Introduction: EL Panel Lantern

I bought a cheap lot of 25 electroluminescent panels from Windsor Distributors a couple years ago, finally got around to making something out of them....

Step 1: Connecting Individual EL Panels

I had 25 EL panels, each about 2.75" X 1.25", and made a 5-sided "night light" with 5 EL panels on each "pane" or side.

I don't have photos of the manufacture of the individual 5-panel panes. However, the basic idea is visible in the photo. Each of the 5 EL panels was attached to a piece of acrylic with a dab of hot glue, with the two leads passing through small holes to the back side. One lead from each EL panel was bent to the left and the other to the right. Then I laid 6" stripped copper wires across the left and right sets of leads, and soldered the leads to the wires. More hot glue secured the wires to keep them from wiggling around and possibly breaking the delicate leads.

Step 2: Gluing and Connecting the Panes

I constructed a "cradle" out of scrap wood to hold two panes at the correct 108° angle, so that when all the panes were glued, they should form a perfect pentagon. I used special emblem cement; it's about the consistency of honey and would drip off if I tried to glue vertically. When dried, the corners were slightly flexible, so it needed some additional support when I glued the final pane in place. Finally I glued on a pentagonal base plate, somewhat larger than the main body. The top is held on by threaded rods, fitted through brass tubing with brass capnuts on each end.

Step 3: Finished!

The EL panels run off of regular AC house current, so all that was left to do was get some lamp cord, connect all the red wires to one cord wire and all the white wires to the other, and add a switch and plug.

Originally I thought that 25 panels would produce more light, so my idea was to make this a small desk lamp or bedside reading light. However, it doesn't produce enough light to read by, so I made it a hanging light instead. It seems about as bright as the full moon shining through a window, and it looks really cool from outside, like a glowing japanese paper lantern.