Introduction: Ramen Bowl Lamp With Yellow LEDs
You’d think after living off 10 cent ramen packets in college, I would be sick of the stuff, but many years later I still have a great fondness for the inexpensive noodle bricks. Admittedly, as a semi-health conscious adult with a slightly more sophisticated pallet, I consume the instant noodles infrequently and save my ramen cravings for the quaint little ramen restaurant downtown, where the ramen is cooked to noodly perfection and accompanied by a boiled egg, seaweed, and my choice of meat.
It’s comfort food at its finest, and when I noticed that the inexpensive Walmart lamp I had illuminating a corner of my living room resembled the large bowls used at my favorite ramen restaurant, I decided to give my lamp a makeover and transform it into something just as warm and comforting as my favorite bowl of tonkotsu ramen.
And so, the Ramen Bowl Lamp was born.
LEDs and Connections:
- Yellow 12V LED strip
- Female DC Power Pigtail Cable
- 12V DC wall power adapter
- DC 12V inline On/Off switch
- Heat shrinking tubes and/or electrical tape.
- Electrical wire (as needed)
- Floor lamp with transparent bowl-shaped lampshade (I bought mine for $5 from my local Walmart)
- E600 glue
- Plastazote (LED foam)
- Wooden or metal chopsticks
- 24 gauge jewelry wire
- Two-part resin
- UV resin (optional)
- Transparent orange/amber resin dye
- Aluminum foil
- Sculpey Bake® and Bond
- Kinder Joy® wrapper
- Boba/bubble tea straw (preferably green, clear, or white)
- Baking parchment
- Polymer Clay in the following colors:
- Light grey
- Light green
Step 1: Assembling the Bowl
The first step in creating your Ramen Bowl Lamp is deconstructing the store-bought standing lamp and harvesting the lampshade and base. If you purchased the same lamp as I did [Image 1.01], the lampshade is already detached [Image 1.02], but in order to detach the base from the rest of the parts, you will need to either cut the cord [Image 1.03] or disconnect the positive and negative ends of the cord from the light bulb socket. For the Ramen Bowl Lamp, we will not need the power cord and bulb socket that came with the store-bought lamp because we will be installing LEDs, so If you have no intention of re-purposing the leftover pieces for another project, just cut the cord and unthread it from the lamp base to save yourself a few minutes.
Once you have your lampshade and lamp base, use E600 glue to attach the bottom of the shade directly to the center of the base [Image 1.04]. You want to have a really strong hold between these two pieces, so follow the E600 package instructions and let the glue cure for 24 hours.
Tip: I turned my lamp upside down [Image 1.05] so that the heavier weight of the base ensured a solid connection between the two pieces while the glue dried.
Step 2: Installing the LED Support Post
Before you begin: If you are still waiting on the E600 glue to cure between the bowl and base, skip this step for now and come back to it after the suggested cure time. Otherwise, you’re ready to install the piece that will support the LEDs inside the Ramen Bowl Lamp.
In order to get the light to shine outwards and illuminate the bowl, you need to insert a post in the center of the lampshade bowl that you can wrap the LEDs around. For my Ramen Bowl Lamp, I repurposed the plastic funnel-shaped cover for the light bulb socket [Image 2.01] from the original standing lamp by removing all the internal components from the plastic cover [Image 2.02] and widening the hole at the bottom of the funnel a little bit with a Dremel and grinding attachment [Image 2.03].
Crafting Substitution: If you use a different standing lamp for this project that does not have the plastic funnel or an equivalent piece, you can use a toilet paper tube or similar hollow, cylindrical object as a substitution. Just make sure that it will fit around the hole in the center of the lamp base and that the height of the object is about 1.5 to 2 inches (3.81 to 5.08 cm) shorter than the rim of the lampshade bowl, leaving room for the faux ramen ingredients to go on top in the later steps.
Fit the plastic funnel over the hollow screw in the center of the lamp base [Image 2.04] and secure it into place by filling the space inside the funnel around the screw with hot glue [Image 2.05]. I added a ring of hot glue around the outer edge of the funnel [Image 2.06] for extra stability.
Step 3: Soldering and Powering the LEDs
The wiring for this project is very straightforward and only requires soldering the connections between the LEDs and the female DC power pigtail cable [Image 3.01]. Everything else plugs together.
No-solder Alternative: Some 12V LED strips come with a female DC connector attached, but the provided cord is usually too short to run the wires as demonstrated in this tutorial. If you are not comfortable with a soldering iron and would prefer to use LEDs with a pre-attached DC connector, despite the shorter length, skip ahead to Step 4: Installing the LEDs and read the “LED Installation Alternative” section.
Cut off approximately 1.5 yards (1.4 meters) from your spool of LEDs, taking care to snip where indicated [Image 3.02]. Strip the ends of the positive (red) and negative (black) wires [Image 3.03] on both the LEDs and the DC power cable.
Thread a heat shrinking tube on the positive wire to the LEDs [Image 3.04] before twisting the two positive wires together and soldering them in place [Image 3.05]. After the solder has cooled, slide the heat shrinking tube over the soldered connection and use a lighter to shrink the tube around the wires [Image 3.06]. Repeat the process to connect the negative wires, and wrap electrical tape around both wires [Image 3.07] for additional stability.
Note: The wire on my DC power pigtail cable measured 9.5 inches (~24 cm), and when combined with the wires attached to the LEDs, it was more than the needed length to run the power down through the center post and out underneath the lamp base, as shown in Step 4: Installing the LEDs. If your wires are not long enough, add additional lengths of wire during the above process as needed.
Step 4: Installing the LEDs
Before you begin: This is another step that you need to skip if you are still waiting on the E600 glue to cure between the bowl and base. The lampshade bowl and base will undergo a bit of manhandling when installing the LEDs, so it is very important that you let the glue dry. If your glue isn’t dry, skip the LED installation and begin working on sculpting the ramen ingredients while you wait.
If the glue is dry and you’re ready to install your LEDs, flip the bowl over so that you can see the bottom of the lamp base. Locate the hole where the original power cord fed through the external side of the lamp base [Image 4.01]. My lamp base had a little plastic piece plugged into the hole that, when removed, made the hole big enough to accommodate the DC plug [Image 4.02], but if yours is too small use a drill to enlarge it to the size of the DC plug.
Pour an ample amount of hot glue around the body of the plug [Image 4.03], holding it in place and keeping it parallel to the bottom of the lamp until the glue cools.
Take the end of the LEDs, and thread them through the center hole in lamp shade base [Image 4.04] and pull them out the top of the funnel on the inside of the lamp shade [Image 4.05].
Pull the wires taught, and turn the lamp upside down again. Add hot glue around the center hole where the wires feed to the inside of the lamp [Image 4.06]. When the hot glue has cooled, you can flip the lamp back over [Image 4.07] and begin attaching the LEDs.
First, arrange the wires so that they are wrapped around the inside of funnel without any sort of bending or pinching and so that the beginning of the LEDs is on the outside rim of the funnel [Image 4.08]. Hot glue the wires in place [Image 4.09].
Next, peel away the paper protecting the adhesive on the the back of the LEDs a few inches at a time and hot glue them to the outside of the funnel [Image 4.10]. The adhesive on the back of the LEDs isn’t great, so make sure you use hot glue. Continue to add the LEDs to the outside of the funnel, moving down in a spiral [Image 4.11]. When you get to the bottom of the funnel, cut away any excess LEDs at the nearest cut mark.
LED Installation Alternative: If you purchased LEDs with a pre-installed DC power connection, the cord between the plug and LEDs is most likely too short to run through the center and out the bottom of the lamp base. Instead, drill a hole in the side of the lampshade bowl near the lamp base, poke the DC plug through the hole, secure it with hot glue from the inside of the lampshade, and wrap the LEDs around the funnel, working from the bottom to the top.
Connect a DC 12V inline switch to a DC power source, and then plug them into the female connection installed in the lamp [Image 4.12]. Plug the power source into a wall outlet, flip the switch, and tada! Let there be light [Image 4.13]!
Step 5: LED Foam Installation
Now that your LEDs are installed and casting a warm yellow glow, you need to create the platform on top of which your ramen will hover above the lights.
Begin by using a ruler or tape measure to determine the diameter of the bowl at the point directly above the top of the funnel [Image 5.01]. For those of you using the same lamp as I did, the diameter is approximately 9.5 inches (~24 cm).
Take that measurement, calculate the radius, and use a compass to draw a circle with the appropriate circumference on a large piece of paper or baking parchment [Image 5.02]. Cut out the circle [Image 5.03] and trace it onto a piece of Plastazote (LED foam) [Image 5.04]. Cut out the foam circle [Image 5.05].
Crafting Substitution: You can use cardboard, foam board, or any other stiff material you want for this process, but I chose to use LED foam because it is transparent enough to let the light from below shine through and illuminate the ramen broth in the final product.
Take the foam circle and place it inside the bowl on top of the funnel [Image 5.06] to see if it fits. Trim around the edges--if needed--in order to make it lay flat and flush against the inside of the bowl. Once you have the perfect fit, temporarily remove the foam in order to add hot glue to the rim of the funnel [Image 5.07]. Return the LED foam back to the inside of the bowl, pressing it into the hot glue, and then add more hot glue around the full circumference of the foam circle [Image 5.08], creating a tight seal between the LED foam and the inside of the lampshade.
Note: It is very important that you go around the full circle and fill any gaps between the foam and lampshade. If you have any gaps, the resin you add to the bowl in one of the last steps will leak through to the bottom of the bowl where the LEDs are and create a mess that will be hard to fix. It will lead to a lot of frustration, so use a lot of hot glue and save yourself a headache. Let the hot glue cool and go around a second time if you’re extra paranoid.
Now it’s time to construct all the yummy looking ramen ingredients that will go in your ramen bowl lamp! The following steps will walk you through creating the different items pictured in my Ramen Bowl Lamp.
Step 6: Floating Chopsticks
To create your floating chopsticks, you will first need a pair of wooden or metal chopsticks. Avoid any sort of decorative chopsticks with paint or varnish, as you will be baking these chopsticks, and paint or varnish could get ruined in the baking process.
Once you have your chopsticks picked out, cut a length of 24 gauge jewelry wire about 2 feet (0.60 meters) long [Image 6.01]. Bend the wire in half [Image 6.02] and insert one of the chopsticks into the bend near the tip of the chopstick, twisting the wire around the chopstick [Image 6.03]. Twist the wire another 0.25 inches (0.635 cm) [Image 6.04] before inserting the second chopstick and wrapping the wire around it, too [Image 6.05]. The chopsticks should now be attached to each other and separated by a 0.25 inch gap of twisted wire.
Continue twisting the wire below the second chopstick for another 4 to 5 inches (10.16 to 12.7 cm) before splitting the two ends in separate directions forming what looks like a capital “T” and looping them back towards the center, creating two 1 inch (2.54 cm) long "bunny ears" [Image 6.06]. Twist the rest of the wire back up towards the chopsticks [Image 6.07], creating a strong wire stand [Image 6.08].
Cover the wire stand in transparent or a light colored polymer clay for added strength [Image 6.09], making sure that the chopsticks are positioned so that the tips are pinched and angled downwards slightly. Bake the stand and chopsticks according to the instructions on polymer clay packaging.
Step 7: Ramen Noodles
While the chopsticks and stand are baking and cooling, you can create your ramen noodles out of transparent polymer clay. If you have a clay extruder, choose a disk with multiple small circular holes [Image 7.01], fill the extruder with transparent clay, and use the extruder to create your faux ramen noodles [Image 7.02]. If you don’t have a clay extruder, you can roll out the clay by hand.
Once the chopsticks and stand have cooled, add Sculpey® Bake and Bond to the stand [Image 7.03] and begin draping your polymer clay noodles over the stand in random swirly abandon, pressing them gently into the Bake and Bond [Image 7.04]. Continue until the stand is completely covered [Image 7.05], and then add more faux noodles around the base [Image 7.06].
Tip: The fake noodles, especially the pile at the bottom, will be fragile until they are baked and cooled, so before you begin adding the noodles to the chopsticks and stand, place everything on a sturdy pan or cookie sheet that can go in the oven with the floating chopsticks and ramen to avoid handling the structure as much as possible. If you must handle the floating chopsticks, it is best to pick them up by the chopsticks with one hand and use your other hand to cup the noodles from underneath.
Use your leftover transparent clay to create additional clumps of ramen noodles to bake separately [Image 7.07]. These will be used to fill in gaps between other ramen ingredients in the bowl. Bake the floating chopsticks and ramen according to the package instructions.
After the floating chopsticks and noodles have cooled, add hot glue to the center of the LED foam inside the bowl and glue the floating chopsticks in place [Image 7.08].
Tip: Don’t forget to consider the location of the port for the power cord when gluing the floating floating chopsticks in place. Ideally, the power cord will be the “back” of the lamp, so place the floating chopsticks according to your preference of how you would like them to be viewed from the front.
Step 8: Boiled Egg
The trick to creating a perfectly sized and shaped polymer clay egg is a Kinder Joy® wrapper, so take half of the plastic shell wrapper and cram it with white polymer clay, making the bottom as flat and smooth as possible [Image 8.01]. Flip it upside down and push the clay out of the plastic shell [Image 8.02].
Now, the plastic Kinder Joy® wrapper isn’t very forgiving, so you are likely to end up with a crater on the curved side of the clay egg half, but that’s fine because the next step to creating the egg is to cut the curved top half off with a clay slicer [Image 8.03]. The ramen for the lamp isn’t going to be very deep, so in order for boiled eggs look like they are floating on the surface, the excess depth needs to be cut away.
Flip the egg over so the wider side is facing up and the former curved side is on the bottom, place a round circle cutter where you want your egg yolk to be, and cut out a circle [Image 8.04]. Take the circular piece of clay that was removed, split it in half along the edge with a clay cutter, and then put it back in the hole [Image 8.05].
Next, roll out a thin sheet of yellow polymer clay, and using the same circle cutter, cut out a thin yellow circle [Image 8.06]. Place the yellow circle inside the hole to create a yolk [Image 8.07], which should be slightly shallower than the egg whites.
Bake the egg according to polymer clay package instructions.
After the faux eggs have cooled, poor some resin on top of the yolk and mix in a tiny amount of orange/amber resin dye with a toothpick [Image 8.08] to give the yolk a nice soft boiled egg appearance. For this particular step, I used UV resin for a faster curing time with a UV lamp [Image 8.09], but you can use two-part resin as well.
Tip: If you chose to use two-part resin for your egg, time the construction of your your egg so that the resin is curing while the E600 glue is drying in Step 1: Assembling the Bowl. This way the completion of your Ramen Bowl Lamp is not further delayed.
After the resin is cured, your egg is done!
Step 9: Choy Sum
Choy Sum is a leafy vegetable often used in ramen. After it has been prepared and cooked, it doesn’t look like much floating in the ramen, but that just means it is super easy to recreate with polymer clay!
Roll out a thin strip of green polymer clay [Image 9.01], and then loosely bunch it up into a pile [Image 9.02].
And there you have it: choy sum!
To add a little dimension to your choy sum, use an Xacto knife to scrape off some powder from a black soft pastel [Image 9.03] and dust the powder into the valleys of the choy sum with a paint brush, creating shadows [Image 9.04]. Repeat the process with a light green pastel, dusting it on top of the peaks to create highlights [Image 9.05].
Bake the polymer clay choy sum, let it cool, and move onto the next ramen ingredient.
Step 10: Pork Slices
To create the pork slices, begin by rolling out some white polymer clay until it is about 0.25 inches (0.635 cm) thick, and then cut it into a rounded asymmetrical shape--think a pork loin or sirloin steak [Image 10.01]. Repeat until you have your desired number of pork slices [Image 10.02].
Use an Xacto knife or clay cutter to slice shallow lines into the surface of the clay [Image 10.03], and then add more texture by using a cleaned mascara brush to press and scrape across the surface [Image 10.04].
To color your pork slices, scrape off some power from brown and beige pastels [Image 10.05]. Mix in a little light grey, too, if you’re feeling adventurous. Use a paint brush to add the brown powder around the outer edge of the slices and the beige and light grey to the top [Image 10.06].
Tip: If your pastels are not going on dark enough, especially along the outer rim of the pork slices, use your finger to brush the powder onto the clay instead of a paintbrush.
Bake your clay pork slices, and they’re done!
Step 11: Fish Cake
That weird white thing with a pink spiral found floating in ramen is called a fish cake. It is also our last faux ingredient made from polymer clay.
Select some pink and white polymer clay, roll them out into tubes that taper to a point at one end, and curve the end of the white clay around the tip of the pink clay [Image 11.01].
Wrap the two tubes into a swirl, going around two to three times before cutting off the excess to just the pink tube [Image 11.02]. Go around the swirl with just the white polymer clay once, and then trim off the excess white clay [Image 11.03].
Use a roller to flatten and smooth the clay until there are no gaps between the pink and white clay [Image 11.04], but try not to make the fish cake too thin.
Cut the fish cake into an oval shape with an Xacto knife [Image 11.05], and then use a rounded sculpting tool to create slanted cuts around the outer edge of the fish cake [Image 11.06]. Cut away excess clay in the gaps with an Xacto knife and round the ridges with your fingers until you are happy with the shape [Image 11.07].
Bake the polymer clay fish cake, and it is done!
Step 12: Seaweed
To create faux seaweed, cut out a strip of aluminum foil that is approximately 2 inches (5.08 cm) wide and 6 inches (15.24) long [Image 12.01]. Crumple the foil into a loose ball and then uncrumple it to reveal all the little wrinkles [Image 12.02].
Paint the aluminum foil black with acrylic paint [Image 12.03], and after it has dried, go over it again with green acrylic paint and a dry brush [Image 12.04]. Repeat the painting process on the back side of the foil.
After the green paint has dried, you have fake seaweed [Image 12.05]!
Step 13: Chopped Green Onions
Do your best to locate a plastic green Boba/bubble tea straw like I did [Image 13.01], but if you cannot find one, start with a white or clear straw and paint it light green with acrylic paint. Then add dark green strips [Image 13.02] with a darker shade of acrylic paint.
Let the paint dry and cut the straw into pieces to create your chopped green onions [Image 13.03].
Step 14: Creating the Broth
The ramen broth is made of two-part resin. Mix the resin according to package instructions and then add a dab of white oil paint [Image 14.01]. Stir the oil paint into the resin until it looks cloudy and white, then add a dab of brown oil paint [Image 14.02] to the mix to give it a more soup-like color [Image 14.03].
Note: Make sure to use oil paint and not acrylic paint to tint the resin. Acrylic paint does not always work well with resin, and given the amount of resin used in this project, you want to minimize the possibility of it not curing properly.
When you have reached your desired color, pour the resin into the lamp bowl on top of the LED foam [Image 14.04]. Fill the bowl with resin until it is thick enough to cover the ring of hot glue around the edge of the bowl [Image 14.05]. It took about 300 milliliters of resin to fill my lamp bowl.
Step 15: Assembling the Ramen
While the resin is still liquid, add your ramen ingredients to the bowl and arrange them according to your preference [Image 15.01], coating them with resin as you go to make sure they look glossy and covered in broth. Fill in the gaps between larger ingredients with extra pieces of faux ramen noodles [Image 15.02].
Let the resin cure for the length of time indicated on the packaging.
Step 16: Finishing Touches
After the resin cured on my Ramen Bowl Lamp, I noticed that, when the lights were turned off, the LED foam and ramen ingredients were visible from the outside of the bowl. To disguise this noticeable ring around my bowl, I marked off a stripe around the circumference of the bowl with masking tape [Image 16.01] and painted a thick line with acrylic paint [Image 16.02].
After the paint dried, I removed the tape to reveal the new decorative stripe [Image 16.03].
Step 17: Completed Ramen Bowl Lamp!
The Ramen Bowl Lamp is now complete! I hope you enjoyed this Instructable!
Fourth Prize in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest