Introduction: Mad Scientist Nightlight

As I was browsing the Instructables website I found a project that I thought was really cool.  The project, DYI Frankenstein Bulb by snow1434 (, used light bulbs to make a really cool looking light.  

Thinking it was really cool, and knowing my four year old son loves monsters and old school looking things.  Of course I took some liberties with the design, and the layout (which is what this instruct able is about) but all  of the basics are the same as snow1434's project.  I forgot to take pictures of every stage, but I do have videos of most of them, so be sure to watch the videos too.  This is my first time with a lot of these items, acrylic and soldering especially.

Well here goes...

Step 1: The Design

In this, like snow1434, I used two LEDs in parallel.  The only superbright LEDs I had around were blue ones that I got from  So that is the most obvious difference right now.  Also I removed the battery from the design, and added a wall wart.  I used an old 6v, 2A wall wart that hash't been used in years.  I then added mounts for the bulbs to make them a bit more steady.  Since I built this for my four year old, I wanted and needed it to be a bit stronger.  The other main design change was that I used an enclosure.  Once again this was based on who I build it for.  I didn't want to have to deal with broken glass everywhere if my son managed to break it.  So this looks vastly different from snow1434's, but they are very similar.

Step 2: The Schematic

The power comes from a 6 volt, 2 Amp wall war that I had laying around.   I cut the connector at the end off, stripped the insulation and added some solder on the wire.  I did this simply because the wall wart used twisted wire strands, and the solder made it easier to handle and manipulate by making it a single strand of wire.  The positive strand got soldered to a switch, then the negative side of the switch was wired to the LEDs positive terminal (the longer connector on the LED).  The negative terminals of the LEDs went to the negative strand of the wall wart.  After setting this up without the solder to test the circuit, I found that the wall wart supplied just a bit too much power to the LEDs and I kept blowing them.  So I added a 1 kilo-Ohm resistor between the negative end of the switch and the positive terminal of the LEDs.  This made the circuit stable.

Step 3: The Parts List

I used as many parts as I could that I had laying around, mainly to keep the costs down.

2 Incandescent Light bulbs
1 Medium bottle of hand sanitizer (clear)
1 bottle of Hair gel (clear)
2 PVC pipe fittings
1 Electrical Junction Box
1 Switch
1 6V, 2A wall wart
1 sheet of Acrylic
2 Super Bright LEDs
Hot glue gun with glue
Soldering Iron with solder

The only parts that I had to buy were the pipe fittings, junction box, and acrylic.  The size of the box and acrylic determined my price for this, so all in all I spent about $17 bucks.  I had gotten all of the parts that I already had from, minus the glue and and hot glue gun.  Everything else came from my local Home Depot.

Step 4: Light Bulbs

Clean out lightbulbs:
I used the same method of the cleaning out the bulbs as snow1434.  Using needle nose pliers to pull off the terminal off the bottom of the bulb, then I used a screw driver to pry out the insulation (black part) and the internal bits of the bulb.  Then filled it about half way with water and swirl and shake it around to get all of the talcum powder out.  Once they are clear, you are good to go.

Fill Lightbulbs:
I originally used hand sanitizer in both bulbs.  During the final assembly though I broke one bulb.  I was out of hand sanitizer so I filled it with clear hair gel.  This is why in some pictures the color is different in the bulbs and later they are the same, but consistency is different.  

Install LEDs in Lightbulbs:
I took a small piece of cardboard from some packaging, and cut it into a small square.  Then I poked a couple of holes in it.  I slid the LED terminals through the holes and pushed the cardboard into the lightbulb.  I used this as a place holder for the LEDs, and to give me a somewhat solid piece to hot glue to the bottom.  This square held the hot glue in the bottom of the bulb so that it could dry without mixing with the contents of the lightbulb.

Step 5: LEDs

Once both LEDs are installed in the lightbulubs I begin to solder them.

I solder the negative terminals together, and the positive terminals together.

The picture is a bit deceiving.  That was my first attempt, then I realized that I had to unsolder that so that I could slide the bulb mounts onto the base. I don't have a picture of that, but the end result was the same, just the PVC mounts were on the bulbs.

Step 6: Encolsure

I took a standard 6x6x4 inch Electrical Junction box.  I drilled a half inch hole in the back of the box for the switch, and a quarter inch hole for the wall wart.  I installed the switch and the wall wart wires.  I Then soldered the wires to the switch and the negative terminals.  I mounted the lightbulb mounts into the box, then hot glued everything in place.  Once in place and circuit tested, I installed the Acrylic cover on the from of the box.  This was simply so that if the bulbs broke, the glass would be contained as much as possible.  I used the lid that came with the box as the template for the Acrylic to tell me where to cut it.  

Step 7: Mounting

Once I had the LEDs, switch, and wall wart wired up and set-up for mounting I began the tricky parts.  I had to add additional wire so that I could do all of the soldering outside of the enclosure before the parts were assembled inside of it.  This is primarily due to my fingers not being able to reach around the bulbs to solder or organize.  So the inside of the enclosure has wires laying around, but I think it adds to the mad scientist look, so I am not upset about it.  

Step 8: Conclusion

This is my first attempt on a lot of these.  As you could see I changed the orientation of one of the light bulbs about half way through.  I thought that this gave the bulbs some separation, and gave it a little bit of a different look as well.  I plan to build more in the future.  once I get better tools and such, I hope they will be bigger and cleaner looking.  Well, I hope you enjoyed this instructable..... Thanks for viewing.

Step 9: UPDATE!!!

So during a move the acrylic broke on the front of the light. So I remade it with steel hobby plates. The steps all stayed the same, except for the mounting. It is pretty versatile, you can build whatever shape you like and slide in the bulbs. I didn't have a resistor in with the new design because I put a new power cord on it that only had .35mA. It was just enough to light both LEDs, so no resistors needed. I also ground the power to the frame itself, and the metal threads of the bulb completed the circuit.

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