Lighten Up Your Picture Frames (LEDs)

Introduction: Lighten Up Your Picture Frames (LEDs)

About: Art lover. Love to create, build, make and fix things. Well ... creating is pure fun!

College is fun and lots of fun. I still remember putting on quite many posters, pictures & sketches in my room. Well, it is so many years since college but I still love portraits/ sketches on my wall. However, I wanted to lighten then up with sleek and nice light holders. I did not want to run wire all over the walls to power these lights so I went ahead designing one myself (and use much of the stuff which I already had.

Hope you enjoy this one.

Constructing it needs some skills in using hand tools and some soldering.

CAUTION: Take all the care you need to so that you do not hurt yourself. It is easy to injure yourself especially while using hand/power tools on small parts/ material.


1. File

2. Saw blade

3. Bench vice (optional)

4. Soldering equipment

5. Paint brush

6. Tweezers


1. Pens (used/ unused) with transparent casing

2. Acrylic sheet 1mm thick (small piece that fits inside the pen along its length)

3. 6 White Led SMDs (LED Strip)

4. Thick Copper wire

5. Wire strip with 2 wire strands

6. 2AA Battery holder

7. On/Off Switch

8. 10mm LED (need not be working)

9. Silver/ aluminium paint

10. Flexible tube (I used a tubing using in nebulizer).

11. Masking tape

12. Adhesive

13. Clamp

Step 1: Prepare the Light Tube Casing

Dismantle all parts of the pen.

We are going to use the longer tube section of the pen casing, which is transparent and will hold the LEDs.

Saw the edges of the pen along the markings and file them to make them smooth.

Step 2: Drill a Hole in the Casing for Wiring

Mark the centre of the tube along its length. Drill the hole carefully only on one side.

Step 3: Prepare Acrylic Strip to Hold the LEDs

Take measurement of the length of the casing and the diameter of the inside of the tube.

Cut out a strip from the acrylic sheet using the measurements such that the strip easily goes inside the tube.

The purpose of the strip is used to hold the SMD LEDs.

Step 4: Prepare the LED Strip

Take SMD LEDs (I cut these out from the LED strip, and trimmed the edges).

Lay out the LEDs on the acrylic strip at equal distance. Apply some adhesive to hold the LEDs on the strip. Make sure that all the +ve terminal of all LEDs are on one side.

Take the dual strand wire and strip off so that we have long strands of bare wire.

Solder one strand to all the terminals of the LEDs on one side (we are connecting these LEDs in parallel). Likewise solder the other strand to the remaining terminals on other side.

Connect to a 3V source and test that all LEDs lighten up.

Ideally it is necessary to connect a resistor in series to every LED. In this instructable, I have not used the resistors. I used 3v from 2 AA batteries to power up the LEDs.

Step 5: Fitting LEDs Inside the Tube

Pass the other end of the wire from one side of the tube and pull out from the hole drilled in the centre.

Gently slide the strip holding the LEDs inside the tube.

Step 6: Wire Casing

This step serves 2 objectives – one is to hold the wire inside a flexible tube and also give some strength to this tube so that you can bend it as needed and then it holds to that form.

Take a wire with thick copper strands. The wire I had, included three strands, out of which I used two so that it holds the shape easily. Twist the strands together.

Pass the LED wires along with the thick copper strands inside the flexible tube

Glue the end of flexible tube facing the light tube, to the centre hole.

Step 7: Add Some Decor - Cover the Light Tube Edges

To cover the open ends of the light tube we are going to use 10 mm LEDs (working or not working, does not matter. Cut the leads and file the flat side of the LED to make it smooth.

Glue the LEDs on both sides of the light tube.

We are pretty much done here now.

Step 8: Paint It All

Time to paint the light tube and the flexible tubing with silver paint.

We don’t want to paint the portion where the LEDs are going to lighten up. So I will cover it with a strip of masking tape.

Once the paint is dry, check if it needs another coat of paint. When the paint part is done and it is all dry, remove the masking tape.

Step 9: Power It Up

Connect the open ends of the LED wires to a 2AA battery holder and add on a small switch to turn lights on/of.

Pretty much a simple circuit with LEDs, Battery and a switch.

Step 10: Lighten Up the Picture Frame

Last step, install the light and the battery on the frame.

Get a clamp from the hardware store, just the right size to hold the flexible tube at the back of the picture frame. Glue the edges of the clamp holding the tube against the frame’s board.

Tape or glue the battery holder as well at frame’s back side. Place the battery holder on the top or the bottom of the frame (backside), which ever suits best to put it up the wall.

Likewise place the switch near the edge of the frame at the back so that it is easy to reach it.

That’s it. Done!

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