Mini LED Christmas Tree Nightlight

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About: I am an automation engineer but I will give anything a go. I don't know if you call if pessimism or just being an engineer, but I look for problems everywhere, then I look for some weird, left field way to s...

After collecting our Christmas tree, my two boys (aged 2 & 4) instantly wanted it installed in their bedroom...

I decided to involve them in their first Instructables build. They were designated Christmas Elves and entered my North Pole workshop.

This instructable will take you through the build of miniature plywood Christmas trees, painted and fitted with LED's.

I leave it to you to decide what is safe for your children to work with, in this instructable, I used the circular and jig saws but my sons did the drilling, painting and hot glueing with close supervision.

Step 1: Layout

I had a strip of 12mm (1/2") ply, it was about 300mm (12") wide and 900mm (36") long.

I cut this down into 2 300x 450mm pieces.

We drew our best non-pointy Christmas tree onto some cardboard, note that we only drew half as the intention was to flip it over the centre line and make the tree all symmetrical.

I took the cardboard to one side and trimmed it with a box cutter on the cutting pad.

A centre line was marked on the timer and then the template laid down, note the template was wider than half the piece of stock so we ended up with a narrower tree than expected.

The design was transferred to only one piece of stock and then the two were clamped together, this was to speed up the cutting and to ensure that both were a match because anyone with children will tell you that if one looks different they will argue over it...

Step 2: Shaping and Sanding

Using the jigsaw, I followed the template marks and produced 2 rough Christmas trees.

My elves then set about sanding the faces and edges, we started with the pad sander but this produced complaints of tickly hands so we went to the old-fashioned sandpaper and block method.

Several weeks later the sanding had been completed and we had some fairly smooth trees.

Step 3: Drilling and LED Placement

A local discount shop was selling sets of 25 battery operated LED fairy lights for E2.50

The LEDs had an outer diameter of 5mm so this set the diameter of the mounting holes.

We marked out the locations of the 25 holes and the boys drilled them through, a backing board was put to limit blowout and save my bench.

There was some burr in the holes as the drilling was a bit hasty so each hole was given a second pass, this time with a countersink.

Trees were then proudly presented...

Step 4: Priming and Painting

The trees were taken outside and hung on some string for priming.

I used some all surface spray primer and for this the children were not permitted to help.

Once the primer was dry, the trees were given a quick sand with some 1000 grit paper and the boys were set loose with some water-based paint.

Step 5: Installing the Lights

The LEDs pushed through from the back.

I originally thought that there would be a requirement for some glue but they were a really tight friction fit.

The plan was to make wall hangers but with the depth of the wiring loops on the rear I was forced to make a stand. This was a scrap of timber with a 5 deg incline.

The trees were also a little unstable on the single centre support so 2 3mm screws were placed under the lowest branches, this allowed for adjustable supports

Step 6: The Finished Job

Here are some pictures of the finished trees installed in the boys' room.

We had a really good tie making these and hopefully you will see more collaboration instructables soon.

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