Introduction: LED Popsicle Stick Picture Frame

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

Recently my projects have been accused of being a part of some hipster arts and crafts movement.

Is it arts and crafts you want? Then it is arts and crafts you will get!

Here is my LED-enhanced popsicle stick picture frame. Just in time for the holidays.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff.

You will need:
30 - Popsicle sticks
1 - Photograph of you and your Grandma (or relative of choice)
1 - Micro toggle switch (Electronic Goldmine part #G1827)
8 - LEDS
1 - 3V coin cell battery
1 - Small piece of copper foil
1 - 12" of very thin flexible wire
1 - 12" Magnet tape

- exacto knife
- hot glue gun
- soldering iron

Step 2: Prepare a Three Layer Popsicle Stick Frame.

Cut three layers of popsicle sticks to match the diagram below.

Note that the three layers will line up upon the red dot (although the reason for "Layer 3" to be flipped horizontally may yet make sense).

Step 3: Carve the Popsicle Sticks.

With your exacto knife, carefully carve the popsicle sticks. The popsicle sticks need to be carved and or hollowed as shown in the diagram below. The grey area is the part of the popsicle sticks that needs to be hollowed. As well, when carving "Layer 3," please note that the red dots on the three layers need to line up and that "Layer 3" is flipped over.

The hollow area should be carved about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way into the popsicle stick. It should be deeper than your wire is high.

Step 4: Build the Circuit.

With your hot glue gun, put a drop of glue on an unused popsicle stick. Quickly and carefully glue two adjacent popsicle sticks together so that no glue interferes with your carved trough or can be seen on the surface of the frame. Do this with all of the popsicle sticks of the first layer.

Cut a piece of copper foil about the size of the big square cut for the coin battery. Leave a thin strip of copper running an inch off one side of the squares. Glue this into place with the thin strip of copper running up the trough of the popsicle stick towards where the switch will be.

Once this is done, carefully insert LEDs into each of the four holes that you carved for them. Make sure you insert them in the same direction so that on one side are all the ground leads and the other all the power leads. Make sure they all work and then bend the leads ninety degrees in the same direction so that the leads from each respective LED touch the leads coming out of the one next to it.

Trim the leads as appropriate and then solder them all together. Repeat the same action with the LEDs on the other side of the frame.

Connect both LED chains with wires which will be hidden in the trough carved in one of the short sticks.

Next you will attach the switch. Solder one wire from one of the edge pins to the thin copper strip sticking off the square you glued down earlier. Solder the middle pin to a wire connected to the positive side of the LED (i.e. the longer leg of the LED... the one that connects to plus...) Glue the switch in place at the edge of the frame with a small drop.

Find the ground leg of the LED closest to the copper tab. To this will be attached a short wire connected to yet another small copper tab. This small copper tab will be touching the ground side of the coin cell battery. The other copper tab will be touching the plus side of the coin cell battery.

Hold the battery in place, flick the switch and see if you can turn it on and off.

Step 5: Attach Your Photograph.

Make sure the first layer of your frame is assembled and wired correctly.

Lay the photograph face up on the table. Place glue around the edge of the photograph and then stick the frame neatly on top of it. The LEDs should be looking at you along with your image.

I don't know how anyone could possibly glue this wrong.

You will need to trim your photograph if it is covering the compartment carved for your battery.

Step 6: Add More Popsicle Sticks.

Once the picture is glued on, flip the image, frame and all, face down. Now glue the second layer of popsicle sticks on top of the back of the frame.

Make sure that the notch carved for the battery and the switch line up with the first layer.

Again, this will be very hard to screw up.

Put the battery in place between the two pieces of copper. Push down on this as hard as you can, flick the switch and make sure it is working and then glue the battery in place.

Step 7: Add Even More Popsicle Sticks.

Add your final layer of popsicle sticks over the second.

Step 8: Make It Refrigerator Friendly (optional).

Ideally your frame will stick to a refrigerator so that whoever you send it to will have to begrudgingly keep it there as to spare your feelings.

Glue the magnetic strips lengthwise onto the frame directly atop "layer 3."

Step 9: Mail It to Grandma (or Relative of Choice).

Pack it well, put it in a box and ship it out to your favorite or least favorite relative.

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