I have always loved the "paintings of light" style of art. The contrast of a cold winter scene with the inviting glow of the lights inside the buildings creates a warm fuzzy holiday feeling. So I thought, why not add real lights and make a holiday centerpiece.
To complete this Instructable you will need:
- Large Mason Jar
- Set of Circuit Stickers (I used the effect pack as well)
- Roll of 1/8 Copper Tape
- 3v CR2032 Battery
- Binder Clip
- Velum of translucent inkjet paper & regular printer paper
- Artificial snow flakes - paper or plastic and sparkles works fine.
- Ruler, Scissors, Clear Tape
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Step 1: Print & Trim
For the scene, I chose Christmas Town by Philipstraub. Any art of your choice will work. The best part about this build is that you could change out the scene by the season. Fireworks would work really well too.
Print the image twice. Once on regular paper. Once on the translucent sheet. I used Velum. The regular print will be our background and reference for placing the lights. The velum diffuses the lights and hides the circuitry.
Keeping the two layers together, roll and place in the mason jar. Mark where you will need to trim it so that it will fit in the jar with the cap on. You will also need to mark the vertical edge of where the paper overlaps.
Instead of just cutting a straight vertical line, trim around the scene. When you roll the paper again you will have a three-dimensional effect and the scene will look continuos.
Step 2: Add the LED Circuit Stickers
Time to add the light to our painting of lights. Using the LED Circuit Stickers place them around the image. Do not yet stick them to the paper. We are just positioning right now. Keep the circuit in mind and place the positive (+) and negative (-) sides of each sticker in an orientation that will make running your wires easier.
I used the Effects Pack because I wanted some lights to twinkle and others to slow fade. I grouped the majority of LEDs in the area of the picture that the artist lit up the most - the center of town. I placed the LEDs I wanted to slowly fade around the town and in the windows of the buildings. On top of the Christmas Tree and the building spires I placed the ones that would twinkle.
Once you have your LED placements, trace them with a pencil so you know where to run your copper tape. Chibitronics has an education page on how to do this, so I will not re-create their lessons here. It is not hard, just take your time and think it out. Use a pencil to draw them first. If you want to cross over a copper trace, use some clear tape as an insulator. Tape over the copper and then you can run another wire over it. You can see my circuit is not pretty, but it works. I put the battery connection in the corner of the page on the back side.
When the circuit is complete add your battery and marvel at the pretty lights. Put the translucent printing over it and you will see the effect. The LEDs are so bright I actually had a hard time taking photos.
Step 3: Let It Snow
Test the fit. I found that I needed a little more trimming so that the paper would not distort when I put the lid all the way on. Also, check that your lights stay on. I found some of my stickers popped a little the first time I rolled the paper and they needed to be pressed down again. In a few cases I added clear tape as well.
Time for snow. Any type of artificial snowflakes or glitter works well. Even little bits of paper would work. We just want to hide the edge of the paper.
Step 4: Enjoy!
You can use the jar instead of a candle in a table centerpiece, or use it by itself. Either way it is a perfect edition to your holiday decorations.
Thank you to Instructables and Chibitronics for the Circuit Stickers. This build took about an hour during our Circuit Sticker Build Day at FUBAR Labs in NJ. The whole concept is perfect for anyone into crafting who wants to add some "E" to their ideas. I hope you enjoyed the build and we would love to see what you make with Circuit Stickers. Happy Holidays!