Introduction: LED Photo Frame

Photos are nice to have on the wall or on the tables. I thought it would be nice to build LEDs into a photo frame so you will be able to see the photo in the dark as well.

This instructable will show you how you can use some LEDs to light up your photos.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

For this project you need a couple of things:

- Photo frame (I used a metal frame, bought it for only $1).
- 8x 5mm LEDs (You can use colored ones also if you like. Or give your white LEDs a color)
- Electric wire
- Button Cell 3v Battery
- Button Cell Holder
- Foam (actually you can use allot for this, even cardboard)
- Hobby Blade
- Hot Glue (glue gun)

Step 2: Cutting the Backside

The brown backside of the photo frame is (as always) a nice rectangle that fits in the frame just perfect. In this shape there is no room for the LEDs.

So now we need to cut the backside to the LEDs will fit in there and there is room for light to shine through.

1. Get your hobby blade and cut about 5mm (same size as the LEDs I used) from the border.
Leave the corners as they are. We need them so the backside will still fit tight in the frame (see photo).

While cutting near the corners, do this gently. If you use to much force you might snap a corner off.

Step 3: Placing the LEDs

Once you've cut the backside it's time to place the LEDs

1. Use the glue gun to glue 2 LEDs in every corner (see photo).
Make sure you attach the positive legs of the LEDs together and the negative legs together.

2. Use the electric wire to make one circuit out of all the LEDs (see photo)

3. Place the battery in the holder and attach it to the circuit with electrical wire. Test is before gluing this to the backside.

If you tested the lights and they all work correctly, then hot glue the wires and LEDs so nothing can make contact with it anymore.
Since I used a metal frame, this is really important. If the wires are open and touch the metal frame, the LEDs wont work properly.

Note: I didn't had switch that would fit nice on the backside. So I put a small piece of plastic between the battery and the holder (see photo 3).
The LEDs will light up when I remove this piece of plastic.

Step 4: Preparing the Glass Window

The glass window is pushed against the frame for a tight fit. Because of this, not much light will shine through.

So what we need to do it work something out that there will be some space between the glass and the frame.
I used foam for this, but many things can be used for it. I think even a piece of cardboard will do the trick.

1. Cut the foam in small squares so the fit nice in the corners (see photo).

The LEDs won't shine in the upper part of the corners, so the foam won't be blocking any light.

Step 5: Finishing Up

Now we've got all parts that we need. All there is left to do is put them together.

1. Put the glass window in first.

2. Next you want to put a photo in. I didn't had a good photo lying around, so I cut out a piece of a Heineken advertisement from a magazine :)

3. At last you want to put the backside in it and fasten it with the metal clasp.

Photo 1: Back of the photo frame with the LEDs on

Photo 2: Front of the photo frame with LEDs off.
The light wont be visible very well in the daylight.

Photo 3: Front of the photo frame with LEDs on in the dark.
You can see there is light coming from the back. I tried to close the backside, but still some light came through.
If you're going to hang this frame on the wall, it will actually give a nice look with light coming from the sides as well.