Introduction: Wonderlamp - Cheshire Cat Light


...most everyone is mad here, and I'm not all there myself...


This is a project developed for my MFA in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts. I used a lot of the school facilities to build this that are not available to everyone, but I tried to add some ideas about alternative ways of creating the same effect.

Step 1: Circuit Materials and Tools

You'll need:

12 10mm White LED (I used the diffused ones)

12 220 Ohm resistors (I used 24 of 100 ohms, paired in series to achieve 200 ohms)

01 PIR Motion Sensor

01 9DC 1000mA adapter 01 Arduino Uno

01 Breadboard

24 pieces (1in each) Heat-Shrink Tubes

24ft (8m) of wire in two different colors



Soldering Iron and solder

Heat Gun

Step 2: Soldering Extra Wires to LEDs

You’ll first need to extend the wires coming out from your LEDs so that you can distribute them along the eyes and the smile.

I soldered about 1 ft (30 cm) of extra wire to my LEDs. Make sure that you’ll use consistently different colors for positive and negative wires.

After you solder all of them, use heat-shrink tubes to insulate your connections. You can use a heat gun to shrink them.

Step 3: Building the Circuit on Your Arduino Board

Because the Arduino board only provides 5V to the pins, and each LED demands 3,5V we have to connect the LEDs in parallel.

Use 220 ohms resistors for each LED (I actually used two of 100 Ohms in series, but it made my board busier, as you see).

Connect the PIR Motion Sensor to pin 12 and the eye LEDs to pin 4. Connect the other pairs to pins 5,6,9,10 and 11.

Step 4: Arduino Code

Download the code attached.

Verify and upload the code to the circuit board.

Now the code will be saved to the Arduino board and you don’t need to use the computer anymore.

Make sure you'll wait enough time to the sensor calibrate.

Step 5: Building the Frame


Black and White vinyl

Wood Glue

Acrylic glue

Hot Glue

3M double-sided tape

Black matte spray paint ½”

MDF ⅛” acrylic (12” x 24” of translucent white and 12” x 24” of transparent grey)


CnC Router

Laser Cutter

Vinyl Printer and Cutter


I made the cylinder by using a CNC Router. If you don’t have access to one, you can order an acrylic cylinder in a specialized store.

If you do have access to a CNC, I cut 12 quarters of a circle, out of an ½ MDF panel + 1 circle for the front frame + 1 full circle for the back cap

My circles are 1 cm thick, but if I would redo it, I'd make it thicker.

For the first frame, you’ll need to leave a lip of about 0.15’x0.15’’ all around the circle. This will host the front cap (cat face) once it’s done.


Use wood glue to glue all the pieces together. I used my fingers to spread a thin layer of glue to both sides you’re gluing.

After you position the pieces, use the staple gun (or a hammer and nails) to hold the pieces in place.

Wait for the glue to dry.


Because MDF is too absorbent, you’ll need to glue wash it before painting.

Dissolve 1 part of glue in 1 part of water and spread a thin layer of the mixture on your frame.Be mindful of drips.

Let it dry for a couple of hours.


I did the nest for the sensor in the most difficult way, but you could only drill a hole on the frame.

Because my frame is too thin, i had to add add a block of wood to it so that I could fix the lid. If you make it thicker, you might not have that problem.

To spray paint, just make sure to use thin layers and let it dry.I did it in a spray booth cabin at school, but you can make outside or in a well ventilated place.


I laser cut the cat’s face on acrylic.

If you don’t have a laser cutrer you can probably manage to create the same effect using thick paper (where I used vinyl) and vellum paper where I used acrylic.

You can use the attached PDF to laser cut the face if you want to.


I glued the parts together by using acrylic glue. Make sure to wear gloves when using it.

Also, the glue is too liquid, so make sure to find some scraps and test before making it.

Wait for it to dry completely after 24 hours.


You'll find the template here that I used for the vinyl.

Though, if I had to redo it, I'd make the cat's mouth white.

Step 13: Gluing the Vinyl

Use a a piece of transfer tape to transfer the vinyl to the acrylic.

Then glue the cat to the acrylic.

Finally, remove the transfer tape and leave the cat.

Glue the vinyl tothe inside.

Step 14: Glue the Acrylic Cap to the Frame the Back Cap

You may use double sided tape, as I did. But it's not the best idea. I'd try hot glue instead.

Step 15: Attach the Circuit to the Back Cap

Start putting elements to the cap.

Place the Arduino board onto the cap and screw it.

Then attach the LED to the lid using tape. I put to LEDs to the center tooth and distributed the others evenly.

Step 16: Light Diffusion

The grey acrylic I used is transparent , so I could see the LED inside when it was on. So I covered the LEDs using tracing paper. This way the light is diffused and you won't see the light bulbs anymore.

I also used foam (air conditioner foam seal ) to prevent the lights from the smile to illuminate the eyes before it was the right time. I did so by placing a cylinder of foam around each eye.

Place the PIR sensor in its hole and your cat is good to go.

Enchanted Objects

Second Prize in the
Enchanted Objects

Make it Glow!

Runner Up in the
Make it Glow!