Introduction: Mini Christmas Tree (With Lights!)

Picture of Mini Christmas Tree (With Lights!)

This mini Christmas tree is perfect to add holiday spirit to any desk and could also make a good gift (At least I hope so! I plan to make more and give one to my brother and one of my LED obsessed friends). It can be made using scrap materials from other projects, and is really easy to put together.

I made this because I wanted a Christmas decoration for my desk. I searched the site, and none of the projects had exactly what I wanted. There was an LED Christmas Tree, but it was too tech looking. Keith-Kid also had a cool looking tree, but it didn't have any lights at all (and it wasn't green). My tree is sort of a mix between the other ones.

Feedback is always welcome, and your Vote in the decoration contest (or the Gift contest) would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, and enjoy!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

This is a pretty easy project to make so you don't need that many materials. I had a lot of these lying around unused. Even if you didn't have them lying around it would be easy to salvage from other projects.

MATERIALS

A lot of Green Pipe Cleaners (I had a lot of these sitting around from old crafts. I think I ended up using like 10, but it's better to have more rather than less)

1 Cone Shaped cup (Like a snow cone cup)

1 Base (As you saw in the first step, I used a car wax lid. It ended up looking pretty nice)

3 Green (or Bi-Color) LEDs (I used Bi-Color just because I had them left over from a mood light project. Green would work just as well)

3 68 Ohm Resistors

3 22 Ohm Resistors

3 Red LEDs

1 2 AA Battery Pack (You could make your own with electrical tape, but I had a few lying around)

1 Switch *Not Pictured* (This isn't totally necessary, but it makes it easier to turn on and off.)

Some Wire

TOOLS

Hot Glue Gun

Soldering Iron and Solder

Wire Cutters

Wire Strippers

Step 2: Put the LEDs in the Cup

Picture of Put the LEDs in the Cup

The first thing I did was put the LEDs into the cup. I just poked them through and then bent the leads to keep them in place. Make sure that you leave enough space for the pipe cleaner to wrap under the LED so that there's no gap in the green-ness of the tree.

Also, space the lights out so they look nice.

Don't worry if they fall over a little bit now. You can hot glue them straight in a little bit (Just not before you solder. Otherwise the glue will melt from the heat of the iron.)

Step 3: Solder the Lights

Picture of Solder the Lights

Soldering the lights is actually a lot easier than it looks. What I did is run all 6 LEDs in parallel off of one 3V battery pack. I used LEDCalculator.com to find what resistor I would need for each LED. I found out that I would need 62 Ohm Resistors for the Red lights, and 20 Ohm resistors for the green. I rounded up and decided to use 68 Ohm, and 22 Ohm.

Here's how I soldered it.

First, I heavily tinned the leads of the resistors. Then I soldered a resistor to the positive leg of each LED.

Next, I heavily tinned the leads of several two inch long wires. I soldered one wire to the negative leg of each LED.

Third, I connected all of the resistors together.

Fourth, I connected all of the negative wires together.

Finally, I Soldered the positive end of the battery pack (with switch) to the positive legs of the LEDs. I soldered the negative end of the battery pack to the negative legs of the LEDs. You can then just shove the battery pack inside the tree. There should be room.

It sounds complicated, but is actually easy. Also, don't worry about burn marks on the cup. You won't be able to see them from the outside.

**NOTE** Once you're done soldering, coat everything with hot glue, so no connections short.

Step 4: Start Wrapping the Tree (And Add Snow)

Picture of Start Wrapping the Tree (And Add Snow)

Now that the lights are working you can start making the cup look like a real tree!

First, attach the tree to a base. I just used a car wax container. It was round, green, and looked nice enough to work.

Now, all you need to do is take the pipe cleaners and start wrapping them around and hot gluing them to the cup.

Try not to use too much hot glue. If you do it will look sloppy. Also, if you do use too much, try to get rid of it before it gets rock hard and is impossible to pull off.

If there are any spaces on the tree that you leave empty, you can cut a small bit of pipe cleaner out and stick it there once you're finished.

OPTIONAL AREA BELOW

This is purely optional, but I wanted it to look like there was snow on the tree. Once I got rid of all of the unintentional hot glue, I started adding very small bits of hot glue to the tree. In real life it looked nice and sort of snowy. On the camera it didn't look so great. Try it which ever way you want.

Step 5: Congrats, You Have a Tree!

Picture of Congrats, You Have a Tree!

Now you have your own mini-Christmas Tree! I think these look great when it's sort of dark. The LEDs look really cool in that lighting.

As always, feedback is appreciated. Upload a picture of your tree if you make one, and tell me how it went. If you have any criticisms those would be appreciated too.

If you like it, please vote for it in the holiday decoration contest!

Comments

porcupinemamma (author)2013-12-15

Pure genius! it is one of a kind, and lots of fun to look at! Way to go!

racoontnn (author)2012-12-13

Perhaps the most amazing Christmas tree, which is described on your site - be sure to do it.

raykholo (author)2009-01-05

why do u need resistors if ur running the leds off of 3 volts?

Gjdj3 (author)raykholo2009-01-05

It helps to increase the life of the LED. The LEDs are rated under 3 volts, so even though they technically could run off 3 without resistors they wouldn't last very long.

raykholo (author)Gjdj32009-01-05

good idea however, arent standard leds rated to go 100,000 hours on 3 volts? i dont think youll need more than that

starrymirth (author)raykholo2010-11-27

Don't forget that often it is current that destroys components, not only voltage.
We call them "current-limiting resistors" in our physics course, for that reason.

The LED's doesn't have much impedance/resistance, and so even if the voltage isn't so high the current could be over the LED's comfort zone.

(And from personal experience, you don't really want to burn them out - they don't smell very good at all...)

raykholo (author)starrymirth2010-11-27

An electronics-filled year and a half later. I've figured that out by now :) And I'm now designing my own embedded electronic systems, all with proper resistors in series with my LED's. :) Still, thanks for taking the time to comment, I'll be sure to pass your words on to any beginners I come across.

starrymirth (author)raykholo2010-11-28

Ah, well then you know it all already, and probably more than me.

My boyfriend is really the electronics designer in the house, I just love the soldering part (I'm his cheap labour for assembling his latest creations...)

ptncm99 (author)2009-04-06

Does anybody know a way to plug in your lights? I'm sure there has got to be a way to reduce the amount of electricity to safely run a ton of these LEDs.

Gjdj3 (author)ptncm992009-04-08

I think theres an instructable published pretty recently about running LEDs off of AC.

ptncm99 (author)2009-04-06

Without always having to rely on batteries that is....

watermelonhead (author)2009-01-01

cool, i like the lights on the tree. : ]

Gjdj3 (author)watermelonhead2009-01-01

Thanks! Your vote would be greatly appreciated if you liked it.

watermelonhead (author)Gjdj32009-01-01

i already voted, this is really cool. hope you win! :]

BalintRules (author)2008-12-22

You said you don't need a lot of materials.

Gjdj3 (author)BalintRules2008-12-23

I don't think that it really is that many compared to other projects. The packaging is a lot of the size.

ChrysN (author)2008-12-19

What a sweet little tree, neat idea!

Gjdj3 (author)ChrysN2008-12-19

Thanks!

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