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http://letsmakerobots.com/content/fading-led-hardw...Scroll down to the post that says "it works
The first link should be http://www.instructables.com/id/Dead-Bug-Prototyping-and-Freeform-Electronics/step7/Little-Wire-dead-bug-art/
If you're good at soldering (and you'll have to be to make any circuit that small), you can dead-bug solder an 8-pin ATTiny chip and the passives you need in that much space. Then it can fade in, fade out, blink "Happy birthday" in Morse or flicker like a candle- it's just a case of programming it to do what you need. You wouldn't need that many components, you could reproduce this circuit (I think the linked one is to make the chip programmable in-circuit which you probably don't need)If you need to do it with only discrete components, you can use something like this circuit but it might be more challenging to solder because there are a lot of links to make.
actually, yes, you can get a fade-in. Just put a resistor in series, such that it limits current from power supply. A capaicitor in parallel to the LED will then draw most available current, leaving little for the LED, until cap is charged. Shutting off supply allows cap to discharge thru LED. Both on and off will have a fade in/out time if R and C are chosen well.
Read up on RC circuits. They just use a capacitor and resistors. You won't get fade to on, but you can get a slow fade out with the simplest RC circuits.
just a capacitor might do the fade in/out bit. Try connecting it in parallel.
Voltage limiting can be done with a cigarette lighter to. USB adapter.
another idea would be for the led to come on right away, but then fade out over maybe 2sec or so. i believe i could do this with a capacitor, some diodes, and a resistor, but im not actually sure how to do it, or if i can get an appropriate capacitor thats is small enough.
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