Introduction: Daliesque Book Light

About: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with!

When I was younger I thought that having Salvador Dali images on my wall made me cool!  I only had a vague idea of what it was all about, and although I liked the paintings in a purely artistic sense, I never was able to delve deeper into their meaning.

It wasn’t until in my 20’s that I had a chance to re-visit Dali’s paintings and look at them with a more "worldlier" mindset. 

I was lucky enough to spend some time in Rome in my 20’s, and while there went to an exhibition of Dali’s early works.  The images that really struck me the most were the ones where he plays with perspective.  I especially loved the images in step 1, there’s a sense of timelessness and familiarity about them that really appeals to me.   

Recently I was looking again at these images and thought it would be cool to try and bring one to life.  Maybe a little ambitious I know but I'm up for the challenge.

So let me present to you my Dali Book Light. 


Step 1: Images

The below images are what inspires me to come up with this ible’.  I wanted to try and capture some of the essence of what Dali was trying to convey. 

Step 2: Material and Tools


1. Artist figurine -   eBay.
2. Small train figures – eBay
3. Book.  Up to you
4. LED Light (3mm) I used a duel LED so it could be either red or green - eBay
5. Switch – eBay
6. 2 X AAA Battery holder x 2 – eBay
7. Car light bulb – I got mine from the local wreckers
8.  Computer ribbon wire (or anything else you might have around)


1. Pliers
2. Hot glue
3. Wire cutters
4. Stanley knife
5. Soldering iron
6. Heat shrink
7. Superglue

Step 3: Light Bulb Head

The first thing to do is to find a suitable light bulb for the head.  I went to my local wreckers and got a few different types to try.  In the end I opted for a small, round one (very head-like)


1. Remove the tin on the globe.  I used a dremmel to cut through the middle and then just pulled it off.

2. Clean the globe of any cement.

3. Break the small glass tube in the inside of the globe and try and chop away any bits of glass inside that the tube might have left.  This is to ensure the LED has enough room.

4. Place the LED inside the globe and add a little hot glue to hold into place.  Don’t add the glue first or it will diffuse the LED too much.

Step 4: Pulling Apart the Artist Figurine

Grab your little figurine and start modding!


1. Take of the head by un-clipping the spring that the head is attached to.

2. Once this is done the neck, torso, abdomen should all come away.  The legs will still be joined to the hips and the arms to the torso.

3. Tread the neck piece through the LED wires and hot glue to the globe.

4. Remove the hook that is in the middle of the hips and drill a hole through the middle.  Try and get the end of the hole to come through behind one of the legs.  This is where the wire will go from the head to the book.

Step 5: Adding the Wires to the Model

Next step is to attach some wires to the LED’s


1. Use some computer ribbon and attach to the 2 ends of the LED’s. 

2. Make sure that you also add some heat-shrink to the joins as there is a metal spring holding the arms on and the LED legs will touch this and short circuit.

3. Thread the wire through the torso and the abdomen.

4. Next thread the wire through the hole that you made in the hip section and out behind the legs.  Make sure you have a fair bit of wire sticking out of the legs as this will need to go through the book as well.

Step 6: Modding the Book


1.  First decide on what book to use.  Initially I was going to use a larger book, but decided to go with and older, smaller one that I had.

2.  Drill a hole in the middle of the book as shown below.  This is where the wire will go through

3. Next you need to decide how everything will fit into the book.  Mark it out on the first page as shown.

4. With a Stanley knife start to cut out the sections regularly checking the depth and size to ensure the battery cases fit ok.

5. Once you have the battery cavity's done you will need to also add a switch.  Cut a small cavity near the spine of the book and once done, drill a hole through the spine.

6.  Push through your switch and attach the bolt on the switch to hold it into place.

Step 7: Adding the Batteries and Wiring

The LED that I used can be either red or green depending on the polarity of the battery.  I wanted to make it so could either have it red or green by flicking the switch.  The problem was I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to wire this up with one lot of batteries so I decided to go with 2 sets.


1. Once you have the battery cavities done in the book you will need to also add a switch.  Cut a small cavity near the spine of the book and once done, drill a hole through the spine.

2. Push through your switch and attach the bolt on the switch to hold it into place.

3. Thread the wire from the model through the hole in the middle of the book.

4. Next you will need to wire-up your LED’s.  The below diagram shows how this is done.  If you only want one colour LED then the wiring is much easier.

5. Once everything is wired, add your batteries and put them into the book – test.

Step 8: Adding the People

To make the scene more Daliesque I added some miniature people.  This gives it more of a dream like quality and hopefully invokes an unreal sense of scale.


1. Decide on which men you want to use.

2. Carefully add a drop of superglue to their feet and place around the model.  You will have to hold them in place for about 10-20 seconds to ensure that they won’t fall down.

3. Once dry the little men and women should be quite stable.  Give each one a little wobble and if any come loose add some more glue.

Step 9: Done!

You should now have a complete sculpture – well done!

I think that next time I would maybe use a larger model and some brighter LED’s.  I’d like to use some cree LED’s and really pump out the light through the head.  I also considered adding a PIR sensor so it would come on as you walked past.  I have done this in a couple of previous projects and although it does work well, the LED’s are always coming on and the batteries go flat pretty quick.  If you had it in a low traffic area or maybe had the PIR sensor recessed in the book so it couldn’t detect as well then I think that this would be a good idea.

I am also in two minds about the switch on the outside of the book.  Initially I was going to have the switch inside the book but that would have meant opening and closing the book each time I wanted to turn it on.  The book I chose was very old and the cover was just about to come off and I don’t think it would have lasted too long with all that opening and closing.  Also, adding the switch on the outside invites people to come along and see what it does.

In regards to the book I chose, I was very hesitant to destroy this beautiful copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories but the book was in a really bad way and I don’t think it would have stood-up to much reading anymore.  I had to glue about 15 of the front pages together to ensure that the cover would fall off.  Also, the fabric of the cover is very frayed and torn.  I think the title works well though and at least I’ve give it a second chance to be useful.  How often does that happen!

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