Led Candles Moodlight





Introduction: Led Candles Moodlight

Here is a simple way to make a "led candles moodlight".
You'll have a slow color changing candles group to enlight your living room during Christmas holidays.

Step 1: Parts and Materials

You need these parts and materials:

- slow flash color leds (browse ebay with these keywords), I used 3 of 5mm type

- moderately large votive candles, 3 as above, 6cm or higher and 6cm in diameter

- a base platter (wood, ceramic, metal ... I used a square piece of plywood, just too small, damn ... a plain porcelain dish would works great)

- a wall wart power supply (I used a 12V/100mA one, but every type from 5V upto 15V works)

- a female connector that match the power supply output connector (barrel, jack etc)

- a 5V/1A regulator IC(classic 7805 or so)

- a 100uF/16V electrolytic capacitor

- some insulated copper wires (short pieces from net cables work well)

- electrical tape or heat shrinking tube (2-3 mm type)

Step 2: Prepare the Candles

Ok, lets do it:

1) Depending from the led power and the candle wax type you have to reduce the candles height to obtain a reasonable and uniform luminosity.

Remove the top caps and extract the candles from the red cases, remove the wicks too.
(in the candles I purchase the wicks are separated from the candle wax body and easily removable, if you have wicks melted inside the wax you can try to pull them out or leave them there).

Insert a led on the wick's hole at the candle base and power it (with a 5V source, higher voltages will fry the led, try to arrange the power supply section on the fly for this test or use a 4,5V battery, longer lead is POSITIVE : DON'T REVERSE) to see how high the light would go so you'll realize how long the candles can be.
I found led can be pushed inside the candle to its entire lenght (leads included) and light diffused back to the candle bottom too.
You have to enlarge the hole or drill it from scratch depending from the wick type.

I cutted the candles from their original 13 cm to respectively 8,5 - 7,5 - 6,5 cm.
Three different height candles are putted together in a triangular way to obtain an armonic composition.
Candles stays together with the help of some metal (copper, steel) wire pieces plugged on their bodies at the middle (and the candle bodies hide them) and under the bottom, shaping in a "U" fashion and heating them with an iron.

Cut some copper insulated wire pieces to connect the led in parallel (positive with positive, negative with negative), extract the led from the candles to solder wires and insulated them with hot shrink tubing (3mm diameter). REMEMBER to INSERT TUBING BEFORE solder.
With another couple of wire connect leds to the power supply section

Step 3: Assemble the Power Supply

Not so complicated, but some infos are required.

Female connector, voltage regulator and the electrolytic capacitor are assembled together with the only support of the wood baseplate. I used a small self-threading screw on the regulator hole to secure all.
It may seems hazardous, but regulator is largely oversized (3 leds sink about 60mA and regulator handle 1A) , have internal short circuit and termal overload protections, so it can't ignite the wood baseplate. An heat sink may be used for more safety, also an U shaped aluminium foil piece can works, pay attention to avoid terminal shorting and metal pad itself is connected to the ground terminal.

Anyway keep it away from curtain or so and (standard disclaimer) "I decline any responsibility about your use of this device and damages and other effects that can derive from it. You are responsible of your own actions".

About the leads, facing the regulator they (hanging down) are from left to right: IN - GND - OUT .

Picture made with FidoCAD http://www.enetsystems.com/~lorenzo/fidocad.asp

PS: I found some standard cellphone charger work well to power this circuit without the voltage regulator, just substitute it with a 1N4007 diode.

Step 4: Put All Together

Finally secure candles to the baseplate. I used some long but subtle nails and screws from the baseplate bottom.
I think some adhesive works with other baseplate material you can't punch.

Step 5: Let It Show

Put your Led Candles Modlight over the shelf or chimney and let it show (better in the dark).

At the end I found another plus: they can last forever !!



    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest

    32 Discussions

    I LOVE Selenite! It's just beautiful when you mix it with any kind of light!

    More like recommended, not required.  You could get away with NOT using it, and 99 times in 100, your projects will operate perfectly fie.  They throw the capacitor in there for that 1 time that the project is sensitive enough that everything freaks out without it.

    What's the point of using a capacitor here? What would happen without it? I know a capacitor stores charge, but I can't see why it's needed. Thanks!

    1 reply

    Acting just like a tank for charges it "smooths" the output voltage from IC, and also "absorbs" electrical noise from the LEDs (they have an internal control IC that switch at high frequency). Anyway if you read IC datasheet, you can see it is required for IC stability.

    Instead of using candles I used a stone called Selentie. It came out very well.

    1 reply

    Yes they are actually 3 wax votive candles. I had them since experimenting with my son on make classic coloured candles melting plain wax and "good old" crayons as I made when was young.
    Since their wax was terribly wrong for this pourpose (smell very bad), I abandoned them, but they are very good to diffuse LED's light.
    I think plastic cases would not so good for this pourpose, since color changing or RGB LEDs project their different color rays in various directions with color spots on the final surface (see also my other intructable https://www.instructables.com/id/CCCP_Christmas_Color_Change_Ping_pong_lights/ on how to diffuse LEDs light inside ping pong balls avoiding light spots)

    In an attempt to recreate this project as true to the instructions as possible, I have ordered everything as is listed on the parts list. The missing piece is now the power supply. I am having a hard time finding the 12v/100mA supplies anywhere for what I consider a reasonable price. Can anyone help? I would also like to enclose the regulator and capacitor for a cleaner looking gift. What would you use?

    4 replies

    Of course you can use a power supply that can deliver more current (e.g. 300-500 mA), maybe you can find a cheap offer.
    Also a 5V one can be suitable (look for those USB out power supplies/chargers) and you can save the regulator IC an capacitor (be sure about 5V output, you can add one or more 1N4001, 1A diode, to reduce by 0.7V for each).

    I din't enclose those parts as you can see in instructable, since they was hidden by the candles when I putted the whole thing on a shelf.
    A small case would work nice for female connector, IC and capacitor, pay attention about heat dissipation by IC and its metal tag is connected to the negative. Look at my other instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/CCCP_Christmas_Color_Change_Ping_pong_lights/ where I used a small plastic egg to this pourpose.
    With a 5V power supply you can get rid of it.

    Thanks for the reply! I happened to find 3 of the power supplies with the same specs that you used. My next question is, how does one know what barrel to use? Is there anything inparticular that I need to know on that front? Also, I have bought almost everything for this project from Digi-Key, but cant find barrel's though them. Any suggestions?

    Sorry, even if I'm aware about all those barrel's size out there, it happened that the power supply barrel fit exactly the female plug I had. Sometimes I changed the barrel with standard mono 3.5 mm jack, and used of course the relevant female plug on the powered device (or the opposite way, I did it in a couple of LEDs night lights I made for my son and daughter, both powered by a single car-style output switching power supply, see ledshoppe.com offers, that I modified adding a couple of jack plugs. Risk exists about plugging in an headset, so barrels are better choice ...

    Great Project! I thought I would make one for my mother for this Christmas. Had some parts and got some and the cost was no more than 10$. Dollarama is a great place for items (rocks, wood tray…). I use a low voltage and did not require the regulator and added a switch to turn on and off. Here are a few shots. Thinking of making myself one ;) Thanks!

    IMG_5549 (Small).JPGIMG_5551 (Small).JPGIMG_5552 (WinCE).JPGIMG_5553 (WinCE).JPGIMG_5555 (WinCE).JPGIMG_5554 (WinCE).JPG
    1 reply

    Great! Nice composition (and photo quality too).
    As I said also in comments of my other instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/CCCP_Christmas_Color_Change_Ping_pong_lights/
    it's a good idea using the now common and cheap USB out power supplies/chargers and throw away regulators (LM317/7805) that waste power.
    Pay attention they can supply 600 mA at least (1000mA recommended), or reduce LEDs quantity.
    Also 5V is quite too much for some LEDs (they die or became erratic after some hours), so add a 1N4001 (1A diode) in series to reduce voltage.

    This is an awesome project, just to put it out there. I really wanted to do this so i got the LEDs and all the other electrical items but i ran into a slight problem and i hope that someone could help me with this: Whenever i start up my LEDs, they all start at red, then move all to green, then all blue, then all green, then all purple, so forth and so on, but i was wondering if there was a way to make the colors different from each other seen in the video above or am i pretty much going to have to live with what i got now.

    1 reply

    Probably you got much better LEDs than these I have, so they have more precise internal clock and are syncronized in color changing for LONG time. Do you have wait for several minutes to see if LEDs lost their synchronicity ? Otherwise you can use the following circuit, but time shift from LEDs stay fixed (47 - 100 ohm resistors could substitute diodes, use different values for C1, C2 and C3, or with same C value use 1 C for led1, 2C per led2, 3C per led3)


    On ebay I only see RBG color LED's does that mean they will also fade to purple or pink ect. ect. colors? I have some at home that only do red blue and green (RBG) or is that a different type of an LED?

    1 reply

    Usually, and as far as I know, this class LEDs change between 7 different colors mixing the 3 basic colors.

    The first I had found are know as "fast flash color" and the changing speed are very fast with some on-off behaviour too.

    The ones I used here are called "slow flash" and you can see their behaviour in the instructable video or also in my other https://www.instructables.com/id/CCCP_Christmas_Color_Change_Ping_pong_lights/

    Maybe however some "old" RGB auto-changing LEDs sports only 3 color, even if I didn't see them.

    I think it is better ask before buy.