Introduction: Mood Lighting Using Recycleables

Picture of Mood Lighting Using Recycleables

I wanted some mood lighting in my bedroom and wanted to try my hand at using LEDs, so here is an ambient light fixture that uses red LEDs and emits just enough light and looks really really cool. The whole design was influenced by a line of bulbs often found in dressing rooms. It is made up completely of recyclable materials such as cardboard from an ikea box and plastic arrowhead water bottles that I collect at my work place. GO GREEEN!

Vote for it for the Let It Glow contest!

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

1. Cardboard for the base - I cut some out from an IKEA box
2. Plastic water bottles (0.5L) - thinner plastic = better for this project
3. Spray paint/acryllic paint
4. Painter's tape
5. Red LEDs - 20mA at 3V
6. Battery holder + 3 AA batteries
7. Wire
8. Solder and soldering Iron,
9. Wire cutter
10. Super Glue
11. Some pointy tool to punch holes.

Step 2: Make Ready

Picture of Make Ready

Remove the caps on the bottles and crush them vertically from the top. I got this idea from the Colourful Bottle instructable at https://www.instructables.com/id/Colourful-Bottle/. Thanks mercurius. After crushing, put the cap on so it remains crushed.

Place the crushed bottles on to the aqua blue core like you want. I did a 10 rows by 4 columns arrangement to give it a modern look. Measure the length and breadth and divide into 40 squares. Find the center of each square and using a pointy tool, punch a hole at the center.

Clean the base with a dry cloth to get rid of any dust. Spray paint it the way you like it. I gave it a red border with an aqua blue core. Leave it to dry. Go crazy here!!! Paint it how you like it. You don't even have to paint it. You can cover it with different kinds of paper/fabric/newspaper ads that fill up our mailboxes... anything.. or just leave it like that.

Step 3: Sticky Sticky

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Uncap the bottles and punch a hole through their center using a pointy tool. Make sure each hole in the cap and the board is big enough to fit two wires.

Super glue the caps onto the board with their inside facing away from the board so you can screw the bottle on later. Let it dry.

Step 4: The LEDs Finally

Picture of The LEDs Finally

I used ledcalc.com to calculate the resistance needed for a 20mA, 3V led with a supply voltage of 3.6V. Turned out to be 33ohms for me. Carefully solder one end of the resistor to the positive leg of the LED. I twisted them first which made it easier to solder. Check the connection by hooking it up to a battery pack .

Cut about 6" long strips of electrical wire (I used green for -ve and blue for the +ve terminals). And solder a green to the short leg of the LED and the blue to the open end of the resistor. Insulate the two connections from each other using electrical tape. I made sure I twisted them far apart so they would never come in contact... but insulating is always the better thing to do.

When you have all the LEDs soldered, check the connections again to save you rewiring misery later. Thread the green and the blue wires thru each bottle cap and the cardboard so the LED + resistor sticks out from the cap. Screw the bottles on.

Step 5: Almost There!!!!

Picture of Almost There!!!!

Gently turn the whole base with bottles around so the backside is exopsed. Now comes the tedious part. Soldering everything together! Connecting in parallel is the way to go so connect all the greens and all the blues together. Tape it all up so there's no wires sticking out. Hook it up to the battery pack and you are done!

You can nail it directly to the wall or build a quick wooden frame for it an dthen hang it.. your call. Ping me if you have questions... And if you like the project, please rate it generously. I am entering it for the Let It Glow contest. Thanks!!

Comments

Kornelie (author)2010-04-08

 so creative! thumbs up!

artist without a medium (author)2009-05-10

Interesting...Thanks for the instructable. Now if only we could hook up an on / off switch.

should be very easy, just cut one of the power lines and splice in a switch

dcmania21 (author)2009-06-04

amazing idea, im so setting this up in my room! green leds and orange paint

aceitunita (author)2009-03-10

super cool. I love the asian look.

mercurius (author)2009-02-08

Wow perfect!!!

junits15 (author)2009-01-19

cool, it would be even cooler if you used rainbow flashing LEDs

tcup (author)2009-01-15

I love this! It recycles and is attractive. I think I have some grandkids who could have fun with this.

Pompom (author)2008-07-20

The back of it looks like it could be a piece of art, too! :-P I really like the innovative use of crushed bottles! Très cool!

coolhypno (author)2008-06-28

wow what a creative mind. keep it up

almondparaline (author)2008-06-28

this is freaking awesome... please make one for my room too :) - Mom

jazzlight (author)2008-06-24

very innovative, like the idea of using the bottels

Meranamkyahai (author)2008-06-24

this is cool

desichocolate (author)2008-06-24

how much time did it take you from concept to creation

it's really a 2-3 hour effort if you do it once. I had many many bottles all over my apartment dying to be transformed into art work and the instructable mentioned in step 1 and other led instructables i saw did it for me. So I'd say about a week from concept to creation

JimMorrison (author)2008-06-24

psychedelic

chummatp (author)2008-06-24

WOW...genius

dhruvg (author)2008-06-24

that is really cool!

vmehandru (author)2008-06-23

Looks pretty cool...

PKM (author)2008-06-22

Cardboard and glue lighting FTW! :) I like how you put in the extra effort for the border to make it look like a feature rather than just an unassuming little lamp. It even matches your cushions!

chaitu2k (author)PKM2008-06-23

fantastic... really cool... how abt the power for the led's?? ... if thts green then its just awesome... cheers

firegardeneve (author)chaitu2k2008-06-23

Thanks Chaitu2k. I could try and use solar power... will need some time tofigure that out.

Patrik (author)2008-06-22

Very creative - love it!

How many hours are you getting out of 3 AA's though? AAs are about 3000 mAh, but your 40 LEDs draw 40x20=800mA - so less than 4 hours?

firegardeneve (author)Patrik2008-06-23

Thanks Patrik. That's a good point.. didn't think about it. But it works for proof of concept. My next step is to make it use AC power so i can simply plug it into a walla socket.

purpleweedfarm (author)2008-06-22

trippy ... next upgrade should have a beat sensor between the power source and the leds ..

nehadadbhawala (author)2008-06-22

this is awesome and very earth friendly. I will not throw away another bottle again..I like it that it looks nice even when its not lit..its important that a lighting feature looks great in the morning as well as in the evening.