Intro: How to Make an LED Rose
Have you always been on the prowl for a special Valentine's Day project that will make your date's face light up when she sees it, but also doesn't take more than an hour or so of your time? Look no further! If you happen to see this after Valentine's Day, fear not! It's always appropriate to make something awesome for someone you care about.
This past Valentine's Day I decided to try my hand at making LED roses. I had the idea since last year, when I had made my now ex-girlfriend duct tape roses. I thought modifying things by using clear packaging tape, paired with an LED on the inside to light up all the petals could be pretty impressive. I went ahead and made some of these for my best female friends this past Valentine's Day, and they all loved them.
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Step 1: Video
Step 2: Required Materials
You will need the following materials to complete this project. Each item is listed, followed by any pertinent information and its cost.
- Clear Packaging Tape - $3.19
- Aluminum Foil - $1.00
- Craft Wire - $1.99, $2.40
- 26-gauge green wire, and 14-gauge brass-colored wire were both found at the local craft store in the jewelry-making section
- Electrical Tape - $1.00
- Hookup Wire - $8.49
- Button Cell Batteries - $12.99
- These were "312" batteries purchased at RadioShack. If I could go back in time, I'd likely purchase some more-common "364" batteries from the dollar store instead, as I'd likely get the same end result.
- LED's - $5.00/5pc
- These were purchased from Electronic Goldmine, item number G18602B. These fade from red to green to blue, and are powered with 3VDC at 15mA. Any LED's with similar specifications will do.
- Small Switches - $1.00/10pc
- These were also purchased from Electronic Goldmine, item number G13372. They were the smallest switches I could seem to find.
- Needle-Nose pliers - $5.59
- Knife - $5.00
- Scissors - $1.00
- Soldering Iron - $10.00
Step 3: Housing
We need to have a base to start our LED rose. To keep things simple we will use clear packaging tape to do this.
- Rip two pieces of packaging tape roughly 1" long.
- Use a pen to roll the tape into a tube, keeping the sticky-side out.
- Use the second piece of tape to cover the first, this time with the non-sticky side out.
- Slide the tube off of the pen, and make sure the batteries fit nicely. They should be able to move some, but not spin around a lot.
Step 4: Electronics
Don't be scared of a simple circuit! This one is designed to be as simple as possible.
- Using needle-nose pliers, curl the longer (positive) lead of your LED into a sort of spiral. Place the spiral into the tape tube with the bottom of the LED resting on the edge, and use hot glue to secure it in place.
- A small portion (2-3") of hookup wire will need to be cut, and both ends stripped using a knife or wire strippers
- The negative lead of the LED outside of the tape housing will then be soldered to the first of the switch terminals. One end of the hookup wire will be soldered to the middle terminal.
- Two small pieces of aluminum foil are used to help make our connections more secure. One will be pushed in to the tape housing against the spiral, and the other will be bent around the exposed end of the hookup wire.
- Place two button cell batteries into the tape housing, with the positive (flat) side facing the LED.
- Cut a (10") section of 14-gauge wire, and wrap it tightly a few times around the unsoldered end of the hookup wire. Push this into the tape housing so that the aluminum foil contacts the battery, completing the circuit.
- Use hot glue to hold the 14-gauge wire in place in the tape housing, making sure to keep the hookup wire in contact with the negative side of the button-cell batteries.
- A piece of black electrical tape can be used to keep the wire in place if necessary.
Step 5: Petals and Finish
The petals are made using the concepts of duct tape roses.
- (Optional) Cut some thin strips of aluminum foil, roughly 1/16-1/4" wide and 3" long. These will reflect some of the light given off by the LED, giving some interesting patterns.
- Rip a piece of clear packaging tape, roughly 3" long. Place a strip of aluminum foil on the sticky side, in any manner you choose.
- Fold two corners on the same side inward, forming a point in the center. If desired, the points can be trimmed off with scissors.
- With the point of the petal facing upward, wrap the petal around the tube housing with the LED. Part of the petal may need to be cut off with scissors to allow the petal to avoid the switch.
- Repeat the above steps as many times as desired.
- Wrap a roughly 3" piece of electrical tape around the base of all of the petals to help keep them all together.
- Cut a 3-4' section of green 26-gauge wire. Wrap the wire around the electrical tape portion of the rose, and spiral it down the stem, finishing by wrapping tightly around the brass-colored wire.
Step 6: Conclusion
All done! That wasn't so painful was it? Now you're ready to sweep the girl/guy/robot of your dreams off their feet!
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