Olaf the LED Snowman



Introduction: Olaf the LED Snowman

The idea here is to embed GE Color Changing LED holiday lights into a real live snowman. Olaf became the theme based on workability of the snow. Three of the GE lights serve as Olaf's buttons, two lights serve as his eyes, and the remaining 20 lights are embedded into Olaf to color the snow. LED "throwies" are employed to make teeth and an orange nose, and green EL (ElectroLuminescent) wire is used for the curly hair.


Snow storm - Snowzilla 2016

Snowman Olaf

GE Color Effects LED Holiday Lights 25 Count (or iTwinkle 36 count)

Teeth - Small LED Backlights (2)

CR2032 3v button batteries

Nose - Clear Plastic Icicle from Holiday Light string

Orange Sharpie Pen

Hair - Green EL wire with small 3v inverter and 3.7v Lithium Batt

Pupils - Black electrical tape

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Step 1: Make Your Snowman and Add GE Lights

For this trial, the idea was to make the Olaf snowman first.

Then the GE lights were embedded one at a time into the snow, inserted into 2-inch holes facing inward. The lights and wires were then covered with snow to hide the lights.

The exception is that, for the three buttons, the light fixtures are facing outwards and exposed.

The top two light fixtures serve as the eyes for Olaf. A small circle of black electrical tape on top of the light fixtures serves for Olaf's pupils. These two lights are also exposed and facing out.

The remaining 20 lights fixtures are evenly distributed, making sure at least 2 or 3 light fixtures are embedded into the head to light up the mouth and head.

Step 2: Make and Insert Teeth

As shown, the teeth are simply "LED throwies" made out small LED backlights and CR2032 button batteries. The white LED backlights are readily available from Adafruit.com, however the backlights I used for this project were kindly supplied to me by DisplayBLY.com (China) for my testing purposes.

The CR2032 batteries should last at least a few days in the cold. Inside they actually last few weeks, but they will dim with time.

Use a kitchen knife to make a space to insert the two teeth into Olaf's mouth.

Step 3: Make Orange LED Nose and Insert Into Head

The nose is just simply a throwie made from a white 10-mm LED to light up a clear plastic icicle scavenged from holiday lights. I had purchased the LightShow 12 icicle light string on sale at HomeDepot before the holidays...knowing that the icicles looked like Olaf noses to me.

Once again I am using the Sharpie trick (originally learned from Sparkfun.com) to color the LED light. In this case I covered the plastic icicle itself with Orange ink from a Sharpie. To get the color saturation I wanted, I resorted to cutting open the Sharpie to expose the ink pad and I used that.

Step 4: Add Curly Green Hair

Sparkfun.com was my source for the green EL wire as well as the small 3v to 120v inverter for power. I used a rechargable 3.7 volt lithium battery (Adafruit), but two AA cells work just as well. I supported the battery and inverter on a breadboard jammed into the back of Olaf's head (sorry Olaf !).

Step 5: Introducing Olaf the LED Snowman

Just some snapshots of LED Olaf.

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