Milkshake Straw Lightsabers

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Introduction: Milkshake Straw Lightsabers

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.

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Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

Materials

  • 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)

Tools

  • Scissors
  • 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!

4 People Made This Project!

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62 Comments

something cool to do is to put screws inside the straws and tape the ends so that when you flick them, it gives a cool lightsaber effect. I've done it before :)

I'm concerned about kids taking anything making light beams and shining them in others' eyes, friends and animals alike. Many kids are doing that with laser pointers and ending up blinding totally or partially others' eye/eyes. Parents should be aware of this problem which could happen to any innocent creature. I hope Eric shouldn't take this note against this 'Ible.

3 replies

No worry, if you and your family put down specific rules about it anyway, it will most likely be fine.

I appreciate the concern, as I wouldn't
want to put any child in danger. But, as Marymac states, the lightsabers
described here, where the light is created by an LED finger light, do
not pose the kinds of risks associated with things like laser pointers.
Here is a good article on the difference and the potential for damage:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-a-pocket-laser-damage/

The cap on the lightsaber does block the excess light and reflect it back into the straw somewhat, but this was basically an aesthetic choice, not because it was a safety hazard.

The lights are not lasers but LED lights. Plus there is a cap on the end of the "blade" to make a better effect in the blade. I don't see an issue with it if properly made. If there is no cap on the blade, it won't be so good a lightsaber.

since I have some diffused,clear and bright l.e.d.s of different sizes I'm going to try this using the straws from McDonalds. I think they are wide and long enough. If not, you could also use the slurpee straws from 7/11(if you one in your area) if not you can go to wawa's or any place that sells slurpee type drinks. The straws even come with a handy spoon type tail and I think it could serve as a way to hold the batteries. I ask if you're going to use these straws to please ask the clerk to sell them to you. I'm certain they would allow you to take a few but it's always better to be safe and honest.

I'll post mine when they are done.

1 reply

I wonder if the spoon end of slurpee straws might be able to serve as the "cap" on the sabers if it was folded and glued back into the straw, which would save needing a second finger-light just to make the cap. I look forward to seeing your results or even your own instructions for making them differently.

these are awesome.

i am gonna hang em in my room

these are awesome.

i am gonna hang em in my room

I made these for my grandchildren. They are so cute. I found the white translucent straws from Dairy Queen worked the best. Thanks for the great idea.

1 reply

You're welcome. Glad you found the instructions useful.

thanks, now I'm thinking I have to make a Darth Maul saberstaff from two red finger lights pointed opposite directions and taped together.

2 replies

that's an EPIC idea!

Thanks ericmason I can't wait to do this EPIC project with my friends and family! It's so swag #U_R_SO_SMART

Simple, fun and clever. Thanks for sharing!

Also, yes, making the lightsaber noises while you wave these around is definitely a must. :)