I was inspired by the LED tilt light, but I decided to make a few changes. Here's how I built it.
Things you Need:
1) Project Board (I picked mine up at Radio Shack)
2) Color Changing LEDs (These are LEDs that have tiny ICs inside that cycle colors. Mine cycle slowly...I got 100 on eBay for <$10)
3) Resistors, appropriate for your LEDs
4) Acrylic photo cube ( I got mine at Michael's crafts for $3. It's identical to the little display boxes for baseballs)
5) Glass Frosting Spray (Also from Michael's)
6) 9v Battery and 9v battery clip (From Radio Shack)
7) Tilt switch (The kind with the metal balls inside, not mercury! I found these on eBay)
8) Soldering Gun
9) Hot Glue Gun
Optional: 600 grit sand paper, Masking tape
Step 1: Step 1: Design Your Circuit
For this, you need a couple pieces of info about your setup:
1) The voltage of the battery (In this case, 9v)
2) The forward voltage drop across the LEDs you chose
3) The current you want to run the LEDs at
4) The number of LEDs you want to use.
Once you have this info, head over to your favorite LED resistor calculator and plug your numbers in. That link will also draw you a schematic, in case you need help in that department also. In my case, the forward voltage on my LEDs is 3.4v, and the current they require is 20ma. Filling in the info in the calculator, it suggested 120 ohm resistors. I had 100 ohm resistors already, so I just used those.
Step 2: Layout Your Circuit on a Solderless Breadboard (Optional)
I'm a novice when it comes to electronics, so before I do any soldering (Which is semi-permanent, and risks damaging components if done incorrectly), I always lay out my circuits on a breadboard. Once you're certain your circuit is functional, you're ready for the next step!
Step 3: Assemble Your Circuit
Here's my circuit before I soldered anything. Planning your board layout is critical as it's a pain to unsolder, not to mention you don't want to damage any of your components!
When I was ready to solder, I laid out all my flat components: Resistors and jumper wires, and used a piece of masking tape over the components to hold them to the board. I soldered those all in one go. then I removed the tape and did the rest of the components (LEDs and the tilt switch) one at a time. Finally I soldered the leads to the battery clip.
Be especially careful soldering the jumper wires and battery leads, as the iron can melt the plastic coating on the wire in no time!
Before I actually did my soldering, I took some 600 grit sandpaper and scuffed up the surface of the LEDs to diffuse the light better. This is optional, but it keeps the LEDs from projecting rings onto the top of the completed box, and diffuses the light more evenly.
Step 4: Prepare Your Housing
Separate the two halves of your acrylic cube, and spray them separately. Go back and forth with a sweeping motion about 6-8 inches from the surface, and do it lightly to avoid drips/smears. You can always do another coat if it's not the way you'd like! It takes about an hour to dry all the way to the point where you can handle it without leaving fingerprints.
I didn't have the circuit inside mine when I painted it, I just forgot to take a picture during that step :)
Also, you're definitely going to want to do this outside: This stuff stinks, even as it's drying. I brought mine inside to dry so no dust/dirt would get stuck to it, and it stunk up the upstairs pretty well!
Step 5: Assemble Your Lamp
That's it, you're finished! Just hot glue the circuit and battery to the side you want to be the bottom of your box, and you've got a simple decorative light. Just knock it onto it's side to turn it off.