want to say this is a FANTASTIC idea and your parts list and instructions are VERY helpful. That being said, I'm kinda stuck on this step. Well, sort of. I have it all assembled and it lights fine. But when trying to do the pull tab setup, there's just too much grip where the clip holds onto the leads and battery, and it moves the battery along with the tab. I tried paper and plastic with the same results. Any suggestions? I'm testing my LEDs tonight to see how long they will last, but I'd kinda rather have the pull tabs so that they can be brought to the reception venue before the day of if necessary.
hailster3 years ago
Awesome idea! We're currently in the process of planning our wedding and when we were trying to figure out how to decorate the tables this Instructable popped into my head. I remembered reading it when it was first posted and thinking how neat it was but never thought I'd be able to make them.

I can't wait to get started on this project.
these are definitely a great way to put them together. I have made some similar before. however to save time on this step ... my husband & I have a laser engraving business ... where we can laser engrave all your cards for you, and laser cut them to the size and shape you prefer. it's always an option and may even cost the same amount that you may pay for just the acrylic cut alone. just wanted to let you know that there are more options out there, that may make it easier for the newlyweds and still be able to do DIY projects all in one.
Don't bother with LazersEdgeEngraving, poor communication if they ever get back to you
Paulybo4 years ago
JerseyJ, thanks again for this instructable. I just got married on June17th, and these place cards were a huge hit. It was a Friday evening wedding in a modern space and it fit in perfectly. I will upload some photos once I receive them. It was well worth the effort as many guests took them home as wedding favors. The lights I tested stay lit for over a week (although they get dim after a few days). I pulled out tabs inbetween the battery and light about 6 hours before the wedding started and they were just as bright at the space. If your event space is very bright, you wont get the same effect as a darker room. I saw several photos on facebook the next day of just the place cards. Thanks again, Paul
JerseyJ (author)  Paulybo4 years ago
Awesome! Definitely would like to see some pics when you get the chance.
Ciege6664 years ago
Has anyone tried to do this with Acid Etching ? Just had the idea and it might be much much easier and quicker with a similar effect.
arbita24 years ago
good-thank you
mpili4 years ago
im doin this project for physics :)
Thinking about doing this for my wedding, really cool idea. Would love to see some photos of them being used on the day.
vyncynt4 years ago
simple, practical, very cool.
thanks for sharing.
FyreAntz4 years ago
Rediculously kewl 'Ible! Thanks for sharing!
The most clever ideas are the simple ones. Now, I can't wait for some one I know to get married so I can jump in to assist with this idea. It would normally be impossible to convice a guy to assist on a wedding but this is proof that with the right mix of techology, you can get a guy to do anything.
This project looks fantastic, and I tried making one myself using blue LED lighting. Looks great! My fiancee liked the way my prototype one looked, and I am most likely going to make these for our wedding reception coming up next year.

The only modification I made was using a "rectangular LED" and just cutting a notch in the acrylic glass. I lined the bottom edge (covering the sides of the LED) with black electrical tape before putting the name plate in the clip/holder. The rectangular LEDs have really wide viewing angle and with a brightness of ~2500 mcd, they look great. This also eliminates the need for the plastic tubing to hold to card and LED. Thanks for the Instructable, and great job!
The House4 years ago
We need to talk. How do I sell this idea to my lady. She won't let me make anything for our wedding and I have the itch to do something on my own.
make one and show her how nice they look? When she sees them for real she may change her mind lol
n00b0014 years ago
Simple, but very nice.
JerseyJ (author) 5 years ago
Thanks for all the positive feedback everyone. If anyone actually decides to undertake this for their own wedding or special event feel free to ask questions.
Paulybo JerseyJ5 years ago
This was a great idea. This is one of the ideas I proposed to my fiancee that she was ok with. I might be interested in seeing photos of your event space. I was worried that if too bright, the LEDs might take over all the photos. I hope you didn't feel this was true.
JerseyJ (author)  Paulybo4 years ago
They're definitely not bright enough to overpower the event space. The LEDs will light up the cards nicely but the light is dispersed enough that it won't turn your tables into huge glowing masses of light.
Paulybo JerseyJ4 years ago
Once I got some fully assembled, I noticed the polypropylene tubing dimmed the LEDs from most viewing angles, but kept the place card very bright. I had put together a few by etching a place for the card directly onto the LED. I felt it held the card well enough, but the light was overpowering.
Paulybo4 years ago
I just wanted to say that these instructions are great. I can tell that you put a lot of thought into it and tried a lot of different options. I tried modifying things here or there and when it came down to it, your original ideas ended up being the best option.

The only things I found to save time or money was using a roll of foam mounting tape and buying polypropylene tubing from Ace Hardware or possibly Lowes. I got the 3/16" ID and 5/16 OD tube. It is rigid and holds the card well. In addition, it holds the LED very tight (although you cant push it up all the way up the tube). This tube has the same cloudy color that keeps the light from shining off to the sides.

I have spent about $85 on this project ($8/100 leds (ebay), $13/100 batteries (ebay), $59/155 name cards (ridout plastics - best prices), $5/2 rolls of foam tape (Walmart), and $1/5 feet of tubing (ACE). I was able to borrow the other equipment like the dremel. I believe I could make about 85 finished products ($1 per card), but I will probably only need to make 70.

Thanks again. Ill let you know if I need any more help, but your instructions are stellar.

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