Introduction: Glowing Ghost

About: Circuit Scribe is a rollerball pen that writes with conductive silver ink. It makes creating circuits as easy as doodling! Visit the Circuit Scribe site to get your own pen!

Why spend money on overpriced Halloween decorations, when you can use what you have at home (and some amazing tools from Electroninks of course)!

Materials needed:

Electronics Materials

  • Circuit Scribe Conductive ink pen
  • Circuit Stencil
  • 2-pin Module
  • 9V Battery and Battery Module
  • Potentiometer Module
  • Through-hole LED
  • Coated wire
  • Shrink tubing
  • Soldering iron

Other Materials

  • Ping pong ball
  • Tissues
  • Foam pumpkin or another prop
  • Black marker
  • Card stock
  • X-acto knife

Here's a 123D Circuits project, illustrating how the Glowing Ghost works. You can press "Start Simulation" and twist the virtual potentiometer to try it out.

The pumpkin/potentiometer enables you to create a sweeping voltage from your power source – however in this project we’re just using two of its terminals (wiper and terminal 1) as a variable resistor or “dimmer switch.”This project uses the potentiometer as a dimmer switch for the LED.

Step 1: Extend the LED

For this project, you will be creating your own LED component using the 2-pin module and a through-hole LED that is extended by two wires. You will start by creating an extended LED

  1. Trim two wires so they are about 4 inches in length. It helps to use two different colors so you can distinguish between the anode and cathode later.
  2. Strip the ends of the two wires so you have enough room to feel comfortable soldering.
  3. Solder the two wires to the terminals of the LED.
  4. Slide on the heat shrink tubing to cover the LED terminals and solder joint. Heat them up with a heat gun or a warm part of the soldering iron. This is important so the two LED terminals don't touch and short the circuit. Alternatively, you can cover the exposed metal sections with tape.

Now you have your own custom LED!

Step 2: Make the Ghost

In this step, you will use a ping pong ball, tissue, and a tiny bit of string to turn your custom LED into a ghost. The ping pong ball is being used as a light diffuser and as the structure for the ghost's head.

  1. Cut a round hole in the ping pong ball that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the LED. You can use the X-acto knife to do this. Instead of cutting straight through in one pass, we found it most effective to lightly score the circular hole multiple times until it can be easily punched out.
  2. Slide the ping pong ball onto the LED.
  3. Wrap a tissue around the ping pong ball and secure it underneath with a white string.
  4. You can go one step further and add some spooky eyes to the ghost with a Sharpie!

Step 3: Make the Pumpkin Knob

This part is easy! We're simply replacing the knob on the potentiometer module with a foam pumpkin.

  1. Remove the original knob from the potentiometer. It should pull off easily.
  2. You don't need to do anything special to the pumpkin. Just jam it onto the exposed post! The post will puncture through the foam, creating a tight enough connection to use the pumpkin as a knob. Give it a twist to make sure it's working.

Step 4: Build the Circuit

Copy the circuit shown above onto your own piece of paper using Circuit Scribe and the Circuit Stencil. We added circuit diagram symbols to our version to show how the circuit works.

  1. First, add the battery where indicated.

  2. Next you will mount your custom LED in the 2-pin module. Make sure the ground terminal on the LED is connected to the ground foot of the battery adapter.

  3. Finally, add the potentiometer (with pumpkin knob), as shown.

(We are also showing an intermediate step with the un-decorated electrical components as an illustration of the circuit.)

Step 5: Create a Spooky Scene!

Remember to turn on the power switch on the battery module! Now you can turn the pumpkin to make the LED ghost glow dimly or brightly.

Decorate your scene using plastic leaves or other fall-themed accessories. Photograph the scene in black and white, and share it with us on Twitter or Instagram, @electroninks. Happy Halloween!