Introduction: Light-Up Coaster

This Instructable makes any bar or restaurant experience more fun! The simple-to-make light-up coaster can be used to signal to a bartender/server when your drink is empty and you'd like a refill.

Step 1: Materials (Per Coaster)

  1. Two AA batteries
  2. One AA battery holder (no on/off switch attached)
  3. One 1.5 volt on/off tap switch
  4. One 4x8 inch piece of basswood
  5. One 15 inch 1x1 inch strip of balsa wood
  6. Wood glue
  7. Kitchen knife or scissors
  8. One LED bulb
  9. Wire strippers
  10. 5/8 inch square wooden dowel
  11. Small saw
  12. Sandpaper
  13. Tape
  14. Wood stain (optional)
  15. Paint (optional)
  16. Paint brush (optional)

CAUTION: Tools such as a kitchen knife, scissors, and a saw can all be very dangerous if not used properly. If you aren't over the age of 18 or just don't feel comfortable using these materials, please ask an adult or someone experienced for help.

Step 2: Prepare Your Wood

Materials for these steps:

  • One 4X8 inch piece of basswood
  • One 18 inch 1x1 inch strip of balsa wood
  • 5/8 inch square wood dowel
  • Small saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Kitchen knife or Scissos
  • Wooden stain (optional)


  1. Establish a preparation zone that you're okay with getting dirty
  2. Take the 4x8 inch piece of basswood and saw it into two 4x4 inch pieces.
  3. Set the cut wood aside from your work zone.
  4. Grab the square wooden dowel and cut two 4-inch long pieces and two 2 and 3 / 4 inch pieces.
  5. After you set the newly cut pieces aside, take the balsa wood and cut eighteen 1x1 inch pieces.
  6. Sand down rough edges with sandpaper.
  7. Wooden stain your woof in order to protect from damages. (optional)

CAUTION:Using a saw can be very dangerous. If you do not feel comfortable please ask someone who does for help or please ask them to pre-cut your wood at the hardware store you purchase it from.

Please note: If you choose to cut your own wood, it will elongate your building process.

Step 3: Assemble Battery Circuit

CAUTION: If you do not feel comfortable with electrical circuits/wiring batteries, ask someone who does for help.

Materials for these steps:

  • Wire strippers
  • AA battery holder
  • 1.5 volt on/off tap switch
  • Two AA batteries
  • LED bulb


  1. Using the wire strippers, strip the ends of the black and red wires coming off the battery holder by stripping away from your face, so that you have 1 / 2 inch of exposed wiring.
  2. Wrap the red wire around the longer prong of the LED bulb, make sure it is as snug as possible so that it does not fall off later.
  3. Take the other prong of the LED bulb and twist it into one of the eyelets of the switch.
  4. Wrap the black wire into the other eyelet of the switch, completing the circuit.
  5. Put AA batteries into holder.
  6. Set battery holder/circuit aside while you start to work on assembling the base.

CAUTION: Make sure to not short circuit your wires because that will result in a blinking light instead of a steady light.

Step 4: Assemble Wooden Base

Materials for these steps:

  • Pre-made battery holder with circuit
  • Cut balsa wood
  • Cut bass wood
  • Cut square wooden dowel
  • Elmers glue
  • Tape
  • Paint (optional)
  • Paint brush (optional)


  1. Glue the wooden dowel pieces to one of the 4x4 inch pieces of basswood (as pictured).
  2. Take the battery holder and place it on the inside of the base as close to the side of the base as possible using a small spot of wood glue.
  3. Take six 1x1 inch balsa wood chips and glue them all together into a stack - this stack will be used as a stand for the light.
  4. Tape down long pieces of wires coiled up.
  5. Tape the balsa wood stack onto the base, adjacent to the battery pack.
  6. Tape the switch on top of the balsa wood stack.
  7. Take 3 of the 1x1 pieces of balsa wood and glue them together, one on top of the other. Repeat this step until you have 4 stacks of 3.
  8. Glue one of the stacks onto each corner of the base.
  9. Glue the other 4x4 piece of basswood on top of the balsa wood stacks.
  10. Press down on the center of the coaster to activate.
  11. As an optional last step to customize your coaster, we suggest painting it your favorite color to make it unique!

Step 5: Enjoy Your Coaster!

Congratulations! You've created your light-up coaster. Enjoy!