My son and his cousins were excited to see the new Star Wars movie over the holiday break, and the night before we went I was inspired to make light sabers for all the kids (okay, and for the adults ;) ). What I came up with was simple and cheap at less than $1 per lightsaber. And they're small enough (about 10.5") that they can easily be stored in a back pocket or be sneaked into a theater in a purse. They won't last forever (if nothing else, the batteries will die eventually), but they look cool, especially in the dark. Don't be surprised if you find yourself making your own lightsaber sounds as you swing these around.
Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools
- Finger lights (two per lightsaber, in appropriate colors; one light forms the base, the other merely supplies the cap at the end of the straw; as DarylM11 points out in the comments below, these can be bought for under $0.15 per light on Amazon)
- Milkshake straws (mine were "Good Cook" brand, 25 ct., 9" long, and 3/8" wide, found at a Walmart Neighborhood Market; picture of packaging above; they're hard to find online, but these would probably work)
- Electrical tape (black)
- Glue (any superglue or other glue that will hold plastic together well)
- Something to diffuse light in the straw (I pulled a piece of thin plastic from the innards of a broken store-bought light sword, from which I got enough to do about 10 lightsabers; transparency film, light diffusion paper, or even parchment paper or thin copy paper might work just as well or better)
- Scrap of white or reflective paper
- Paint or markers in lightsaber colors (to color in the scrap of paper blocking the tip of the straw)
- Small paintbrush
Tips from Commenters
- From CraftNucleus: Decorate the handle of your lightsaber with metallic sharpie pens.
- From dave.vaness.79: Acetate can be acquired at copy stores or office supply stores. Just ask for transparency film. Probably the thinner the better.
- Thanks to slimtb for suggesting I help readers visualize how big these lightsabers are. See "banana for scale" image above.
Step 2: Assemble the Blade and Light Source
- Trim the acetate slightly shorter than the straw and a few inches wide. Roll up the acetate and slide it into the milkshake straw (going around a pencil is useful in rolling it tight enough to fit in the straw). You could get away without the acetate, but it seems to help catch and diffuse the light throughout the lightsaber.
- Glue the bottom of the straw to the finger light. Leave sit until glue sets somewhat.
- Cut a small circle of white or reflective paper to fill the hole in an extra cap from another finger light.
- Glue this cap into the end of the straw opposite the finger light. (This keeps the light from shining directly at others' eyes through the end of the straw, and reflects some of the light back into the straw.)
- Paint or color in with a marker the paper circle now at the end of the straw to make it blend in with the color of the lightsaber.
Step 3: Tape Up the Handle
- Place small strips of electrical tape over the finger light and bottom of straw, strengthening the connection between them. Cut tape to fit dimensions of finger light and avoid blocking movement of switch.
- Decorate with colored tape, metallic sharpies, etc., if desired.
Step 4: Stage Epic Miniature Lightsaber Battles
Make a bunch and see who goes for the red ones first, revealing their allegiance to the dark side.
May the force be with you!