This Instructable will show you how to make an awesomely Spooky LED Skull Night Light or give you nightmares! Even better yet...BOTH! Your kids will either love this night light or it will keep them awake all night. Well not all night, maybe six hours into the night.
If it is too spooky as a night light, then how about just a cool piece to add to your Halloween Decor?
The magic making this a nightlight is the circuitry in the LED lighting.
Please Vote for this unique Night Light and Halloween Decoration
Step 1: Drill the Skull
Tools and Materials
- Cushion (placed between drill press table and glass skull)
- Drill Press (preferred instead of power drill, much more stable and easy to handle)
- 1/4 inch Diamond Grit Hole Saw
- Leather gloves to protect your hands from broken glass. (just in case)
- The Glass Skull
Found this glass skull bottle in a local craft store in the off season for only $2. Now I think the cost is about $4 at the local store. Watch out for Amazon.. sellers there are asking about $15!
While I do not have much experience drilling glass, I have learned to look for a hidden thinner area to drill when possible. I would have preferred to drill the hole in the bottom of the skull to hide the wiring, but that would be over a 1/4 inch of drilling. An earlier attempt of drilling the bottom of a bottle with near same thickness resulted in a broken bottle. Hence, drill the backside where the glass is not as thick. Glass on the back was less than 1/4 inch thick.
I prefer to place a cushion of material (old sweat shirt) on the drill press table to absorb a little pressure from the drill bit pressing on the glass while drilling. It also protects the glass from getting scratched.
- Place cushion material on press table.
- Insert 1/4 inch diamond hole saw.
- Check press depth to be sure you will drill through the glass.
- Set Skull under hole saw where you would like to drill.
- Hold skull firmly with gloved hand.
- Start drill and beginning drilling slowly.
- Do not apply much pressure, let the saw do the work.
- Pour a little water onto drilling area every 20 seconds or so to clear dust and keep glass cool.
- Repeat water and drilling until through glass.
- Rinse glass dust away.
At a slow patient pace it took about 2 minutes to drill the hole.
Step 2: Dry Fit Switch
Tools and Materials
- Drill Press
- 1/2 inch drill bit
- Dremel Rotary Tool
- Dremel Sanding Drum
- Push button latching switch
- 3x5 inch craft box
I had a small craft box that I messed up from a previous project. There were already two holes, but not big enough for the switch. I enlarged the hole for switch with 1/2 inch drill. I tappered the hole for switch mounting nut.
- Drill 1/2 inch hole in back of box for switch mounting.
- User Dremel sanding drum to make taper inside portion of hole large enough to accommodate switch nut.
- Dry fit and mount switch into the box with switch nut.
Step 3: Dry Fit Look
Just showing how things will fit together with switch dry fitted into the back of the box.
Step 4: Paint
Paint and Clear Coat
- Used a glossy black spray primer/paint on the outside and inside of the box
- Wait 20 minutes and give a second coat.
- Let dry overnight.
- Used gloss clear coat to give a protective finish. 2-3 coats should do.
Step 5: Switch Pigtails
I like to add pigtail leads to all my switches when working with low voltage projects. Many times I am working in tight confined spaces, and having the extra wire to work with makes connections much easier. You can always cut your leads shorter if desired. Much easier to remove wire than it is to add wire.
- Cut 2 pieces of small gauge wire about 4-6 inches in length.
- Strip the ends and twist the strands together.
- Thread one wire through each terminal.
- Twist the wire to secure to lead.
- Solder wire to terminals.
- Add heat shrink insulation to each wire/terminal.
Switch is ready for mounting inside the box.
Step 6: Mount Switch to Box
Here I will mount the switch with pigtails to the box.
- Remove nut and lock washer from switch
- Feed pigtails through back and into box.
- Secure switch with lock washer and nut.
Step 7: Wiring Connections From LED String to Switch
Tools and Materials
- Battery Power LED String (timer circuit: 6 hours on/18 hours off)
- Wire cutters and strippers
- Nylon Crimp Connectors
- Sharpie Marker
- Unwind LED string.
- To ensure proper polarity, mark one of the two insulated wires with magic marker. This will help ensure you do not cross wires and short the circuit when reconnecting unmarked wires and connectin lights to switch.
- Cut the insulated wire in the middle of where you used marker.
- Separate the for wires by pulling apart at insulation.
- Strip all four wires.
- Twist together and reconnect the unmarked wires with a nylon connector.
- Twist together and connect one of the marked wires to a switch wire with a nylon connector.
- Do again with the other marked wire and switch wire.
- Switch on battery pack.
- Switch on main switch at back of box.
- Lights are on.
If you your lights do not go on, check your connections and be sure both battery pack and button switch at back of box are on.
Step 8: Feed Lights to Skull
Before you begin feeding of the lights, use a 1/8 inch drill bit to drill a hole in the cork. This hole will be used to secure light string in top of bottle so that the lights do not fall to bottom.
- Drill hole in bottle cork.
- Feed all lights from inside box up through hole in top of box.
- Pull lights all the way through then shut box.
- Feed lights into bottom of skull through top of bottle.
- Feed the full string through top.
- Insert end of light string through cork and twist off a knot to secure wire in cork.
- Feed lights back into top of bottle.
Step 9: Glue Wire and Skull
Tools and Materials
- Hot Glue Gun
- Hot Glue Sticks
- Apply an ample amount of glue to hole in bottom of skull to secure wire.
- Apply an another ample amount of glue around the perimeter of skull bottom
- Set skull on top of box to adhere to box and press firmly for about 10 seconds.
- Let glue dry for about 1 minute before moving.
Excuse the lack of pictures when using the glue gun. Need two hands to manage glue gun and skull. :-)
IT IS DONE!
Step 10: Complete!
Light The Night
- Turn Battery Pack to On or Timer
- Turn box switch On
I really have been enjoying coming up with ways to use these micro LED strings. See some of my other Instructables for other uses. They are relatively inexpensive and really easy to work with.
Night Light Feature
The cool thing about this LED set is the built in timer function. The battery pack switch is set to either On / Off / or Timer. The Timer function allows for a night light feature. The skull becomes a night light when battery pack is set to Timer and box switch is turned on. The lights will then be on for 6 hours then off for 18 hours.
MAKE IT! and Please Vote!