Introduction: Wooden Luminescent Ring

This project may require some shop skills, and access to shop tools. There are alternative ways to create the ring I'm making. If you have access to a laser cutter, the ring bands would be easy to cut out. If not, buying a hand drill and your desired drill bits, forstner bit, and hole saw, can be a good alternative. Its relatively easy access because you can buy them at your local Home Depot. Also if you know how to turn on the lathe, you can make like ten in 2 minutes.


- 3v watch battery (the one I purchased was 16mm in diameter)

- Wood (preferably a hardwood that is 3/16" to 1/4")

- LED (I'm using an arduino lilypad LED, so I don't have to use a resistor.)

- Wire

- Rosin Core Solder

- Veneer (thin wood sheet, one that preferably matches your wood)

- Double Sided Tape

- Hot Glue

- Electric Tape


- Drill Press (alternatives; laser cutter, hand drill)

- Forstner Bit (that fits your ring size)

- Hole Saw (what you want the thickness of your ring to be)

- Sand Paper (80 - 180 grit)

- Super Glue

- Soldering Iron

- Hot Glue Gun

- Triangle File (alternative; exacto knife)


The circuit is fairly simple. You will be connecting (+) positive LED to (+) positive Battery and (-) negative LED to (-) negative Battery, using wire.

Step 1: Measure Your Ring Size

Step 2: Pick Forstner Bit and Drill Hole

The forstner bit you choose will be equivalent to your ring size. It maybe difficult to get exactly your ring size but you can always go back and sand the inside. Remember, it's better if you drill it slightly too small than to drill it too large.

Step 3: Drill Your Band Out With the Hole Saw

Once you drill the initial hole, you're going to switch out the forstner bit with a hole saw. Don't move your wood, because the hole saw needs to stay at the same center point. The hole saw size I chose made my band 1/8" thick. That way the ring is thin enough to sit on my finger comfortably but not too thin for the hole saw to chew up my material. Drill slowly. I'm using walnut which is a dense hardwood, so the saw won't chew it up as easily as it would say plywood, or a softer wood.

Make two. One is for the band that goes around your finger, and the other goes around your battery. You may have to change your forstner bit and hole saw size to accommodate the size of the battery, depending on whether or not you want your battery flushed into the wood. Luckily my ring size was exactly the same size as the diameter of the battery so I didn't have to change any of my drills. If your fingers happen to be larger than mine, you can always just glue that battery in.

Warning: After you drill out your band, do not try to take it out with your fingers, it will be very hot. Either wait until the saw cools down, or use a flathead screwdriver to push it out of the saw.

Step 4: Sand

You will notice that the band comes out of the hole saw..furry. You can clean it up by running it in circles or in infinities over sand paper. Make sure the sand paper is sitting on a flat surface, by either gluing it to a flat piece of wood, or laying it over a flat table. The sand paper grit doesn't have to be that abrasive, so a 100 or 120 grit would be fine.

Step 5: Sand Down a Flat Surface Onto Your Ring Band.

I used a belt sander, but you can easily do this same step carefully filing a tangent corner down. Just be sure its flat and straight! This is where the battery band will sit on top of so it is important. Once you get your flat side, you're going to use a trianglular file an indent into the middle of that flat surface. This where you are going to slip your wire into. When you have a good indent, test it out. You want to make sure your wire will fit into it.

Step 6: Drill a Hole Into Your Battery Band

The drill bit I used for this step drills 1/16" holes. It is important to be as careful as possible. I can't tell you how many times my wood has split because I was too fast and too careless drilling this hole. I wanted to drill it fairly close to the top edge, because the battery is going to fit on the bottom.

Step 7: Veneer

Veneer is really fragile thin wood. You can cut it with scissors, but it's important to keep in mind where the wood grain goes, because this stuff tends to crack really easily when you cut or bend it in the direction of the wood grain.

Draw your circles a little oversized than the battery band you have. I set mine in place with double sided tape. I lifted one side and super glued it back, and once it was set, I did the other side. The super glue dries really fast and in about a minute or so you can sand the edges down flush to your band. Sand it down on your sanding board, and it will be practically seamless.

Step 8: Super Glue the Ring Band

Line the indent you made with the tapered veneer. This is where your wire will set into when you attach the (-) negative ports. To get it centered, you're going to want to find the diameter perpendicular to the taper. Super glue in place.

Note: this attachment is very fragile, and can easily snap off. In the future this design may change.

Step 9: Super Glue Ring Band Onto the Battery Band

In the middle of this step, yes, my ring band did snap off. But we'll keep proceeding. You're going to want to stick your wire in first, before your battery, because getting the wire in after, is hard.

Here, my battery fits inside perfectly, if yours doesn't, you may want to glue down on the unexposed parts of the battery, to the veneer. The black wire is your ground, and the positive is your power.

Solder the black wire to your (-) negative port and solder a ball of rosin core into the (+) positive port. Alternatively, I threaded conductive thread in the(+) positive port and then soldered it on. The LED is going to be sitting on top of the battery. Make sure you have enough solder or thread sticking out of the (+) positive port so that the LED and Battery have a good connection.

Step 10: Prevent Short Circuiting

By putting electric tape underneath the (-) negative port of the LED, you will prevent short circuiting from happening. You do not want the ground to connect to the power at all.

Step 11: Hot Glueing (+) Positive Port Onto Battery

Sometimes things happen unforeseen, so you make do! Basically at this point, the LED isn't attached to the battery in any way. I was planning on the plastic top to sandwich the LED in. But the thickness of the band I made was too thin and the LED juts out. So hot glue is good when you have to fix mistakes.

Hot glue that port onto the battery, so it stays a solid connection.

Step 12: Plastic Cover

I used polystyrene for my cover. There are a lot of other alternative materials you can use. I cut this on the laser cutter, but you can easily cut it yourself with scissors.

The hollow plastic band is giving me some added height, so the cover fits smoothly on top. I sanded both bands, on all sides, to give it a cloudy look. The reason I did this was because I wanted to disperse the LED light and hide the hardware inside.

Step 13: The Hanging (-) Negative Wire

You'll strip the wire at the end, and stick it inside the channels you made earlier on in the project. This is what connects your (-) negative LED port to the (-) negative side of the battery. This way, you can turn it on and off whenever you feel like it.

Step 14: The End

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions, or if you just plain liked it.