Your Kids will love to make these lights and learn some electronics along the way.
Welcome to a simple electronics project that’s fun and individual for each student.
Using cheap and readily available components each student can create an individually designed LED lamp to brighten up their world and learn how to build a simple circuit along the way.
Having made the lamp they can decorate it as they choose including making a lampshade.
The project is designed for kids of 10 and over, but if you are working with younger or less able students it may be advisable to pre prepare some of the things beforehand eg making the holes and cutting the carton.
Environmentally friendly! Long lasting, infinitely changeable and fun!
When you get tired of your lamp you can change the look of it by colouring a new shade.
see step 1
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Step 1: Supplies- the Following Items Are Needed
- 2 LED strips 10cm long with adhesive backing. The ones I used had wires connected already. You can pick up long strips of LEDs and cut them up to the right length, but you will have to attach wires on the end. This can be done by soldering, or using connectors. But be aware that it’s important that the LEDs are fitted into the circuit in the correct direction or they will not work!
- DC Power Socket Jack Plug with red and black wires
- 2 small connector blocks suitable for use with low power DC voltage
- Small ON / OFF switch
- Plastic sleeve.Crisps carton snack size. I used a Pringles snack size container, but any alternative cylindrical container will do. You can cut it down to size if it’s too tall.
- Strip of Sticky back plastic and ruler to measure the correct size.
- Wooden stick 15 cm long stick with a 8mm square cross-section.
- AC to DC Adapter. I used one I had around the house. It needs to have an output of 12 volts and a low current.Mine was 300mA
Step 2: Tools- What You Need to Make the Lamp
- Glue gun
- Craft knife
- Wire strippers
- Can opener
- Small screwdriver
- Drill and size 10 bit
Step 3: Circuit Overview and Adaptions
Although these instructions are for making a mains powered lamp it is a relatively simple adaption to convert it to battery power by fitting a connector for a 9 Volt battery instead of the power connector. There is room for the battery to sit in the base of the lamp.
I used white LEDs, but other colours are readily available or even use multi-coloured ones that can be changed by remote control.
Step 4: Remove Base From Carton
Using a can opener, remove the base of the snack size Pringles carton. Check there are no rough edges. Remove plastic lid and put to one side.
Step 5: Covering the Carton
Measure the height and circumference of the carton and cut a rectangle out of the silver sticky back plastic. This should be the height of the carton between the top and bottom rim and a bit longer than the circumference to allow a small overlap.
Peel the backing off the sticky backed plastic and stick it round the outside of the container.
Step 6: Fix Stick to Can Lid
Using a glue gun stick the 15 cm square stick to the centre of the plastic lid.
Step 7: Shorten Leads From Jack Plug
Cut the leads from the power socket jack plug to 11 cm length. Separate the 2 wires and strip 5mm of the plastic coating off using wire strippers.
Step 8: Connect Leads From LEDs
Screw both red wires from the 2 LED strips into one connector block then
Screw both black wires from the LED strips into the other connector block.
Step 9: Connect Power Socket Jack Plug
Connect the black lead from the power socket jack plug to the black lead from the LED strip via the connector block.
Step 10: Prepare Connecting Wire
Using the wire you cut off the power socket jack plug lead, cut one piece of red wire 6 cm long and strip both ends.
Connect the cut red piece of wire to the red leads from the LED via connector block
Step 11: Making Hole for Power Adaptor
The next step is to make a hole in the carton for the power socket jack plug. Slide the carton onto an old piece of drain pipe for support and using a size 10 drill bit, drill a hole in the side of the container for the power socket jack plug.
“If the project is being done by younger kids this may have to be done by an adult or under supervision.”
Check power adaptor fits into the hole snugly, and then remove it.
Step 12: Making Hole for Switch
Make a hole in the carton for the on / off switch.
Mark a rectangle 12mm x 8mm on the side of the container and then cut out the rectangle using a craft knife.
Insert the switch into hole to check it fits, and then remove it.
Step 13: Preparing Wires for Switch
At this point you should have 2 unconnected red wires. See diagram from step 10.
Thread plastic sleeves onto each wire.
Take these 2 red wires and feed them from the inside of the container to the outside through the rectangular hole cut for the switch
Step 14: Connecting Switch
Pick up and examine the switch. There are 2 pins on the back with a rectangular holes in each.
Step 15: Fitting Switch
Thread one of the red wires through the hole in one of the pins (It doesn’t matter which pin) at the back of the switch and twist the wire back on itself to hold it in place.
“This step is a bit fiddly so younger kids might need help with this.”
Slide the sleeve down over the pins to secure.
Thread the other unconnected red wire through the hole in the other pin on the back of the switch. Twist wire and
slide the sleeve down over the pins to secure it.
These connections could be soldered to make them more secure.
Step 16: Fitting Switch and Power Socket and Test
Fit the switch into the hole.
Push the power connector through the hole from the inside of the container to the outside.
Plug in mains adaptor to test lamp. At this stage it is easier to correct any faults
Step 17: Fitting Lid and Stick
Poke the LED strips up through the tube.
Replace the plastic lid, feeding the wooden stick up between the wires.
Step 18: Fitting LED Strips
Peel the backing strips off the LEDs and stick one either side of the wooden stick.
Plug in mains adaptor to test.
Step 19: Making Your Lampshade
Your lamp will be very bright, so you need to cover it with a shade. This can be made using tracing paper because the low power LEDs don’t give off too much heat.
You can either print a pattern on a sheet of A4 tracing paper, or decorate your paper yourself with a unique design. For my lamp the size of the shade needed to be 24cm by 15cm but it may be different if you use an alternative container.
Bend the piece of paper round to form a cylinder as the lampshade and slide it into the top of container.
Step 20: Finished Lamp
Admire your finished lamp. You can make lots of different lampshades. These are some of the ones we’ve made.
Runner Up in the
DIY Summer Camp Contest