Introduction: Mood Lighting Using Recycleables

I wanted some mood lighting in my bedroom and wanted to try my hand at using LEDs, so here is an ambient light fixture that uses red LEDs and emits just enough light and looks really really cool. The whole design was influenced by a line of bulbs often found in dressing rooms. It is made up completely of recyclable materials such as cardboard from an ikea box and plastic arrowhead water bottles that I collect at my work place. GO GREEEN!

Vote for it for the Let It Glow contest!

Step 1: What You Need

1. Cardboard for the base - I cut some out from an IKEA box
2. Plastic water bottles (0.5L) - thinner plastic = better for this project
3. Spray paint/acryllic paint
4. Painter's tape
5. Red LEDs - 20mA at 3V
6. Battery holder + 3 AA batteries
7. Wire
8. Solder and soldering Iron,
9. Wire cutter
10. Super Glue
11. Some pointy tool to punch holes.

Step 2: Make Ready

Remove the caps on the bottles and crush them vertically from the top. I got this idea from the Colourful Bottle instructable at Thanks mercurius. After crushing, put the cap on so it remains crushed.

Place the crushed bottles on to the aqua blue core like you want. I did a 10 rows by 4 columns arrangement to give it a modern look. Measure the length and breadth and divide into 40 squares. Find the center of each square and using a pointy tool, punch a hole at the center.

Clean the base with a dry cloth to get rid of any dust. Spray paint it the way you like it. I gave it a red border with an aqua blue core. Leave it to dry. Go crazy here!!! Paint it how you like it. You don't even have to paint it. You can cover it with different kinds of paper/fabric/newspaper ads that fill up our mailboxes... anything.. or just leave it like that.

Step 3: Sticky Sticky

Uncap the bottles and punch a hole through their center using a pointy tool. Make sure each hole in the cap and the board is big enough to fit two wires.

Super glue the caps onto the board with their inside facing away from the board so you can screw the bottle on later. Let it dry.

Step 4: The LEDs Finally

I used to calculate the resistance needed for a 20mA, 3V led with a supply voltage of 3.6V. Turned out to be 33ohms for me. Carefully solder one end of the resistor to the positive leg of the LED. I twisted them first which made it easier to solder. Check the connection by hooking it up to a battery pack .

Cut about 6" long strips of electrical wire (I used green for -ve and blue for the +ve terminals). And solder a green to the short leg of the LED and the blue to the open end of the resistor. Insulate the two connections from each other using electrical tape. I made sure I twisted them far apart so they would never come in contact... but insulating is always the better thing to do.

When you have all the LEDs soldered, check the connections again to save you rewiring misery later. Thread the green and the blue wires thru each bottle cap and the cardboard so the LED + resistor sticks out from the cap. Screw the bottles on.

Step 5: Almost There!!!!

Gently turn the whole base with bottles around so the backside is exopsed. Now comes the tedious part. Soldering everything together! Connecting in parallel is the way to go so connect all the greens and all the blues together. Tape it all up so there's no wires sticking out. Hook it up to the battery pack and you are done!

You can nail it directly to the wall or build a quick wooden frame for it an dthen hang it.. your call. Ping me if you have questions... And if you like the project, please rate it generously. I am entering it for the Let It Glow contest. Thanks!!

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