Introduction: Stacked Glass LED Light

Picture of Stacked Glass LED Light

The base for this project was in a box of old boat stuff and was the inspiration for this light.  You could make a similar base using .060 copper sheet, notching the corners, forming the copper over a piece of wood and soldering the corners.  It might even look cool to just make a 1" cut at each corner then form the base and lap the "flap" over the corner and then solder it up.

Step 1: Whatcha Gonna Need

50 pcs. .250" thick X 3" square.
One (1) copper base 3.625" square X 1" deep.
One (1) 110V AC to 12V DC  generic power supply. 
One (1) female 12V plug to match above male plug
One (1) Ultra-bright cyn (color) Luxeon star LED
One (1) High Power LED driver  (Velleman K8078)
Some 16ga. copper wire
Silicone glue

Step 2: The Glass

Picture of The Glass

The glass is simply 1/4" scrap glass cut into 3" squares.  The light used 50 pcs. so it is 12 1/2" tall plus the 1"+ base for an overall height of about 13 1/2".  The glass must be very clean and dried with acetone.  The edges are raw so watch your fingers cuz they are super sharp and can cut you.

Step 3: The Base

Picture of The Base

Here we see the raw base as well as a shot of the hole for the LED and the female electrical plug.  The holes are drilled and the electrical plug hole was hand filed.  Be carefull drilling copper, it will "grab" the bit and the whole damn thing can get away from you in an instant.

Step 4: The Electronics

Picture of The Electronics

A high intensity cyn (color) Luxeon Star LED was used and driven by a Velleman K8071 1W/3W power LED driver.  A heat sink was attached to the back of the LED but that may be overkill because the mass of the copper is sufficient to dissipate any heat.   The driver costs 16 bucks! and is in kit form.  There maybe a cheaper and easier way to drive this LED and it would be great if someone out there in cyber space could fill us in???????  Anyway, all these electrical goodies came from All Electronics in Van Nuys, California.

Step 5: Assembly of Base

Picture of Assembly of Base

It's kinda hard to see but the original base had holes in all four sides, one of them was turned into the female plug but the other three looked pretty ugly so some little copper wire snails were hand formed and soldered over the holes.  Finally the LED, the driver, and the female plug were put in place with silicone glue.

Step 6: A Stack of Glass

Picture of A Stack of Glass

You may be thinking;  "shouldn't the glass pieces be glued together?"  This opens up a BIG can of worms.  First of all just stacking the glass up works perfectly fine and how often are you going to move it anyway?  To dust it you simply remove the top piece and clean it.  Sadly it is not easy to glue the pieces together because you get bubbles in the glass which ruins the look of the light.  Many types of glass glue as well as transparent silicon were tried along with several methods of clamping, nothing really worked.  There is a way but it involves the building of a special containment cage as well as a specalized UV curing glass.  You may even want to design some sort of copper wire containment cage or ?????  This light has been in use for 4 months without incedent but we have not have an earthquake either.   


tz1_1zt (author)2011-02-28

Really beautiful lamp, great idea. I imagine it looks even better in the dark, do you have any night time photos? Ah, imagine......

Imagine there's no children or unhelpful commentators,
It's easy if you try,
No troublesome grabbing hands or knit-picking,
Around us potentially unsafe and fun Instructibles,
Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace and building interesting Stacked Glass LED Lamps.

You may say that I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one

ilpug (author)tz1_1zt2011-02-28

Pure poetry.

stormthirst (author)2011-02-28

If you have children in your house - not even your own children - anyone's children then you will figure out a way to stop 1ft of glass shards from doing some serious damage.

Personally I'd build a cage around the glass - perhaps out of copper like the base - or maybe steel and then copper plate the steel. Copper plating is ludicrously easy with copper sulphate, though it won't be shiny or flat

molto_jazz (author)stormthirst2017-03-30

You're right! ??

skaar (author)stormthirst2011-03-12

if it's tempered glass, the edges wouldn't be terribly sharp in the first place, walking on tempered glass shards barefoot is pretty similar to walking on crushed stone, feels terrible, but won't do any real damage.

there's glue, that would keep it stuck together, even if it were beaten on with an iron pipe, heck, even plain silicone caulking would do that. like someone said, the edges of non-tempered glass could be heat ablated(blowtorch on the edges), but it wouldn't look as nice, or be that much safer.

what i would go for, is different shapes... maybe spacers of different materials or sizes, a small blowtorch and vacuum vessel could be used to holes for an led stick to go through, for brighter light. with a hole through, a rod could be put through to make it a hanging lamp.

then there's the possibility of using a glass cutting hole saw, use an abrasive circular saw to cut squares with curved L shaped cuts inside, add wedge shaped spacers, a pot lid with a hole, perhaps a glass one. make two round ones, fit them together, face to face, put a circular fluorescent tube inside, rough the glass lid for frosting.

skaar (author)skaar2011-03-12 banged together something... and it looks sooo retro... if i could figure out how to put the lights inside, it'd glow, but, nogo.

pddonovan2011 (author)skaar2011-11-07

There are reasonably priced diamond edged hole saws that cut through glass. i use them to install protein skimmers in glass Aquariums. Buy one, go slow, use lots of oil and it cuts through very nicely'

pddonovan2011 (author)skaar2011-11-07

As a suggestion! Place a Quartz Crystal Rock under the stack, hang a green, red or blue laser directly overhead down the center of the stack so it is dispersed through out the stack by the refraction of the quartz crystals. Internal lighting that originates from outside the stack! I'll bet the light would dance all over the room! The color of the tempered glass should nullify the damaging wave length of the laser light!

mginster (author)skaar2011-07-23

Have you read what there has been written in that picture - this means it is rendered by some kinda software - seems not to be real.

skaar (author)mginster2011-07-28

you mean the link to the one i made in sketchup?

bobelon (author)mginster2011-07-24


trustr (author)stormthirst2011-03-01

A solution for this problem would be to take a gas burner to round the edges

(... is this proper english?)

mrmerino (author)trustr2011-03-01

yes, but is the burner supposed to melt the edges together?

trustr (author)mrmerino2011-03-02

it's worth a try :-)
when you burn the edges the whole thing could stick together

but you have to consider the tension of the glass when it's cooling down

mankysteve (author)trustr2011-03-03

You trying building the stack in a mould and pouring an epoxy resin around it

mrmerino (author)mankysteve2011-03-03

what if you spread a very thin layer of epoxy between the layers as you build?

trustr (author)mrmerino2011-03-09

hmmm... why epoxy, i think the adhesion of oil (I dont know how fast water evaporates between two layers of glass) would do it, too

could somebody try it? i dont have enough glass tiles at home and I dont want to break a window ^^

bobelon (author)trustr2011-03-10

Any glass shop should have lots of used glass laying around. We got ours for free and although there is a learning curve involved in cutting it, it is not rocket science. You need a firm but not white knuckle even stroke. Never go back over the line again. We just finished another nice glass project and will be posting it soon. On another note, remember that glass is a liquid and will melt together given enough time. Saludos

static (author)bobelon2011-03-11

The contention that glass really never solidifies, and us still flowing centuries later has been debunked To suggest that the glass in these plates in time would flow together takes the old wives tale to another level.

I'm fairly certain the driver for these kind of LED Pulse Width Modulate the current sent to the LED. A quick use of google leads to circuit example. Even one here at instructables, but why would anybody be surprised yo learn that? :)

In the event one could fie polish the cut edges, and maintain tight 90 decree corners. brass angle iron or wood corner trim could be used to keep the stacked plates in place. An original idea AFIK, I agree with the other commenter a nighttime photo of the lamp lit would be a nice addition the instructable.

mankysteve (author)bobelon2011-03-10

Another choice would be to drill a hole though each glass sheet expect the top one which you could counter sink and fill with adhesive.

mercury (author)mankysteve2011-03-09

i think this is the best idea for keeping the original look, though this method would take away the off-set edges and make it flat on all four sides. it would still look nice.

my first thought was to glue the glass together and use it to cast a mould, then use resin to create the actual lamp design. perhaps the center could be hollowed out by inserting a tube 3/4 of the way through the mould, which would decrease the overall weight as well. however, casting resin is pretty expensive which makes my idea sort of unrealistic... some nice ideas here in the comments, and the original is wonderful, of course.

molto_jazz (author)2017-03-30

Very nice work! Thank's for sharing!

hammy11 (author)2016-02-08

Where did you get the glass? Did you cut it yourself?

Michelle Irish (author)2016-01-29

If you've "Put it away" then perhaps it's time to sell it. I am very interested and would like to know how much it would take to get you to part with it? Please contact me at Thank you for making such lovely, functioning art!

bobelon (author)Michelle Irish2016-01-29

Thanks for the offer but I live in Mexico and the logistics are too radical. I would, however, be most happy to walk you thru making one yourself. It's really not that difficult and the results are stunning.

Yonatan24 (author)2015-12-16

Great job! Looks really cool

One80Bits (author)2015-08-16

That is stunning, great work!

bobelon (author)One80Bits2015-08-17

Thanks for the complement. Update. After four (4) years of sitting on the same piece of furniture we finally put the lamp away because, well, we've been looking at it for four years. BTW, we cleaned the glass about once or twice in the whole time - usually only the top piece. Many people have played around with it (usually under the influence of something) including making a spiral, offsetting etc. The damn thing never fell over or harmed any people, children or animals. It works just fine as is. The led still burns brightly.

MooMeat42 (author)2014-06-09

That's the kind of thing I would put on my desk if I were a doctor or had a very important job

pddonovan2011 (author)2011-11-07

Suggestion only! You could place the stack inside a clear acrylic container custom built to fit around the sculpture. No glue needed to keep the stack standing and if secured to the base will prevent the lamp from toppling during an earth quake! It IS beautiful and something that will start Conversations at Parties. An update would be to have a multiple color changing LED array, under the glass that changes to a completely different color, very gradually, every five minutes! Come to think of it, that is what I should do! Another possibility! Sand down the roughest edges and place the stack in an aquarium using the LED's shining from under the Aquarium! Also, you could place the sculpture in a shallow Reflecting pool and let Sun light dance through the sculpture during daylight hours! I better stop now, I don't want to over do it! VERY nice sculpture, I love it!

djnikosburn (author)2011-10-13

Its very nice! Im thinking to make one but bigger like 1,5m but im kind worring about how much heavy will be! :/

bobelon (author)djnikosburn2011-10-13

1.5m tall or square? Glass weighs about 2600 kilograms per cubic meter.

djnikosburn (author)bobelon2011-10-13

no square! tall! im thinking of that and im afraid that maybe it will be to heavy but im thinking to make a heavy base my metal and for the light im not gonna use led but im gonna make a hole at half of the glasses (like 0.75cm) and ill put a fluorescent light in there with a brithness regulator.I saw something similar
with that but was a fountain with running water.

bobelon (author)djnikosburn2011-10-13

I think that would be too tall and fall over because the glass is very slippery when stacked that high. The weight would not be a problem.

Lectric Wizard (author)2011-05-18

Did something similair when I was a kid , using glass fragments from a broken car window. Glued them together with clear epoxy & then used colorless spray varnish to cover the sharp edges ( 4 or 5 coats). Well done 'able.

walshlg (author)2011-03-03

Hey every one - a FYI:
1) its really pretty easy and safe to drill through glass - you get a glass bit and set the glass in a shallow pan and drill under water- just takes a lot of time
2) to smooth the edges of broken glass: There are many ways to do this - it will also look nicely frosted! a) Go to a stained glass supply store and buy a glass file ( again I like to use this under water as it makes little flakes that can flyyyyy). b) plain old carbide sand paper works well but PLEASE WEAR GLOVES c) plain old sand - just rub the edges through sand over and over and over and over, repeat, again.

FWIW my suggestion is go to a stained glass store and do this with "chunk" stained glass, also drill the hole offset and that way the rod will hold the pieces in place but they can be "fanned" to change the appearance.

cbg3868 (author)walshlg2011-05-13

Yes, holes can be drilled in class and it is delicate work. If you have the benefit of a class grinder with a small bit, you could just grind the holes. Get instruction for this process. Creating holes are risky at best. I do not care for the frosted edges. The brightness of the cut and well broken edges are beautiful and they sparkle in the light with different views from the cut.

Good luck

bobelon (author)walshlg2011-03-04

We have drilled holes in glass, a really s-l-o-w process.

hfairbank (author)2011-04-25

Use a step drill bit instead of a regular drill bit to keep it from grabbing.

phevtron (author)2011-03-18

wouldnt be as cool as glass but something like plexiglass or any other plastic imitation of glass would do. i think.....

nikki podmore (author)2011-03-04

The safest and best away of bonding glass to glass is using a uv glue. You will also need an ultra violet light. You then set the glue with the uv light and it is 100% bonded with no marks showing
. With regards to the light I would use a tube go up the middle. These are flexible and can be bought in metre lengths.
Another adhesive someone suggested to me was egg white but as I had the uv and uv light I never tried it.
Good luck with your project from nikki at

bobelon (author)nikki podmore2011-03-04

Hmmmm, egg white, never thought of that. Would it Yellow in time? UV glues have to be degassed before use which is a pain and the glue dries very slowly in sunlight. A very strong UV light is required to do the job.

nikki podmore (author)bobelon2011-03-05

I dont know if the egg white would turn yellow. I think it would be trial and error. I never degassed my uv glue and am not sure what the procedure is for this? Perhaps I did it unknowingly. My lights are different to yours - I cut thousands of little glass strips. Chipped one side with a glass pliers and then sanded down each piece and built it up like a tower. This gave a really nice diffused effect. Perhaps the weight of the glass degassed the uv glue itself!!!
I would never consider putting this on a ceiling unless you had the ceiling re-inforced. Safer on the floor unstuck than having a shower of glass on top of your head.
The only other way I can think of securing your glass light would be to put four thin metal poles on each corner of your base and drill four little holes on each corner of the glass and slot the glass down onto the poles. Drilling glass especially the thickness of your glass could be tricky as you would need to use water to cool down the drill so the glass does not shatter.but not being an expert on the matter I can not give you specific details on how to do this.
This wouldn't take from the beauty of the outside of the structure but would at least hold the structure together.
Good luck with your venture.

skaar (author)nikki podmore2011-03-12

i believe degassing is putting it in a bell jar to suck the air out with a pump. there's vac pump instructables, could end up with something useful for making vac formed replacement bike helmet shells too... or model airplanes... thin project cases... ... stuff...

dimtick (author)2011-03-01

As I have children and cats, I would not do this unglued. I'd hate for a child to be cut. (i'd be ok to loose a cat.....don't tell me wife)

I really really dig this. GREAT JOB!!!!!!!
I'm reminded of a jewish artist that does these huge stacked glass sculptures. I'm an architect. This artist was going to do a sculpture for a building I was involved with but when the economy tanked so did the project so I never got to meet him.

as a question, how do you turn it on of off?

bettbee (author)dimtick2011-03-03

Well that's upsetting about the cat. Why say that? Here I was enjoying a perfectly good instructable and happened across this passive-aggressive violent statement about a species of animal I happen to love. So much for enjoying lunchtime.

doctorventure (author)bettbee2011-03-03

Someone should make an instructable on getting a sense of humor for bettbee

bettbee (author)doctorventure2011-03-03

Hurting animals is not funny, for the same reason that Nazi jokes are not funny. It's too real. If animals weren't already abused horribly, perhaps humor might apply, but people already take their frustrations and mental illnesses out on them far too readily. And having had the misfortune of stumbling on a picture from a "crush" site recently (some misguided activist had it on their facebook page) I now feel even more strongly about harming cats.

sleeepy2 (author)bettbee2011-03-06

(Godwin's law)

mbrock5532 (author)bettbee2011-03-03

Oh, brother. Get a life.

Here I was enjoying a perfectly good Instructable and happened across this comment with the word Nazi in it which is very stressful and hurtful to me because...

Everything is offensive to somebody. If you see something you don't like, move on and ignore it.


About This Instructable




More by bobelon:Stacked Glass LED LightPallet shelves
Add instructable to: