Introduction: Turn a Nightlight Into a Laser Target

Picture of Turn a Nightlight Into a Laser Target

I wanted to decorate a cake for a Laser Tag birthday party, but I didn't have the time, budget, or knowledge. I came up with a way to use a nightlight as a laser target and incorporated it into a box that could be positioned behind an undecorated store-bought cake to create a Minion battle scene.

Read on to see how to turn a nightlight into a daytime laser target for a game or interactive cake decoration.

In Step 5 I talk a bit about the 3D printed Minions.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

To create the laser target:

  1. Nightlight with Light Sensor
  2. Masking Tape
  3. Laser Pointer

To create the box:

  1. Shoe Box
  2. Paper to decorate
  3. Power Cords
  4. Supplies (Ruler, Glue, Knife)
  5. Decorations (Legos, 3D printed Minions)

Step 2: Modify and Decorate Nightlight

Picture of Modify and Decorate Nightlight

Remove the cap from the nightlight. It was a tight snap fit, so I had to pry it off with some pliers.

Cover the sensor with several layers of masking tape until the LED turns ON. The amount of tape will depend upon the tape and the amount of light in the room. Shine the laser on the sensor to turn the target OFF.

Decorate to match your party theme.

Step 3: Create the Display Box

Picture of Create the Display Box

Decorate your box to match the party theme. If you are lucky and the shoe box has a finger hole, you can use it for the electrical cord.

To attach the nightlights to the box, cut slits for the prongs. I happened to have some short cords, but there should be plenty of room to hide extension cords.

SAFETY TIP: Do NOT use anything conductive (foil, glitter, etc.) to decorate the box as this could cause a short in the circuit or even a fire.

I added a flashing cannon with some materials that I already had (rotating stage, scope from a toy gun, flashlight).

Step 4: The Finished Project

Picture of The Finished Project

Everything fit into the shoe box, so I was able to easily carry it to the party, assemble it, and position it behind the cake to create a Minion battle scene.

Step 5: The Minions

Picture of The Minions

I designed and 3D printed the Minions at TechShop. I used paint pens to add color features and used standard Lego accessories (guns, etc).

The black Minion (didn't have purple filament) was 3D printed with an empty rectangle (like a planter box) for his head. To create the hair I bonded brush bristles into the head using 5-minute epoxy and fanned out the hair after curing. The epoxy was thick enough that it did not wick all the way up the bristles.


Coengineer (author)2016-05-02

Thanks. Kids had fun trying to hit the targets from across the room.

bekathwia (author)2016-04-29

The cake came out great! Awesome job.

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