Introduction: LED Wine Lamp - Simple to Make and Cool to Look at - No Drilling of Glass!
I came up with this on my own but thought that someone has probably already done it so with an Instructable search, I found one similar but requiring a hole to be drilled in the glass bottle. This is pretty simple with no glass drilling required. You will have to deal with soldering 115V circuitry so beware if you've never done that. Sparks could fly if you don't do it correctly! If you are electrically challenged, please consider gaining the help of your geeky friend that solders stuff. It will be an adventure for you.
These pretty blue wine bottles (no ads as I got them from someone else) have many re-uses I'm sure. This repurposing is very simple and will achieve dramatic results. I'm sure you might find other neat bottles that could be used for this purpose. I'd be interested if any cousin projects are born from this.
After Christmas time every year I go to the stores and look for LED lighting on sale. I scored this year and picked up several boxes of 12.5 feet strings of LEDs requiring only 5 watts to power really cheap on sale at Lowes. I'm not sure of what you will find off season, but more and more, LEDs are getting cheaper and better and with many more options available. An on-line source of LEDs just happens to be local to me so I can pick up my order with just a quick scooter trip and save on shipping. It is SuperBright LEDs and they've got a giant selection. I'm not getting any money from them for this shout.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Snip Off the Electrical Connector (female Outlet) on the End and Insulate the Remaining Wires.
The connector on the end of the light string won't fit through the bottle's opening as it is too large. After snipping it off leaving enough wire to tie off you will have to insulate the ends of the cut wires SEPARATELY making sure that they don't come together. I used shrink tubing but you should be able to use electrical tape to seal the ends apart. When plugged in, if not insulated completely, these could shock you badly if touched. Be careful here! (see lawyer fear statement downstream).
Feed all of the lights into the bottle leaving the plug end sticking out.
Step 2: Cut Off the Plug Midway Between the Plug and the Last Light.
Because you want this cool, you will have to cut off the plug and make an extension to the wire feeding electricity to the string of lights inside the bottle. Here is where your geeky friend needs to step in and offer assistance if you are electrically challenged and don't want to attempt to tackle this project yourself. It will require experience with soldering and insulating wires. It would be a good chance to get to know your geeky friend as he is probably a really nice guy (or nice geeky girl in some cases!)
For this extension wire, I used some small gauge 2-conductor flat wire that I had laying around from another project. You should be able to get this stuff at a hardware store. Common lamp cord would do fine. Because the power usage is only 5 watts, small gauge wire is all that is required and smaller wire makes for a cooler look as the wire will show outside less. Although 18 or 20 gauge will work fine, you could even get by with smaller wire.
My fear of lawyers statement: "I'll not claim any corporate or otherwise legal knowledge about the safety of this project as I am only giving my opinion as to any direction given to any electrical or mechanical design parameters of this project."
I chose the flat type of twin conductor wire because it will easily hot-glue to the outside of the bottle.
Reconnect the plug on to the extension wire.
You can use as long or short extension wire as you please. I used one that was about 4 feet long. I soldered and covered the connections with shrink tubing to make the job neat.
Step 3: After Extending the Power Wire....
I then hot glued the wire as it came out of the top of the bottle all the way down one side of it neatly flat and in a straight line so that it almost appears to be coming out of the bottom of the bottle gluing every couple of inches to keep it neat.
Step 4: Plug It in and Check It Out
Thanks for checking this out. For those of you wondering, if you leave it plugged in all the time, you will use about $3.50 worth of electricity in a year ($.10 per kWh)!