LED candles not radical enough for you? How about some revolutionary chic in the form of an LED molotov cocktail lamp!
To build this, you'll need the following materials and tools:
- One empty 750ml bottle, including cap
- Three flickering-LED candles
- Thin cardboard—a cereal box would work well
- Electrical tape
- Superglue or hot glue gun and glue
- Soldering iron and solder
- Belt sander, sandpaper, or knife
- An old t-shirt or other fabric, enough for two 2" x 10" pieces
- Yellow food coloring
Step 1: Electronics
We’re going to take apart the LED candles because we want multiple “flames” flickering in our wick. You could buy the LEDs alone for a lot less, but the candles each include a flame-shaped light diffuser, battery holder, and switch, though you'll only need one of the switch and battery holder.
Your LED candles may be different in the details of their construction, but the general structure should be the same.
Disassemble the candles and desolder or otherwise detach the LEDs.Two of the candle assemblies can be set aside; we'll use the remaining one for its switch and battery holder.
The battery holder needs to be the same size as the cap of your bottle, so trace around the cap onto the base of a candle, ensuring that the battery holder is completely enclosed in the circle.
Use a belt sander, hand sander, or even a knife to cut the battery holder to the size of the cap that you drew.
Wire the LEDs in parallel to the switch and battery, as in the sketch. It helps to start with one LED and verify it's wired correctly, then add a second. LEDs only pass electricity in one direction, so if one doesn't work you may need to reverse it. Repeat for the third LED.
Step 2: Electronics Housing
The next step is to make a housing for the just-completed electronics package.
Roll a 3" piece of cardboard from a cereal box around the bottle’s cap and cut it to length. Cut a hole for the switch then attach the switch with glue or tape. Roll the cardboard into a tube and tape it closed. Be sure that it still slides over the cap of the bottle. Insert and glue the battery pack, leaving the LEDs outside of the tube.
Wrap the tube in electrical tape for a rough, improvised look.
Step 3: The Wick
Your molotov cocktail—errrrr, I mean, lamp—needs a wick. We don't want any liquid spilling out of the bottle, though, so we'll make the wick in two parts so the bottle can stay capped.
Tear or cut a piece of fabric a few inches across by 8-10" long and glue one end of it into the base of the cap.Fill your bottle with water, some yellow food coloring, and a teaspoon of bleach to keep it clean. Screw the cap tightly onto the bottle with the lower half of the wick hanging inside.
Cut another length of the same fabric and glue it into the top of electronics package so that the LEDs are enclosed within the fabric.
Your electronics package should slide easily over the cap of the bottle and it will appear that the wick passes all the way through.
Step 4: Use and Display
Set your new lantern out for display on your table or mantel and enjoy its warm, flickering glow. Or throw on a hoodie and walk down the street to show it to your friends!
Okay, nevermind, that last idea might not be a good one.