Introduction: Pipe Cleaner LED Christmas Decorations
When I saw the LED projects on Instructables starting to pop up I figured hmmm: Red LED + brown fur covered wire (pipe cleaner) = Rudolf!
So I scrounged my junk project drawer found some LEDs, a battery clip (with a still functioning flat battery), my stack of pipe cleaners from previous crafts and my soldering supplies... I was off...
Step 1: Battery Pack...
The first thing to check is to see if the battery was strong enough to power the LED using a full pipe cleaner as a wire. I connected the battery to the pipe cleaner then to the LED. The LED lit up so I know this would work!
I figured the battery would be placed in the body and of course the red LED at the nose. So I started bending the pipe cleaner starting at the nose going around to the back. I needed it big enough to cover the battery pack and have the head somewhat proportional to the LED nose. At the point where the pipe cleaner reached the battery I cut it so there was enough to reach back to the bottom of the nose. I would be using a separate pipe cleaner for the legs and the antlers so it looked like it would be just enough.
Using my soldering iron I burnt off the fuzz of the pipe cleaner at the ends I needed to solder. I then soldered the pipe cleaner to the battery case leads.
Step 2: The Nose...
Next was to solder the nose.. Frst thing I did was to double check the orientation of the LED (it will only light with current going one way). Once I got the correct direction I soldered the one lead to the LED. It was a bit difficult to solder the twisted pipe cleaner wire to the LED as I needed the "fur" to be as close to the LED as possible without over-heating the LED (messed one up but I had extra LEDs). I then soldered the final lead to the LED and again checked it with the battery to make sure everything was still working (it was!).
Cutting a second brown pipe cleaner in half I created the front and back legs by wrapping the pipe cleaners around the bottom of the body and doubling them up for stability. Once everything was hooked up you can bend the pipe cleaners to give it the final shape ad to make sure it stands straight up.
Step 3: And a Tree...
As I was going through my junk drawer I found a strange 9V connector with a flashing red LED attached. Since I had a green pipe cleaner I figured I would make a Chritmas tree. (I had some other LEDs too but it turned out they were too small to be powered by the big battery and would not work so I just did a 1 light tree).
I unsoldered the LED from the connector and again burning off the fibers from the ends of the pipe cleaner I soldered the battery connector to the pipe cleaners and then to the red LED. The last step was to bend the pipe cleaner to the shape of a Christmas tree. By bending the pipe cleaner 90 degrees the battery would lay on its side so the tree would not be too high from the table.
Step 4: Done...
You now have two little LED Christmas decorations. I set them on my window sill so they can be seen from both inside and out. The batteries have been going for over a week 24 hours a day and are still going strong. When I take down my decorations I will remove teh batteries and back them away for next year. Next year I want to make a Santa & Frosty each with a glowing nose.
Hope this has inspired you to light up your holidays!
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