This light box is a "night light" I created for my Computational Craft midterm. I was inspired to create this light box after reading the children's book I Need My Monster written by Amanda Noll. In the story, the main character, Etha,n cannot go to sleep because his monster, Gabe, decided to go fishing for the night. Without his monster, Ethan will be tempted to get out of bed, and work up lots of energy, therefore rendering unable to sleep.
In I Need My Monster, while Gabe is away, Ethan is presented with three substitute monster that he rejects because they are not scary enough. Because the Monstrous Night Light is self-made, parents can retro fit their night light to their child's monster needs. By using this night light, children will be able to sleep even if their monsters have gone on vacation.
- X-acto knife or some sort of box cutter
- Foam core
- Bristol paper
- Hot glue
- Elmers glue
- Copper tape
- LEDs x9
- Soldering iron
- 220 ohm resistors
Step 1: Do a Quick Sketch
Before you start assembling your light box, you want to have an idea of what it is you want your box to look like. Sketch out the entire image as a while and plan each of the layers within your box. For my Monstrous Night Light, the first layer is the hands, then the monster's body, and then the background.
Step 2: Construct the Box
Cut the foam core to the desired size you want your light box to be.
For the Monstrous Night Light, I cut:
Back: 10 x 15" (25.4 x 38.1 cm)
Font: 10 x 15" (25.4 x 38.1 cm) with a 8.5 x 13.5" (21.59 x 34.25 cm)
Top and bottom strips: 15 x 2" (38.1 x 5.08 cm)
Side strips: 9.75 x 2" (24.77 x 5.08 cm)
Glue all sides together, leaving the top unglued for now.
Step 3: Add the Pages
Cut out the number of pages you need for your box, pages should be the same size as the inside of the box. For the Monstrous Night Light, I needed five pages of 9.5 x 14.5" (24.13 x 36.83 cm). On each page, draw the images for the page. Be sure to leave a half inch border to fit the whole image in the window. Once that's done, cut out the negative space. Be sure to anchor the image to at least two side of the page to prevent the image from sagging.
Step 4: Separators
Using the leftover foam core, cut out half inch separators between each of the pages. Depending on how much of a distance you would like in between the pages, you can stack the separators.
Step 5: Map Out Your Circuit
First lay out a circuit for your LEDs to your Arduino Uno. Once you've established the entire circuit, start putting down copper tape. The best way to do this is to first put down the positive circuit. Once that's done, put down some non-conductive tape to prevent crossing circuit from short-circuiting. At the top of the light box, lead the circuit out of the box in order to add a switch.
Step 6: Solder LEDs to the Circuit
First, make sure the LEDs are all the colors that you want in your light box. The quickest way to do this is to hold an LED to a three volt battery. Once you've done that, solder the LED to the circuit. Make sure to solder the long leg (positive leg) to the positive circuit, and the short leg (negative leg) to the ground circuit.
Then solder a 220 ohm resistor to each of the positive circuit of the LEDs. Solder a connection to the groundpin in the Arduino, one to the 5V pin, and one to the 13 pin for the input. Lastly, make sure to solder any breaks and folds in the copper tape circuits. This will insure that your circuits have a strong connection.
Step 7: Assemble the Rest of the Lamp!
Test to see all of your LEDs are working correctly. Glue your image to the frame and then glue the frame to the box.
Step 8: Upload the Code
Because we're using a PULL_UP connection, the LEDs will be on when the button is not pressed. Therefore the lamp will be off when the switch is pressed.
Step 9: Turn on the Monstrous Night Light
Plug in your lamp to a power source and see it light up!