Introduction: Cozy Bedroom Lighting (LED Lanterns With Invisible Cabling)
After seeing Adam Savages Video about those LED Flame lights, i knew i would have to use them for a project on my own.
Since i really like how they turned out, i thought you might want to have some too - so i created this step by step guide
- The LED flame lights. I used Those. You can use different bulbs, but you will have to design your own fixture
- Some pretty lanterns. Make sure to order the bulbs first, so you can check if they will fit
- a fitting chain for hanging the lanterns
- small enameled copper wire (mine was 0.5 mm)
- hooks or some other fastener
Your needed tools will vary with your choice of lantern.
- Glue (i used cyanoacrylate/superglue)
- Tape (for temporary holding stoff in place)
- pliers (for bending the hooks and chain)
- Soldering Iron
- 3d Printer (optinal - used to create a housing for the bulb)
Step 1: Preparing the Lightbulbs
Disassemble your light bulbs:
- pop off the plastic diffusor
- Remove the PCB/LED matrix
- cut off the socket (it can be discarded)
- De-solder the power leads from the PCB (don't be confused by the last picture. The PCB/LED matrix should have no cables)
You should be left with 3 parts:
- the diffusor
- the PCB/LED matrix
- the power converter
Step 2: Placing the Lanterns
For the next steps we need an estimate of the cable length. It is therefore best, to place the lanterns at their desired location. Depending on your ceiling, you might need different fasteners. I went with tiny hooks
- Prepare your hooks by bending them open - just enough to fit the chain into.
- Decide where your lanterns should be placed and then insert the hooks
- Clip your chain into the hook and decide how long it should be
- bend one of the chain links open, so you can remove the excess chain and insert the lantern
once you have placed all lanterns, you can measure the length of wire needed to connect each of them. You might want to connect them all together, since one of the power converters is sufficient for all three LED matrices.
For longer cable runs, make sure the resistance of your cabling is low enough. I only used 0.5mm cable for the run from the bulb to the ceiling. Then i switched to a larger diameter, since the cables wouldn't be as noticeable.
Finally, cut your desired cable length for each of the lanterns.
Step 3: Preparing the Lanterns
This process will vary greatly depending on the type of lantern you choose. I will describe it for each of the three lanterns i used. None the less, the start of the process is the same for each lantern:
- 3d Print the new fixture for the light bulb (or create your own)
- use sandpaper to remove the enamel from the tip of each wire you cut to size in the previous step
- use solder and flux to tin each end
- solder the + and - lead to the led matrix
- mark one of the cables at the other end, so you wont loose track of the polarity
Step 4: Lantern 1
Lets start with the easiest lantern. This one was designed with a small ledge to place a candle into.
We will use this to hold the light bulb in place and then route the cable along the walls oft the lantern trough the top opening.
- apply a liberal amount of glue on the bottom of the fixture. Then press it firmly in its desired location
- once the glue has dried, insert the led matrix. Guide the cable out trough the slit in the fixture, so it won't kink
- route the cable to the nearest strut and fix it with tape
- route the cable upwards, along the strut and out the top. Make sure it rests flush on the metal by applying tape when needed
- use droplets of superglue to permanently bond the cable
- hang the lantern and weave the cable through every other link (see image) - be careful not to scratch the enamel
- when the glue has set, remove the tape
Step 5: Lantern 2
This lantern is completely empty, so the bulb has to be hung from above. Additionally the lantern body has holes, so the led pattern would be visible. Therefor a second diffusor is required for a realistic look.
Lets start with the First challenge - hanging the bulb from above.
- insert the led matrix into its fixture. Guide the cable through the provided slot - then route it upwards
- fix the cable between the led rows and bend it over the top edge
- use droplets of superglue to fix it in place permanently
- remove the tape once the glue has set
- drill a hole in the top of the diffusor
- use a piece of string or some leftover cable, tie it around a stick and then tread it through the hole from the inside. The diffusor should be able to be hung on only this string
- also thread the wires through the hole and clip the diffusor on the fixture
Now that the bulb assembly is finished, create a seperate diffusor aroud it.
- use a piece of paper and glue a cylinder slightly larger than the bulb
- get a different piece of paper and create a flap. glue the flap on the bottom of the bulb (see picture)
- insert the bulb into the cylinder. glue the flap in place, so that the cylinder is fixed around the bulb with roughly equal spacing in any direction
Now its time to hang the lantern
- insert the bulb + diffusor assembly into the the lantern.
- choose a fitting heigth, than fix the bulb at this height by knotting the string on the upper part of the lantern (see picture)
- once the bulb is supportet on the string, grab the power cables and loosely weave them trough the chain (see pictures)
Step 6: Lantern 3
This is the most difficult assembly. The lantern used was a defective version of this oil lantern - so the first step was cleaning it thoroughly.
the lantern was then fully disassembled and the burner was broken of (it is spot welded). To remove the burner wiggle it back and forth until the weld breaks through material weakening
now for the bulb assembly:
- glue the fixture in place by using a liberal among of glue (see pictures)
- once the glue is set, clip the led matrix into it, routing the cables through the slit
- use tape to route the cables upwards along a pillar (see pictures)
- Then make that path permanent by using superglue
The glass of the lantern is clear - this looks awful, as the LEDs are clearly visible. You may want to sand it, but i went a different route. Soaking a piece of kitchen roll in olive oil yields a crude torch that can be used to blacken the inside of the glass by depositing large amounts of soot. This provides a natural looking diffusor (see images)
The cable needs to be routed trough the lid of the lantern. I drilled a hole in the bottom part of the lid and enlarged the top hole, so the cable could be threaded alongside the screw. I later added tape everywhere the cables touched the metal. This is not shown in the pictures but is highly recommended, as the cables will be scratched and short otherwise.
When assembling the lantern thread the cables through the lid as shown. Only fully assemble the lid when it is placed as close above its resting position as possible, as the cables cant be moved, once the screw is inserted.
After the lid is assembled, screw it back onto the lantern and proceed by hanging the lantern and weaving the cable trough the chain (same procedure as described earlier)
Step 7: Wirering Everything
if you decided to use a thicker wire for the final run, solder it to your lantern wires on top of the chains.
Then proceed by routing all wires together until you reach the location you want to add the power supply.
Use one of the power supplies removed from the bulbs earlier and solder all wires to it. When everything works as intended, cover everything up in a nice enclosure.