I am kind of obsessed with star objects in general and I saw the nice Instructable on making a Shoji-Style Table Lamp and thought I could modify it to make a little ambient lighting for our office/guest bedroom.
I should add that I made this as a present for my husband who was working a gig where he had to be up on the computer every morning at an unreasonable hour when it was still dark out and I wanted to give him something to brighten the room up. I looked at making some other instructables but I didn't have the materials so I made something new with what I had on hand. He loves it, said it made him feel happy when he had to be on conference calls at six in the morning.
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Step 1: Scrounge Around the House....
I just made it with stuff I had lying around:
Leftover Christmas lights
Christmas light box
Printer Paper (good use for those one-line internet waste pages- although firefox somehow seems to have stopped our printer from doing that so I wound up using fresh paper mostly)
Soldering Iron (optional)
Step 2: Gl...gl...glue
Lots of gluing involved in this project, so pick an area where the stuff can be spread out and not disturbed while drying. Break the chopsticks apart and glue them in a square on the paper with the edges evenly overlapping. Really important to do them all the same way because I glued one wrong and had to take it apart and re-glue the sticks to a whole new piece of paper.
I used elmer's glue for the paper faces and put a drop of gorilla glue on each corner to make it a bit more permanent. Hot glue would probably work better but I was out of glue sticks, just whatever you use test it first on the paper to make sure it doesn't bleed through.. If you use white glue like I did it has to dry for quite a while before you can go on to the next step- I let mine dry overnight.
Step 3: Build-a-base
So I don't have regular light bulb bases lying around so I had to get creative and this is what I did to make a base out of Christmas lights, a plastic bottle and some cardboard.
I took a plastic bottle to use as the base and I used a soldering iron to burn some ventilation holes in the base and to cut a groove along the mouth to allow the cord to go through or if you don't have a soldering iron you can cut holes with scissors and a large hole for the cord to go through.
Take your string of Christmas lights and wind half of them inside the bottle and half of them around the outside of the bottle, using tape if necessary to hold the wraps in place. Plug the lights in and test them for a while to make sure they don't get too hot, sure they will get warm but the bottle shouldn't get particularly hot- if it is too hot take some more lights out of the inside to wind around the outside.
Make the base out of the Christmas lights box by cutting it down to a square and gluing the end back in. I also cut a couple holes for the cord to go through. I then cut out another mock box to put on top that I painted purple, but you could cover the box in paper or anything you wanted.
Glue the top of the bottle to the cardboard box. Definitely I would recommend using a strong glue for this part- I used Gorilla glue again. Also at this point glue a couple more chopsticks to the base so there is a place for the shade to rest.
Step 4: Gl...gl... Glue Part Two
After the pieces are dry glue them together starting with two laid out in an L shape as in the picture with one supported by a wall. Basically you put a line of glue along the edge of the stick and then set the other stick on top in as close to a 90 degree angle as you can get. Let two of them dry like that for a while- I let them dry for an hour or two.
Then assemble the two L's together in a square, trim the extra paper from where the top goes and around the edges of the top piece and glue the top on. Fold the bottom edges of the box in and tape or glue the corners so it stays up. Now you have a nice box that should dry for a little while before adding the stars.
Step 5: Snip-snip
Grab some extra scrap paper and get to work cutting stars out. I laid several pages on top of each other and then cut freehand but you can draw them out or even print out different shapes and cut them out to make different types of light boxes. I then taped the stars onto the inside of the lightbox.
When the rest of your pieces are dry screw the bottle to the base, gently slip the shade over and plug it in. You have a beautiful nightlight from materials that were probably just laying around the house.