Film Canister LED Flashlight




About: ______________________ One of my favorite inventors, and one of the most brilinat minds that ever walked the Earth is Nikola Tesla. Here are some Teslas q...

In this Instructable I will show you how to make a flashlight out of an old, 35mm, film canister and some ultra-bright LEDs!
You don't need to spend 10$ on a flashlight that isn't even that bright. For 4$ or less, depending what you have lying around the home, you can make a really bright LED flash light. Its got for camping or just for back yard fun.
This flashlight is easy to make,looks cool and most importantly, effective!

Step 1: Components

You aren't going to need many components for this project.

1. 4x Ultra-bright, white LEDs (picture 2)

2. Film canister

3. Push switch

4. 3V coin cell battery

5. some wire (I used telephone wire)

Step 2: Tools


1. Wire cutter

2. Wire insulation stripper

3. Soldering Iron

4. Solder

5. Electrical tape

6.Scissors whit pointy edges (or a needle)

7.Something to make a hole for the push switch (I used a drill that fit the diameter of my switch)

Step 3: Lets Get Started

OK, you got the parts, you got the tools, lets get started!

Make small holes on the cap of the film canister whit the scissors or the needle, two on every side, so the LED will go trough.

Step 4: Soldering

Cut out 8 pieces of wire(like in picture 1) and strip the insulation on the ends.

The LEDs are connected in parallel, that means that all the negative (shorter) sides are connected together and all the positive (longer) sides are connected together.
Take the wire and solder it on the LEDs. One by one connect two same sides (longer whit longer shorter whit shorter) whit wires and solder them.(picture 2,3,4 and 5)

Don't cut all the end of the LEDs, leave two, one positive (long) and one negative (short) (picture 6)

Test it. Take the 3V coin cell battery and put it on the leads in correct manner. If all is good so far the LEDs should lite up.(picture 7 and 8)

On one lead of the LED solder a longer wire. Strip a bit more of the insulation on the oposite side and bend ti. (picture 9 and 10)

Step 5: Switch

Take the switch and cut out two longer pieces of wire.(picture 1)

Strip off the insulations on the end. On the end of one wire strip a bit more of the insulation and bend the un-insulated wire. (picture 2 )

Solder the wire from the switch to the remaining lead.(picture 4 and 5)

Step 6: Battery

The two end of the wire that we bended (picture 1) connect to the battery.
Connect them to the battery whit the electrical tape (picture 2) and your circuit is done!(picture 3)
Test it by pushing the switch, if all is good the LEDs should lite up.

Step 7: Make the Hole for the Switch

On the film canister make a hole for the switch. You can use a drill or anything that can make a whole.

Step 8: Put It All Togother

Now put it all together. Put the switch trough the hole, put the battery in the canister and close it all up.

Step 9: Done!

You are done!!!
You have built your own ultra bright LED film canister flash light!!!

Thanks for reading, place leave a comment and don't forget to rate!

Finalist in the
Discover Green Science Fair for a Better Planet

Participated in the
The Instructables Book Contest



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307 Discussions


Tip 5 months ago on Step 4

I simplified the effort:
I used a leather punch to make holes for the LEDs and pressed them in from the back.
I rotated them so the long wires were in the middle so they can be twisted together and soldered.
I pulled the outside wires together in pairs being careful not to touch the center wires.
To keep the LEDs in place, a little bit of Silicone RTV on the inside of the cap.


3 years ago

How long the battery will last ?

If i try using Nokia 3.6v Li-ion battery, then what should i change in circuit ?


4 years ago

Now this is something I could actually make (I'm a woman). I know how to use a lot of power tools, I've made furniture, but I've never souldered, so I think I'll have my husband actually show me how to do it. I've seen other people do it and it looks pretty easy. I already have everything but the battery. Speaking of batteries, how long will a battery last. I'm thinking I could use this in luminaries.


8 years ago on Step 4

what do you mean that all negative (shorter) sides are connected, and positive (longer) sides are connected? you mean i trim the LED ends a certain way?

1 reply

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

The legs of the LED'S are already cut short and long some brands you have to look close to see the difference !


6 years ago on Step 8

This is perfect for my cubs' engineering achievement! They will love this. Thanks so much!


7 years ago on Introduction

I'm using this for a cub scout project. Could a salvage an old string of LED Christmas lights?


8 years ago on Step 9

wow, this is great! Very clever use of the film canister.
I'll change the bright LEDs for red light ones, and it will be a charm for using in the photography dark room. (or maybe just use bright white ones with a film over them)


Reply 9 years ago on Step 9

Well, maybe you can make it with your father...
He can solder all the connections...  :)


9 years ago on Step 1

 This might make me sound like I don't know where anything is (correctly), but where can you buy a push switch?

2 replies

Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

IN your local electronic shop like RadioShack...or some other shop that sells electronic components...


9 years ago on Introduction

  O__O... I love this website. Seriously. I've been on here like 2 days and I've already made so much stuff that I would have spent SO MUCH money on. This is a great one, thanks.

1 reply