Need another activity to pass the time when stuck indoors because the weather turned cold again? Make some new friends by creating a bunch of LED Throwie Light Up Creatures.
Step 1: Getting Crafty...
Well, actually, we went out shopping to combat the cabin fever. I spotted these clothes dryer balls - spikey rubberlike balls to bounce around and soften your clothes in the dryer - that were pretty cool and would look pretty neat when lit up.
Once you work with LED lights, you know you can embed them in most anything and would look even better when the material of the object can diffuse the lights into a more interesting glow or pattern. These were hollow balls so it would work great to poke an LED through the shell and light it up.
Along the same lines, if you have a bunch of ping pong balls, they would also work great as light diffusers.
From my previous Custom LED Throwie Badges, I had a bag of assorted candle fade or flickering LEDs. You can just connect them to a 3.3v coin cell battery and they would light up without additional components. This is popularly known as making an LED throwie, bare essentials used to make a working circuit.
Step 2: Use Your Imagination...
You can use any kind of LED. I used the candle fade LEDs which have a tiny controller chip onboard to make it flicker like a candle. It adds a bit of animation to the lights to make them more interesting.
Just take an awl or seam ripper tool to punch a hole in your dryer ball or ping pong ball. You could also break out the electric drill but you still need to hold the ball steady. Be careful when making the hole as the tool can slip and injure you. I held the ping pong ball with a padded oven mitt.
You can just push the LED into the rubber ball and it will be a press fit but for the ping pong ball, you might need to tape the LED in to secure it.
Hot glue googly eyes somewhere on the top of the ball opposite the LED which should be at the bottom. Be sure to have a giant bag of assorted size googly eyes. Hot glue can melt and warp the back membrane of the googly eye so don't dab too much hot glue or press too hard when mounting the eye. The disk for the pupil inside might have a hard time moving if there is a warped backing.
Once you tape up the LED leads or wires to the battery, the creature will be activated. If there is no light, just switch the way the battery is connected. It has to have the right polarity (+ and - (ground)) going to the correct leads on the LED from the battery. Have fresh batteries on hand.
You can also go on with adding other parts made from craft foam, yarn, paper, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, more googly eyes, etc...
If you make one, you need to give your light up creature a name.
What planet or solar system do they come from?
What do they eat?
Too many questions...