Picture of phone charger mood lamp
Use an old phone charger to power a nice looking led lamp. I made the patterns on the shade with an adapted bicycle . Also, check this instructable to make your own spinning wheel.

For inspiration, check out this gallery of completed lamps.
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Step 1: What you need

Picture of what you need

* wire cutters/strippers or an old pair of scissors
* small flat head screw driver


* an old phone charger
* a couple of 150ohm resistors
* a couple of LEDs
* a chocblock
* something to make the base with; we now use sections of old carpet tube but we've used cans and plastic bottles before.
* a 20cm length of stiff but bendable wire
* (optional) 3 shorter lengths of wire for making legs
* some sellotape
* some 200gsm paper for the shade, about 30x40cm is good, a little less than a3.

Step 2: (optional) solder leds onto resistors

Picture of (optional) solder leds onto resistors
If you already have the LEDs soldered onto resisters from one of our kits, you can skip this step.

Otherwise, you can work out what size resister to use with Ohm's law. V = IR. Let's work out what resistor size we need for an LED with a forward voltage of 2.5V and a current use of 20mA. The phone charger provides around 5V, but can vary so if you have a multimeter you can test it.

Subtract the forward voltage from the phone charger supply to get the voltage over the resistor = 2.5V. Then work out R = V/I = 2.5V / 20mA = 125Ohms.


It often works to just put the LEDs in series, so that the voltage is divided across them both. To do this, twist together the long leg of one LED with the short leg of the other, then test with the phone charger and check that they are not too bright or too dim.

For more info on serial vs parallel circuits, see the wikipedia page here.

We worked in a place where we weren't allowed paint so we used felt tip pens and sticky bits instead, still worked out great
We tried using tracing paper - both 120gsm and 90gsm look gREAT!

We also tried positioning the LEDs a bit higher up - not within the base but about halfway up the shade, with frosted LEDs this illuminates the shade well and gives quite an even light spread.

word up to the big ladz
typhuvn4 years ago
there are 2 led, so don't need use resistor. i used to make it. it bright very good.
nihadsabic7 years ago
maybe try to put shades on the inside so that they pop up when lit.
Jenn137 years ago
These look great! I hope to make some soon, I am gathering materials now. Can you tell me what material you used for the shades? This will be my first Instructable that I have created.
jeff-o Jenn137 years ago
I especially like the shades as well. They have a very fun, modern look.
matthewvenn (author)  Jenn137 years ago
I used some medium weight paper. About 150gsm. The thicker the paper the less light will show through. I've also just tried cutting holes in the paper - check the flickr gallery.
Good luck in your first instructable! I'm honoured to be your first!!
Really awesome job(s). I like the designs, they're awesome. I should do this. And the LEDs, I haven't seen those in a long time! Nice job! +1 rating. (added to favorites)
You can get LEDs like that online; they've managed to cram five normal LED dies into a single package, for five times the brightness of a regular LED (at five times the current, naturally). They'd be excellent for a lamp like this, since they also illuminate a wider angle than a normal super-bright LED does.
matthewvenn (author) 7 years ago
thanks for the positivity! I love this site and I'm glad to finally start sharing here!
Nice i love the covers but you should make it so the leds turn on when you charge your phone
matthewvenn (author)  de-evolution7 years ago
nice idea I'm sure that is possible. This idea is about using old phone chargers, that would be thrown away otherwise. I chopped off the plug and soldered the leds straight on!
LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
Very nice! They are so cheap, but they look really good +1
gmjhowe7 years ago
nice i like very much so! great idea!