Introduction: Cruelty Free Pumpkin Eyes

Each year plump and peaceful pumpkins all over the world are ripped from the bosom of the earth only to be disemboweled and have their hollowed corpses filled with fire.This project was designed to save the pitiable and powerless pumpkin from the last of these lamentable misfortunes. By saving the precious and persecuted pumpkin from the savagery of having its carcass defiled with fire it is hoped more efforts will be made in the future to save these perfectly pleasant pumpkins from a premature life ending predicament.

Step 1: Overview

This project will show how to make a reusable set of light up eyes for your lamented pumpkin. These eyes will last much longer than a tealight candle and can be made in a variety of colors. These simple eyes can be made without soldering. Noses and mouths can be added with your own creativity to make your pumpkin corpse even more expressionate.

Step 2: Materials

The materials needed to make this project are as follows

  • Drinking Straw
  • Coffee Stir Straw
  • Small Paper Clip
  • Battery Holder with Battery(ies)
    • 1 lithium button cell or 2 standard alkaline cells recommended for 3 -3.3 volts.
  • Switch
  • Hook up wire
  • 2 LED's in the color of your choice
    • These must have leads, the longer the better if not soldering
  • 2 resistors (1000 Ohm)
    • These also must have leads

All of these can be had from a variety of places. here are two shopping lists for you. I leave it up to you where to get the straws.

Radio Shack (for instant gratification and nostalgia)

270-0398 2AAA battery holder

275-0645 Switch

276-0041 2pk RED LED's

271-0004 5pk 1000 Ohm resistors

2780501 50ft spool of wrapping wire

Amazon (for classrooms and girl scout troops) This list will make 50 pairs of eyes for roughly $50US

100 pack of LED's with Resistors This one happens to be pink but there are lots of colors

50 Pack of SPST Slide Switches These are double throw switches which have 3 terminals. Watch for special instructions

50 pack of 3 volt button cell batteries These should keep your pumping lit for 24 hours straight

50 pack of battery holders These have short leads but will work just fine

Wire the colors are great and this wire is perfect.

Step 3: ​A Little Anatomy Lesson

Electrical parts have several features which have their own names. There are two which can confusing because they are more or less the same. These are Leads and Terminals. Generally if its long and looks like a wire it's a Lead, if it's flat and stubby its a terminal. Leads also tend to be longer and flexible but hold their shape when they're bent. Terminals are not generally meant to be bent. Both leads and terminals are where the electricity goes in and out of a part.

An LED which stands for Light Emitting Diode has two leads. A diode is basic electronic part which allows electricity to flow in only one direction through the part. LED's have that same behavior they just happen to make light when the electricity run through them. Because and LED only allow the electricity to flow in one direction we need to make sure we wire them up correctly. The leads of the LED tell us which way they let the electricty flow. When they are new the positive lead is the longer of the two.

Switches on the other hand tend to have terminals. Our switch happens to have three. There are lots of tyoes of switches and they are typically referred to by how many poles the have and how many positions they have. A pole can be thought of as where the elecricity goes in to the switch and the number of positions is where the electricity comes out. Our switch having three terminals is single pole, double throw. This is usually abbreviated SPDT. A switch having only two terminals is single pole single throw (SPST). It is easy to see that an SPST switch has an OFF and ON. Our SPDT switch also has two positions but instead of having an OFF and and ON it has two ON positions, it also has two OFF positions, Huh?! A double throw switch connects the pole terminal to one output terminal at a time based on what position the switch is in. Typically the pole terminal is the one in the middle and the terminal under the switch lever is connected. This way when one output terminal is ON the other terminal is OFF.

Step 4: ​Wire Preparation

Our wire is called wrapping wire because it is thin and has a solid core. This kind of wire is solid, semi rigid and has a plastic insulation surrounding it. We need to remove the insulation where we want the electricity to flow. There are special tools for removing the insulation but we don't need any. This wrapping wire has very thin insulation which is easy to remove.

  • We can do it with our thumbnail: Pinch the wire between your thumbnail and the pad of your index finger and pull.
  • A pair of scissors, hold the wire against a hard surface with one side of the scissors and pull.
  • Even our teeth, if you're bold enough to do it this way, you can figure it out.

When we are preparing our wire for wrapping we want to remove about 3/4 of an inch of insulation from the wire. It is usually best to cut our wire to length and remove the insulation from both ends before we wrap it in place.

When figuring out the wire length, don't forget to add the extra length we will use up when we wrap.

Step 5: Tools

There sure are a lot of tools out there and some of us have more than others. In the following steps I will show how to build our circuit with what pretty much everyone has hiding in their kitchen junk drawer.

Barest minimum tools

1 coffee stir straw

1 pin or needle


Step 6: Tools Preparation the Wire Wrapping Tool

Wire Wrapping dates back a long time. A really long time (technologically speaking). Root would agree it predates the epoch.

Wire wrapping is durable, and simple. The Guidance Computers used on Apollo 13 had 2800 integrated circuits all of which were connected with Wire Wrapping, and we all know how well that turned out!

Wiki Up!

We are going to make our very own Wire Wrapping tool.

  • Insert the pin into one end of the stir straw at an angle so that the point contact the inside wall roughly 1/8 inch from the end.
  • Push the pin through the wall of the stir straw.
  • That's it. done, you've just made a precision electronic tool.

Step 7: Wrapping Wires (Step 1)

  • Strip back the insulation (colored part) of a piece of wire at least 3/4 of an inch.

Step 8: Wrapping Wires (Step 2)

  • Insert the stripped end of the wire in the end of the Wrapping Tool the same way you pushed the pin through

Step 9: Wrapping Wires (Step 3)

  • Push the wire in so all the stripped wire is exposed through the hole in the wrapping tool.

Step 10: Wrapping Wires (Step 4)

  • Slide the Wire Wrapping tool and wire over the lead to be wrapped as far as possible

Step 11: Wrapping Wires (Step 5)

  • While holding the tail of the wire twist the Wire Wrapping toolYou should see the exposed (stripped) wire being pulled back through the hole in the tool as you twist

Step 12: Wrapping Wires (Step 6)

  • When all the exposed wire is gone, you're done!
  • Now you too can wire up a space craft.

Step 13: Testing Our Materials

Before we pour our heart and soul into this project lets make sure our two most important components work.

We can wire our LED to our battery for a short time without the resistor just to make sure they are both good

place LED on the battery so that the lead straddle it. With the positive lead on the positive (+) side of the battery pinch the leads together on the battery and see the LED light up.

If the LED doesn't light up reverse the leads and try again.

If the LED still doesn't light up try the other LED in both orientations.

If neither LED lights up you probably have a dead battery.

Step 14: The Circuit

This is a simple circuit having a single power source, a switch, a load. The load is our LED's and resistors. The resistors are only present to control how much current the LED's use.

Step 15: Making the Circuit Board (Part 1)

Making the circuit board.

A circuit board is just the thing that holds are the parts so they don't move around too much. Modern circuit boards have the wires built into them. Ours, being made out of a drinking straw wont so we just need a few holes to hold our parts. We need ten holes total. Two for each LED and two for each resistor, that makes 8. The last two holes will be placed in the center of the straw and will be used for the paper clip we will use to hold the eyes in the pumpkin. The terminals for the switch are too short as are those on the battery holder so we will be attaching those to the straw in another way,

first we need to cut our straw to length. We don't care how long the straw is but we want out LED's to show in the center of our pumpkins eye holes so that it is roughly the same length as the eye hole centers are.

Step 16: Making the Circuit Board (Part 2)

Using our pin we will make two holes a 1/4 inch apart in each end of our straw for the LED's.

We need two more holes slightly further in for each the resistors.

Lastly we need two more holes centered for the paper clip

The photo shows the hole positions marked.

Step 17: A​ssembly Part One, Inserting the Parts:

  • Push the LED's through the holes at each end so that the positive leads are facing the ends of the straw. This will make it easier when we put the wires on later.
  • Spread the leads of the LED's so they stay attached to the board.
  • Bend the resistor leads so that the make U shape.
  • Push the resistor leads through the circuit board and bend their leads flat to the back side so they stay in place.
  • Attach the battery holder left of center of the straw
    • This can be done by tying it to the straw with a piece of wire that has not had any insulation removed
    • Route a wire through two holes in the battery holder and around the straw.
    • Twist the ends together tightly to secure it.
  • Attach the switch to the straw just right of center
    • This can be done by tying it to the straw with a piece of wire that has not had any insulation removed
    • Route a wire through the mounting holes on the switch and around the straw.
    • Twist the ends together tightly to secure it.
  • Insert the paper clip
    • Straighten the paper clip
    • Bend it into a U shape equal length legs
    • Push the legs through the holes in the center of the straw.

Step 18: ​Assembly Part Two, Wiring It Up

Wire is not the only thing we can wrap with. We can wrap leads directly just as well.

To begin we want to wrap the negative lead of the LEDs to the nearest lead of each resistor.

The LED's negative leads are the shorter of the two and if we've installed them correctly they should be nearest the resistor.

Next we will wrap a wire to each of the remaining leads of the resistors. The other ends of these wires will both get wrapped to the negative terminal of the battery holder. Wrapping two wires to the same lead is easy, wrap one then wrap the second on top of that. OR you can insert both wires into the tool at the same time.

Now we need to wrap a wire to the positive terminals of the LEDs. The other ends of these wires will be wrapped on to the same terminal of the switch. Either side is fine but save the center terminal for the next step.

Lastly we need to wrap a wire onto the positive terminal of the battery holder. The other end of this wire needs to get wrapped onto the center terminal of the switch.

Step 19: Success! Or:( Not, Trouble Shooting

Light the lamp. All that is remaining is to install the battery. At this point if we've done everything correctly the LED should be ON or will turn on when we move the switch.

Don't Panic

If the LED's don't light up when we throw the switch all is not lost. There is no need to do something so drastic we get stuck in Saturday detention with the Brat Pack.

We already know our LED's and Batteries are good cause we tested them earlier (right)

if both LEDs are stubbornly dark the problem is probably where the wires attach to the battery holder or the switch.

If only one LED remains dark our problem is probably where the wires attach to the LED or resistor

Lastly, make sure the leads of the LED's aren't touching each other.

If it still won't light.:( Get another pile of parts and start over, you can do this.

Halloween Decor Contest 2016

Participated in the
Halloween Decor Contest 2016