Making an LED Night Light W/ Star Pattern

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About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @ http://darbinorvar.com

This LED nightlight features a star pattern and it lights up a dark room in a magical way. I used ipe for the wood, however any dark wood, or painted MDF for example would work well. This is a really fun project and would be great as an accent light in a room, in the middle of a table, or as a night light in the bedroom.

Step 1: Cut the Wood

I started with setting up the blade on the table saw to the right angle, and I'm using this angle gauge to mesaure it correctly. Now a circle has 360 degrees, and I'm using 6 pieces, so divided by 6, we have 60. However to find the one side of the 60 degree angle, we divide in two, and it comes to 30. So here I'm cutting this thin piece of ipe I had left over from a different project, and giving it a 30 degree angle on both sides. Then I cut it in six pieces on the miter saw.

So I got in the shop, and figured I should test it out, so using some masking tape here, and that worked perfectly.

Step 2: The Design

Next up I'm marking each side with some cha lk, and then I also marked how far in the top and the bottom will sit. Then I started marking out a pattern. So I wanted a starry design, nothing that felt too uniform, so I just played around with a basic clusters here of stars, it's all very scientific you see.

Then I just took off the tape, and improved the design wherever it needed it.

Step 3: Drilling the Holes

Now off to the drillpress. So I simply used a variety of bits and basically followed the design more or less. I started with the larger bit and then gradually moved down smaller.

So this took a little while to accomplish, the smaller the holes became, the more holes I drilled to fill in all that space, but overall it was quite fun to create the design.

Now for the top and the bottom, I had some thicker ipe, that I'm just gluing together.

And then while that dried, I sanded each of the sides down.

Step 4: Gluing the Shade

On one of the sides I need material removed to fit a small switch, so just marking it out, sawing down the side, and using a chisel to remove the wood. Next I'm marking out where the holes need to go, and just drilling some small holes. I also drilled a hole in the side for the power plug.

Now time to connect these together again with some tape, and that's because I need to mark out the inside for the top and the bottom. Once I had that marked out I took the piece out to the bandsaw and cut it to size.

I also drilled some holes in the top piece, and then I began gluing everything up. And here I made sure I had the order right of the sides which I marked out earlier, to preserve the pattern. Then clamping it, and I'm just gluing the top piece on, however I did slide in the bottom piece with some wax paper covering it for some support while the pieces glued up.

Step 5: Working on the Bottom

So I have a square piece of wood which I'll put light strips on, and this block will fit into the bottom, then the starry shade will slip on top of it. So I need to carve out a section in the middle of the bottom so the block can sit inset. So I started with drilling out a hole on the drill press, and then I did some chisel work to remove the corners, and that fits in pretty good.

Next to the carved out area I'm drilling a hole where the wires can go through, and on the underside I'm drilling out a couple holes to make room for the electronics.

Step 6: The Electronics

Now I have the block of wood, and I'm using common 12 volt LED strips. Basically I'm gluing a few strips down one side, and then overlaying a few more down the other side. And there's my new LED strip bulb!

To solder the lights together, I'm soldering all the positives on one side, and all the negatives on the other, and that's just because it was neater that way.

So on the block of wood I have the light strips with the positives connected on one side and the negatives on the other. That sits in the base, and I have a switch a power plug. The power connects to the positive side and the switch, and the switch connects to the negative side, and that's it.

I connected slightly thinner wires to a power plug, and putting on some heat shrink. Then I secured the wires to the underside with some hot glue. So the wires to the lights go through the wood, I can place the block in the bottom, and then flick the switch. OK, and then the shade goes on top of that. Then I'm securing the switch in place with some tiny screws, and I also have another screw on the side connecting the shade to the bottom.

Step 7: Finishing the Light

Now for a finish, I'm starting with some shellac, and I'm simply putting it on with a cloth, and I really like this, because it's a natural finish, and it dries really quickly, so I can sand it lightly, and then put on a second coat. Now to make the shade super smooth, I'm applying some of my raw linseed oil beeswax polish with some steel wool, and then buffing it dry a few minutes later.

To finish the bottom, I cut up some black fabric to size, and then I hot glued it down.

So in total, this setup uses about 6 watts of power. I'm often asked if these lights produce a lot of heat, and after an hour of being used the LED bulb I created can safely be handled. LEDs are very low powered type of lights and as long as they have a lot of air flow I have never had any problem using them.

Step 8: Conclusion - Watch the Video!

For a much better perspective, make sure to watch the video!

3 People Made This Project!

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37 Discussions

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Khovet1

1 year ago

Can you share a source for the led strips and the power supply?

Thanks,

1 reply
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darbinorvarKhovet1

Reply 1 year ago

I added info about the products to the video description. Thanks for watching!

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dauphin1974

1 year ago

Nice video and description. I would make this. Thanks!

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PhilKE3FL

1 year ago

I've guestimated your number of LEDs & measured a set of three sets of three LEDs at 0.05A so a set of six sets would be about 100 mA or 0.1A and with four sides each side using 2 strips of 18 LEDs (6 sets of three LEDs) that's 800 mA, so the approximate power being used for the beautiful night light is 0.80 * 12.0 = 9.6W.

Now, I've made a very bright night light using only 5 LEDs at much lower wattage. On the other hand, it's made out of an old wall wart case & five drilled holes and directly connects to the AC with a home built AC-DC power supply of ~ 15V. This calculates as 15V * 0.02mA = 0.3W or only ~ 3% of the power used for your night light.

While mine does the job, and very brightly I might add, it in no way compares to the beauty of yours.

Thank-you for a very fine Instrucatable and piece of functional art!

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StefanB3

1 year ago

What about cooling leds? Do you underpower them? I would prefer aluminum pipe to stick led strips onto. Excellent woodwork.

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a1jim

1 year ago

Hi Linn just found you on instructables very nice design and build also as an adult woodworking teacher I feel your step by step clear instructions are very well done.This project is also a great learning tool for newer woodworkings.A+

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RolanG

2 years ago

Que gran idea!!!

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torvaga

2 years ago

I had to make one. Thanks for a cool idea =)

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AzizB3

2 years ago

Génial


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ChuckieBob58

2 years ago

Brava! Well done presentation, job, and what a great workshop you have! Very impressive. I'm struggling just to make simple frames.

I'm a fan!

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jjz

2 years ago

Artful and meticulous work! Bravo! Wish I had the tools to make it :)

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JODI01

2 years ago

Cool beans I really like it.

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The Freak

2 years ago

Nice! You might get more light out of it (or need less LEDs for the same effect) if you paint the inside silver or white or something.

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CHURLZ

2 years ago

Brilliant! I like how well thought out every bit of it is, from the clever wood working design to the robust LED-solution. Pro stuff indeed, sjukt bra jobbat!

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laith mohamed

2 years ago

I like the work with wood and leds its make me delight .... ^_^ ^_^

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msdrpepper

2 years ago

Very beautiful and I couldn't help thinking what s blessing it is that you have had obviously years of training in shop work and woodworking, as well as access to such a nice facility! Those machines are not cheap. I remember my dad agonizing over which table saw or press or whatever to buy next, with our limited funds (he did piano and organ repair, refinishing etc.). Also when I went to high school in the 70's, girls were not allowed to take shop - they scheduled it at same time as home economics, so "girls go to home ec, the boys go to shop class". Kinda of a dumb outlook on life, as there are so many men who are talented cooks and dress designers as well as women who build woodworks and electronics and all of that.

So thanks for sharing, and oh well, the materials and tools I have access to, my LED lamp may just be a tiny battery operated LED "csndle" tea light inside of a tin can with starburst holes drilled in and then spray painted with a glossy sky blue color!! ?

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sue.donim.144

2 years ago

lay a star map over wood and drill through stars for actual starry night ... use different drill bits for different size stars. you can add comet or galaxy too.

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GreenMoon

2 years ago

Great project! I think next steps of RGB LEDS, dimming capability, and maybe a rotating base would be cool. One recommendation: it is safer to use the switch to interrupt the positive power wire -- that way the unit is always grounded. :)