Glow Box Project



Introduction: Glow Box Project

Everyone loves black lights! Most people have experimented with a black light at sometime in their life because it's fun to watch things glow in the dark. This is why I created the USB powered Glow Box. The Glow Box I made shows off my family crest. But you can create a Glow Box with any theme. I made a Glow Box for my girlfriend with an Alice In Wonderland theme showing Cheshire Cat's eyes and pink stripes glowing. Other ideas I had are Marvin The Martian on the moon, Winnie The Pooh inside a  tree full of golden honey, you can do anniversaries, weddings, a memorial for someone you love, halloween, etc. The possibilities are endless. This is just one idea of what can be done but I'm sure there are more creative people out there who can take it to the next level! So let's get started. By the way, USB doesn't have to be the only power source. You can also use the power cord from a cell phone charger instead of USB as it also provides a +5v power source. I promise you, this is so easy a chimpanzee can do it!

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Step 1: Materials List - Cheap and Easy

The materials should cost around $5. I provided a list below. If you don't have a printer or solder pen, don't go out and buy them. Just borrow them from someone. Check out the picture of the things you will need. (Printer not shown)

1 - Black Poster Board  (Costs around 89.¢ or less @ Wal*Mart)
1 - USB Cable (Costs $1. @ 99¢ Cents Only Stores)
1 - Ultraviolet LED 2-Pack Item #: 276-014 (Costs $1.99 @ RadioShack)
1 - 100 -Ohm Resistors 5-Pack Item#: 271-1311 (Costs $1.@ RadioShack)

You should already have most of the materials listed below as they are common items. But if you don't, then just borrow them! lol.

1 - Glue Gun (Costs $1.@ 99¢ Only Stores)     "You can also just use Elmer's Glue"              
1 - Glue Sticks (Costs $1.@ 99¢ Only Stores)  "You can also just use Elmer's Glue"          
1 - Solder Pen or Solder Gun                                      
1 - Solder (To use with Solder Pen or Solder Gun)  
1 - Ruler
1 - Glue Stick
1 - Scissors
1 - Flourescent Marker (Make sure it says 'Flourescent')                                                     
1 - Clear Tape
1 - Pencil      
1 - Printer      
 Optional: Free Photo editing software. I used Photoshop which isn't free but you can just type in 'free photo editing software' on google and you will get several choices for free software. Or you can just draw by hand whatever it is you want to glow inside the box.                              

Step 2: Draw a Square

Grab your black poster board, ruler, and pencil. Now draw a square that is 5 inches wide and 5 inches long or 5in.X 5in. So easy!

Step 3: Cut Out the Square

Grab your scissors and cut out the 5inch X 5inch square you just drew. Hold on to this square we are going to use it alot!

Step 4: Trace the Square

Now grab the square we just cut out and place it in the middle of the black poster board. Using your pencil, trace the square on the black poster board. You should now have the outline of one square on the poster board.

Step 5: Connect Four

Now lets grab our square cut out and trace 4 more squares with the pencil. Just use each side of the square we traced in step four to orient the square cut out. Each new square that we trace will share a line with the first square we traced in step four. I highlighted the areas where we will do the tracing in red boxes. Each highlighted red area is just to show where we need to trace a square using our cut out. This is kindergarten stuff. But it's fun.

Step 6: Le Cross

If you did it correctly, then you should have formed what looks like a big fat cross. Each box that we traced should be adjacent to the original box from step four so that they share at least one line. Check out the picture above for clarification. The lines are a little faint but we can still see the carbon outline from the pencil. I put our square cut out in the middle for reference.

Step 7: Outline

This next step is probably the easiest. All we have to do is draw an outline around our cross about 1/2 inch from the original cross.You can do this free hand or use the ruler. No need for exact measurements on this step. Approximate measurements are ok. So in short, you will draw another cross around the original one about 1/2 inch all around.

Step 8: Cut Out Cross

Now let's grab our scissors and cut out the cross. Use the 1/2 inch outline we drew in step 7 as a guide. DO NOT cut over the lines we drew in step 7. So when you finish cutting there should still be a cross within the cross we cut out. See step 9 for clarification.

Step 9: One Cross, Two Cross

If you did step 8 correctly you should now have a black cross. Within the black cross we just cut out we should see another cross formed from the squares we traced in steps 4-6. See the picture above. (Keep the left over poster board as we will need it later).

Step 10: Cut a Line

Next get the scissors again and cut a line from inside the 90 degree angle of the cross to the corner of the square outlined in pencil. Do this for each of the 4 angles of the cross. Very simple. Just look at the picture above.

Step 11: Time to Fold

Grab your ruler and use it to make 4 perfect folds all around. At this point you only need to fold the lines of the square we outlined in pencil in the middle of the cross.

Step 12: It's Ok to Cut Corners

Now cut off all 8 corners from the cross. But only cut up to the pencil line. DO NOT cut off beyond our pencil outline corner.

Step 13: More Folding

Now fold the other lines. There should be 12 folds when you are done.

Step 14: Check It

Now is the time to check our work. So just bring in all the folds and hold it together to see how the box looks. If anything is off or the folds don't meet up then we can fix it now before continuing.

Step 15: Hole-ee Cross

Now make a hole in the middle of one of the lines on your cross. This will be at the bottom of our box when it is formed. This is where our USB cable is going to go through.

Step 16: USB Time

Now grab our USB cable that we bought at 99¢ Only Store.

Step 17: Cut It Off

Cut off the end of the cable that does not go into the USB.

Step 18: 7 Inch...

Now let's get out our ruler again and measure seven inches from the cut off end of the USB cable. This is the part we are going to strip off later.

Step 19: Be a Stripper

Now using our scissors lets strip off the plastic from the USB cable at the 7inch mark. This is probably the hardest part of the project because you need to be careful not to cut the wires. I used scissors the first time but I find that using a razor blade and cutting the cable all the way down the middle lenghtwise is the easiest way but it is not the safest. So you can do it with scissors but razor blade is faster.

Step 20: Captain Our Shield Is Down!

Now lets grab our scissors and carefully cut off the shielding from the USB cable to expose the wires. The shielding kinda looks like foil paper but it has a little metal wire used to keep it in place.

Step 21: Take It to the Wire

Now there are 4 wires exposed- red,green,white, and black. We only want to keep the red and black wires which is our power source.So get the scissors out and cut off the green and white wires.

Step 22: Grab the Gun-It Might Get Messy.

Next we are ready to do some gluing. Grab the Hot Glue Gun and glue the two side flaps of what will be the bottom of our box. You can tell which side is the bottom because that is where we made the hole, remember? So don't glue the front flap, only the two side flaps. I put four pics on this one for reference.

Step 23: More Glue

Now we are ready to glue the two flaps that will rest on top of the flaps we glued in step 22. The glue dries super fast so just do one flap at a time and make sure it lines up nice and straight. Good job.

Step 24: And Still More Glue

Now we are going to glue the two side flaps of what will be the top of our box. Just turn the box over and glue the flaps down but leave the 3rd flap alone for now. Easy stuff. Again you can tell which side is the bottom because of the hole we made in step 15.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT GLUE THE TOP TO THE REST OF THE BOX YET! Just leave it open. Otherwise it will be hard to work inside the box if you glue down what will be the top of the box or ceiling because space will be too limited for your hands.

Step 25: Stick It In

Ok time to stick our USB red and black cables through the hole we made in step 15. Just let about a quarter inch of the plastic shielding from the USB cable stick through the hole.

Step 26: Glue the Wires Down

Ok let's straighten the wires a little bit so they look nice and neat and then use the Hot Glue Gun to glue the whole thing down. Use as much glue as you want because this is the only thing that will be keeping our wires secured to the bottom of our box.

Step 27: Back to Square One

Ok remember the square we cut out in step 3? The one I told you to keep? Well we are going to hot glue this down on the bottom of our box to cover the wires and cable. Use the hot glue generously again. So far so good!

Step 28: Time to Strip Again

Ok now lets strip off about 1/2 inch from our red and black wires to expose the copper underneath.

Step 29: Rectangle? Yes.

I don't know about you but I was getting bored of squares. So now lets grab one of our black poster board pieces with ruler and pencil in hand. We are going to draw out a rectangle that measures 5 inches X 2 inches.

Step 30: Housing

Ok we are going to fold the rectangle lengthwise twice to create 3 spaces. The middle space will measure 1/2 inch and the remaining two spaces will measure 3/4 inch. If you add them all together it totals 2 inches. So let's get our ruler and measure out our lines where we need to fold. I included 3 pics to show: how to fold it, how it will look after folding, and finally where it is going to be placed inside our box. This rectangle is going to house all of the electronic components.

Step 31: LED Time

Ok now let's grab the LED's we got from RadioShack and take them out of the package. If you observe from the picture, the LED(light emitting diode) has two legs called the anode and the cathode. You will also notice that one leg of our LED is longer than the other one. The longer leg is called the anode and represents the (+) side of the diode, while the shorter leg is called the cathode and represents the (-) side of our diode. To keep from getting confused you can color the longer leg red and the other leg black.

Step 32: Slow Poke!

Ok now let's grab our rectangle housing and one of our LED's. Slowly poke the two LED legs through the middle of one of the 3/4 inch sides on the rectangle, or better yet use your pencil to make two small holes lengthwise and then insert the LED legs. Make sure the anode(+) is sticking out on the left side and the cathode(-) on the right side. Because remember that the USB red(+) wire is on the left and the black(-)wire is on the right. Otherwise you won't be able to solder the wires to the LED legs because they wont be long enough. Do the same procedure for both LED's. Anode on left and cathode on right. Alright?

Step 33: Resistance Is Futile!

Well not really, lol. We need to add resistors to the andode(+) left side of our LED's otherwise they will burn out right away! So grab your packet of resistors and take out two of them.

Step 34: Solder Away

First solder one resistor to the anode(+) or left side(longer leg) of the LED and then solder the second resistor to the anode(+) or left side(longer leg) of the second diode. Next solder the legs of both resistors together(left side). Finally, solder both legs of the cathode(-) or right side(shorter leg) together.

FYI-You will probably need to cut the legs of the diode and resistors with the scissors to make them a little shorter because they are way too long. When you are done it should look like this.

Step 35: Power Source

Next we are going to solder the red wire(+) from our USB cable to the legs of the resistors we soldered on the left side. After that, we are going to solder the black wire(-) from our USB cable to the legs of the LED cathode(-) or right side. It should look like this.

Step 36: Glue Housing

Now we are going to glue our housing to the the bottom of the box. Trust me the hot glue will hold the housing down easily but just make sure to apply the glue generously.

Step 37: Print, Print,Print

Ok now we need a background pic to go on the back wall of the box. The pic will be 5 inches X 5 inches naturally. I chose a symbol of my family crest which i resized to 5 inches X 5 inches using photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop. Also I included a drawing of some curtains and I also resized them to 5 inches X 5 inches. I was going to include some angels but decide to leave them out because it looked too crowded. Finally I downloaded a font called 'crusades' and typed my surname 'cortez'. The name is 3.5 inches long and 2 inches wide. Make sure that the part of the image you want to glow is white so that later you can color it with a flourescent marker and it can glow under black light or UV LED's.(Instructions to install the free font are below)

I got the font for free from The link for the font is here: . In order to install it on your computer you can (1)download the font to your desktop or wherever you want,(2) Extract the file using Winzip or another free program to uncompress or extract the font,(3) the font will most likely be a .TTF,OTF file or something like that. So right click on the file or files and copy,(4)Double click on the my computer icon from your desktop or menu(5)double click on your Local Disk Drive which is most likely C:/ ,(6) here you will find a 'windows' folder. Double click on the 'windows' folder,(7) here you will find a 'font' folder. Double click on the 'font' folder.(8) right click and paste your font.

Step 38: Background Picture

Cut out the background picture using your scissors.Get the flourescent marker and color the white parts of your background picture.Now grab your glue pen and apply glue to the back of the picture and glue the picture the the back of the box. DO NOT use the hot glue gun or the paper or it will get all wrinkled and lumpy.

Step 39: Glue Top

Now glue the top of the box to the remaining flaps using your Hot Glue Gun.

Step 40: It's Curtains for You. Curtains!

Grab your scissors and cut out the curtains. Fold the top part of the curtains to create a flap. Apply clear tape to this flap or you can use glue, whatever. Then tape it to the top of the box. You don't want to tape the curtains too close to the background because you want the illusion of depth. Do the same for the name but instead of folding it just create a little triangle using a piece of paper and tape it or glue it to the bottom of the box.

Step 41: Testing, Testing!

Now plug in the USB to see how it looks. Not too bad.

Step 42: Another Rectangle

Now grab your extra black poster board pieces. And with your ruler measure out a rectangle 6 inches length and 5 inches wide and cut it out.

Step 43: The Square Within

Now grab your ruler and pencil and draw a square right in the middle of the rectangle. The square will measure 3 1/4 inches in length and 3 1/5 inches in width so that the width is slightly greater than the length. The square should be about 1 1/5 inches from the bottom of the rectangle, 1 1/4 inches from the top, and about 3/4 of an inch from the sides. Notice I say 'about' because it wont be perfect. Cut out the square in the middle.

Step 44: More Printing and Gluing

I typed the meaning of my name using regular 'courier new' font. Notice I made the letters white and the background black. Also I found some really cool looking borders to put on the front of the box. So print these out. Cut out the surname explanation and glue it to the bottom of the rectangle we cut out in the previous step 43. Do the same for the borders but glue them to the top corners of the box and then the top center.

Step 45: The Missing Link

Finally grab your Hot Glue Gun and glue the rectangle to the front of the box using the four remaining flaps.

Step 46: Turn on the Box!

You did it! Congratulations! Yay.

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