Introduction: Upcycled GREEN Nature Lamp

About: Arduino and Robotics Nerd, and alumni of FIRST Robotics Team 5683 (Go R.A.V.E.!). Blinking LEDs with Arduino is still one of my favorite pastimes even after years of doing it.

Gather round, I got me a lamp that y'all might wanna try makin', just gimme a moment to show y'all how.

Here we have us a fantastic green upcycled lamp, featuring a jar, USB or battery power, and a log. Oh, and it has RGB LEDs in it. Even though I only wanted green light. More options for later, I suppose.

It's green for 3 reasons:

  • It uses mostly natural and recycled materials, so it is environmentally friendly
  • It has Green LEDs
  • It is painted green in accordance with the nature theme

I don't know why I continue to do projects that involve woodworking when I clearly don't have the right tools, but here I am again. I found myself a good sized log the other day, and a funky looking jar. Heck with it, let's try to make something useful.

Looking around my workspace, my eyes landed on one of those RGB submersible battery powered IR contolled light disk thingy-ma-jiggers that you can buy for real cheap, and that's when I twigged (well, in this case logged) a fantastic idea. Let's build us a lamp! And better yet, a nature-y green lamp with leaf patterns!

If you like this, please leave a vote in the Colors of the Rainbow contest, I'd really appreciate it, and don't forget to comment, favorite, follow, whatever. I really appreciate feedback of any sort ('cuz I really don't get much in the first place) and your support and opinions help me formulate new and cool ideas for awesome projects to put up here on Instructables. So yeah, lemme know y'all exist, and let's go do summat cool!

Step 1: Gathering Materials

Here we go again... Even though it may seem trivial, you should always make sure you have everything you need before you begin a project.

You will need:

1x small jar (mine is from a set of binder clips)

1x Submersible RGB Lamp with IR Remote (you can get them here)

1x log of diameter greater than 4"

1x USB cable (mine is recycled from a mouse)

Some dried moss

Green and Yellow gloss spraypaint

masking tape

a toothpick


Hot Glue Gun

Soldering Iron


Drill with a 3" holesaw


X-acto Knife

Step 2: Cutting the Log

So here is the painstaking part... That is, if you live in Spain and cut this in the blazing midday sun with a hand saw because you didn't think things through very well.

Well, the first step is to cut yourself a fairly straight bit of log about 3" tall.

Now, clamp it down real good on a second piece of wood, whick should in turn be clamped down real good, and put on a pair of safety glasses.

Arm your drill with the holesaw, and proceed to hollow out the center of your section of log. If your holesaw is too short it may be necessary to flip the log over and finish the cut from the opposite side.

Now, switch out your bit for a 1/4 inch twist bit, and drill a hole through the side, close to whichever end of the log you want to be the bottom of your lamp.

Sand as necessary, and then you can move on to the next step.

Step 3: Painting the Jar

To keep the paint nice and add cool effects, we will be painting the inside of the jar rather than the outside.

Before we do that, though, use masking tape to cut out some tropical looking leaf patterns, and place these on the interior face of the jar as you like. These will end up being the transparent patterns that make the lamp unique.

After you do that, take the jar and your paint outside. Place the jar on top of something you don't mind getting paint on, and shake up your paint cans as per the instructions on the bottles.

Now, first apply a layer of green paint on the interior of the jar, keeping it thin so as to allow some light to pass through. Then, flip the jar over and let it sit for about an hour.

Now, flip the jar back to right-side up, and add a very light layer of yellow paint. This makes our lamp have warmer, more welcoming light later on.

Use the toothpick to swirl cool patterns into the drying paint in the jar, and let dry completely. Then, use an X-acto knife or your toothpick to carefully peel off and remove the leaf patterns.

And now we have our lampshade! Let's get our lights working now!

Step 4: Electronics & Stuff

Here we will get our lights up and running! I decided to add the USB because I don't like how fast these lights drain my rechargeable AAA batteries, and since at a full charge three AAAs will hold a nominal voltage of slightly over 5V, a USB power supply will function perfectly.

The first step is to disassemble our RGB light doodad. A few screws later, and we have a nice, compact LED control board with an integrated battery holder.

Now, thread the non-USB end of our USB cable through that hole we made earlier, and let's have a lookie at the ends. Using a multimeter, you are able to plug the USB into a charging port and easily determine the power and ground pins. Strip these and insulate the other two wires, we don't need them.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures for this next bit (I can't safely hold a camera, soldering iron, and wires all at the same time), but it'll be simple if you know even a little about electronics. All you have to do is solder the Positive wire of the USB cable to the Positive pin on the integrated battery holder, and the Ground likewise to Negative. Then, plug it in to test it works, and hot glue the joints to solidify them.

Insert the LED bit into the hole in the log, and glue it in place close to the bottom. Pull the USB cable out so only what is needed remains within the log, and seal the little hole with hot glue to hold the cable in place.

I ran another test to ensure it works, and being satisfied with the results, moved on to the next bit.

Step 5: Final Aesthetics and Assembly

Finally, the last step!

First, take your dried moss and arrange it around the hole at the top of the lamp. It will look a bit like a nest. Glue it down, being careful not to destroy the moss or make a visible glue mess.

Now, take your jar, and glue it in place with the mouth in the hole.

Additional things you can add are rubber feet and fake leaves (real ones will desintegrate over time).

Now you have a complete lamp!

Step 6: The Grande Finale

Now we have an awesome green remote-controlled lamp!

I like that the little LED things have different effects, so I can make my lamp pulse like a beacon signifying the activation of some mysterious ecological program in a lab deep underground in Area 51.

It also has a huge selection of different brightnesses and greens, I personally prefer the yellow-green light as it gives a more welcoming, warm light as compared to straight green. I can turn it on and off from across the room, which is cool because then I can rig it to make friends think I have magical powers or something like that.

Anyway, thanks for following along, and don't forget to vote, comment, or ask any questions if you have them.

As always, these are the projects of Dangerously Explosive, his lifelong mission, "To boldly build what you want to build, and more!"

You can find the rest of my projects here.

Happy Making!

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