Stylish Half-bottle LED Lights




Introduction: Stylish Half-bottle LED Lights

About: I am a huge fan of chocolate!

Hello everyone!

I want to show you how I converted some daily used objects into a stylish array of four LED lamps that can be used anywhere in the house. I made them for the kitchen table, and they look so good that I will make another set for my desk.

These are not capable to replace your standard bulb and only add some light above the place you hang them on. They will add a stylish touch to any room.

I have tried to make lots of photos to avoid reading long boring texts, so if you need more info, just tell me! Check out my photos and instructions and leave your comment. I will be glad to hear what you have in mind!

Step 1: Use Reuse Recycle

I have tried to use only stuff that was laying around the house, we all want to be sustainable after all.
  • Glass bottles
  • Phone charger
  • Bottle cork
  • Nail polish
How would you use your old phone battery charger?
Do you always recycle glass bottles?
What about wood material such as cork?
Where do people bin the nail polish that they don't need?
How many energy saving lights do you have at home?

Answering these questions shows where my inspiration came from. I was just thinking about daily life sustainability ... all items which come in shiny packaging and when we don't need them ... we throw them in te bin.

What you may need to buy is:
  • LEDs (I used 32 white 5mm LEDs)
  • Resistors (fixed and variable)
  • Cables
  • Prototyping PCB
  • Switch

You also need some tools like:
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Wood carving kit
  • Soldering iron and wire
  • Glass cutter

Don't forget!
  • Safety glasses

Step 2: A Special Brightness Control Feature

I have used a bottle cork and built a switch and a potentiometer inside.

The switch turns all lights on/off and with the potentiometer you control the brightness.

You can see the switch on the side. The lower part below it can be rotated clockwise to make the lights brighter and counterclockwise to make them dimmer.

Step 3: Old Phone Charger

We are using stuff laying around the house, so find your old Nokia and use the charger. I had a Samsung laying around and used that.

Any charger that produces 5V DC can be used. Check the charger rating - it depends on the number of LEDs you use, but I think 500mA is minimum.

My charger is rated at 700mA and I used 4 lamps each having 8 lLEDs, 32 in total.

I have mentioned sustainability above. How my design is more sustainable from the conventional lamps is that it uses little energy resources and still gives the desired effect. Four small size bulbs would produce a lot more light output, but at 15 times the power consumption.

A typical phone charger produces 0.5 to 1.0 A current at 5V DC, which is around 2.5 to 5W which is way less than any conventional tungsten light bulb.

Step 4: Schematic

Look at my diagram that describes the electrical connections.

So I have 8 LEDs in parallel for each lamp in series with  2x10 Ohm resistors which are in parallel.

For the brightness regulator I use a 0-500 Ohm potentiometer and a 8.2 kOhm resistor and using these I form a potential divider. The middle point is where I connect the LED lamps.

If you alter the number of LEDs or the power supply or something else, you will have to measure the current through the LEDs. At maximum brightness, it is good to keep the current through the LEDs less than 15mA.

Step 5: PCB

Prepare a round piece of the prototyping board, two 10 Ohm resistors and 8 LEDs.

Step 6: Solder

Put the LEDs so that they form a circle.

All long (or all short) legs should face to the centre.

Now bend legs to form two loops - positive and negative.  Do not mix short and long legs.

Solder and trim.

Step 7: Resistors in Parallel

Place the two 10 Ohm resistors in the centre and solder them in parallel.

Connect one side of the resistors to the positive LED terminal - with the longer legs.

This will become the positive connection and the resistors will restrict the current flow.

Why two resistors in parallel?

10*10 / ( 10 +10 ) = 5

So the total resistance will be 5 Ohms. With using 2 resistors that equal 5 Ohms, the heat dissipation is better and the resistors won't heat so much and they can be smaller size and wattage rating.

Finally solder a wire and make sure all LEDs work. If none works, then check the polarity of your power supply. If only some work, then you may have soldered some LEDs the wrong way around.

Step 8: Cork Control

Choose a switch and a potentiometer that you think will fit inside the cork.

Cut a small portion of the cork that will be the brightness control.

Then split the rest of the cork in two.

Step 9: Carve the Cork

By using tools that carve wood you can make space for the switch and potentiometer inside the cork.

Cork is soft and I used a rotary tool that 'eats' it rather easy and quick.

The potentiometer sits below the switch. I was able to use a two wire cable and also made space for it in the cork.

Step 10: Potentiometer Control

Using a piece of plastic card, I made a shaft between the potentiometer and the cork. All was glued with instant glue.

I would recommend to find a potentiometer with bigger shaft so you won't have to do the trick with the plastic shaft.

Step 11: Glue the Cork Enclosure

Check operation and then use wood glue to attach the two halves.

I used glue called "Moment" and it worked out well.

Step 12: Glass Cutting

Do not try this if you are unsure. Give it to someone with experience - it could be the local glass repair shop or something like this.

I attempted to cut the top of the bottles using the hot/cold water way. There are numerous ways shown online, so just google it.

Wear safety glasses!

What you need to do is scratch the bottle around the outer side where you want to cut it. I used a glass cutter from the local store.

Step 13: Hot & Cold Water

Boil some water in the kettle. Now pour some hot water on the place that you scratched and rotate the bottle.

Stop and repeat with cold water.

Do this until the top of the bottle comes off by itself.

Step 14: Bottle Cuts Results

Here are some of my attempts. I cut 6 bottles in total to get 4 decently looking bottle pieces.

Be careful because the edge is very sharp.

At this point you can sand the edge with some sanding paper, but I did not have one, so I skipped that.

Step 15: Caps & Assembly

Using a screwdriver or a drill, make holes on the caps and feed the wires through them. Close the caps back to the bottles.

Tie a knot on the cables and leave the board with the LEDs hang in the centre of the bottle.

If a knot does not work use cable ties or glue.

Step 16: Operation Check

They look beautiful, hmm?

Now it's up to you to hang them somewhere. Maybe above the desk or next to the TV?

Mine are above the dining table.

They also make good use when watching the TV, because they emit soft light and it can be dimmed easily.

Step 17: Adding Bling Bling

I painted the edge of one bottle with nail polish. There is some glowing effect and the edge becomes very shiny.

Dots also look very nice and make the lamps stand out even more.

Step 18: Moments of Joy

All there is left is to enjoy what we have made!

I've added lots of photos in this step to show all aspects of the lights.

I hope to hear from you what you think, like, dislike or recommend!

I will be more than happy to give a pro membership to the ones that attempt to follow and recreate my instructable! I have a spare pro membership code that will be given to the first who posts his results in pictures below in the comments (I just have one code)!

Happy instructablesing and please vote for me if you like what I have shown here!

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    6 years ago

    Led timers


    8 years ago

    might try this, although I would use a higher power Led and would probably silver the enclosure


    Reply 8 years ago

    also might want to get a buck converter to regulate current


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Love the half bottles cut high like you did,they look so much better than the Mason jars that you see a lot of people using.Did you consider using the small candle type bulbs,or was the LEDs always your intention?


    10 years ago on Step 15

    One oh the best instructables ever seen!!!
    Just some question that may help me understand the whole thing: what did you use to join the 4 ligths cables with the regulation one? Did you use some kind of external box joined to the ceiling? And, OK for the phone charger, but how did you bring the CC to the ceiling? Thanks in advance for your answers (and be patient with my poor english...).


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction


    I used just two pieces of shrink tube. I soldered all connections on one spot, then put the shrink tube on top and heated a bit with a lighter.

    And all the lights and cables are hanging on a piece of wood attached to the pipe that is the exhaust pipe from the flat heating system - this is a plastic NOT hot pipe.

    What do you mean by CC?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I've done it!!! Tnx Kukubee for inspiration. I've followed your instructions for the electrical side of your Instructable. But I've put together some IKEA (God always bless them) stuff to build the rest. In the pictures you see how it looks like.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry, "CC" is the italian for "DC" current.

    Alex Loftie
    Alex Loftie

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea, I love it.
    I did something similar using coke bottles and colored water check it out on my page!


    10 years ago on Step 5


    but, could you incorporate this into the design??


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    That would make it run on free energy. I have never thought about this, thanks for sharing :)


    10 years ago on Step 17

    Nicely done!I cheated and bought pre-wired led arrays from AllelectronicsI also used some Japanese soda bottles that were already pretty decorative so I skipped a lot of steps but still came out well.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I'd love to see how you made it! Post a picture in the reply here.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Lovely and brilliant. It bothers me that you didn't sand down the edges - sooner or later someone will pay for that skipped step.

    So, next time, just use an emery board if you don't have sandpaper handy. From your manicure in one of your shots, I'm betting you have some of those around!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love this!!! I've got some bottles that I love the shapes of....this would be an awesome way to enjoy them!

    Very well-written Instructable!


    10 years ago on Step 2

    HA!!! The cork dimmer-power is a fantastic idea!!
    thanks for sharing!