Periodic Table Glowing Radioactive Eggs




Introduction: Periodic Table Glowing Radioactive Eggs

About: This author has not updated their profile. They might or might not get around to it sometime. If the kid wants a unicorn... Dangit, we're gonna make that happen. What little I know is dangerous, the rest I...
Hear about the one that laid the golden egg? Well, this is a batch of organic(not hatched at least) glowing radioactive eggs. A fine sample of radioactive elements is presented here. Look, there's Polonium, favored by our friends at the KGB. For breakfast, let your kids pick their...wait

Great for egg scavenger hunts, egg hunt periodic table bingo contests or for winning door prizes. Some of these radioactive elements are pretty rare and have a short half-life.

Powered by Adafruit Flora or any Arduino of your choice.

DISCLAIMER: Possession of and handling of nuclear materials should be left to professionals or those that claim to work in that field.  If they mention anything about Dilithium, run away. A source of high quality K'nexgunium has not yet been mined although Unobtainium is plentiful. 

Step 1: Safe Handling of Materials...

I think salmonella would be the least of your worries...

This project is just rigging up eggs with LEDs in a repeating fade pattern controlled by a microprocessor like an Arduino.

The egg carton is used to hold the eggs and the magic Arduino is hidden in the package.

You can go with a whole egg or have it hard-boiled but I just used an empty egg shell since that would diffuse the LED light better and not be as opaque.

A little bit of fiberfill is stuffed inside the eggshell for better light distribution.

I used an Adafruit Flora microprocessor board and battery pack.

I used LEDs in different colors with appropriate resistors soldered in line.

Know how to wire up and program your microprocessor.

CAUTION: Know how to safely work with electronics and raw poultry products.  If you don't know, ask.

Step 2: Make It Glow...

I could have used my full sized Arduino UNO but my Adafruit Flora serves me well. The package is a smaller form factor for wearables but is suited for cramming into all sorts of  props.

I looked up the specs of my LEDs, max current draw, forward voltage, and power supply voltage.  I plugged those numbers into an online LED calculator to give me a resistor value to use.  Resistors prevent the LED from burning out due to a surge in current. 

I soldered my own wiring harness with LEDs and resistors soldered and insulated with some masking tape. The masking tape forms well over tiny components and provides some strain relief when handling the LEDs.

I used pairs from a strip of ribbon cable.

The ends of the leads are soldered to male header pins.  I like to do this as a breakout cable for my components that plug into the female header sockets soldered to the Arduino.  It makes connections and troubleshooting easier.

I am running the basic example of doing a PWM fade of LEDs.  It is looping and issuing the command to up the voltage level on each pass and delay to make it appear brighter and then go in reverse to fade out. Each LED is on its own PWM or analog capable pin.

Continually test each step of the way.  I adjusted the timings to what I thought looked like a good effect.

More complicated looping could have made each egg individually fade in and out on its own cycle.

Of course, you can also add a light sensor, tactile switch, or ultrasonic range sensor to detect if the carton is open or not.  Hook up a piezo speaker to have it click like a geiger counter, more intense if you get closer to it.

Step 3: Christmas Lights...wait, It's Easter Time...

These are prepared egg shells.

I had taken a sharp knife to poke into and dig out a piece of the shell at one end.  Hold it with a towel as the sharp knife tip slips on impact and you really can't saw an egg shell open.

I didn't really figure out which is the preferable end to cut, the wide bottom or pointier top. There is an air pocket with the membrane that hangs off the shell in one end.

I then broke the yolk inside and drained the contents of the egg into a bowl.  You may have to shake the contents out a bit. That was cooked and eaten.

I did not want the secondary hole on top if you try the blowing out the egg technique.

The empty egg shells were washed with dish soap and dried.

The egg shells are still fragile so you could slosh the insides with glue or a plaster slurry/slip and let dry.

When dry, you can stuff with a bit of fiberfill.  This is all to enhance the light diffusion of the LED  inside the egg shell.

Test to see how your lights will look when powered up.

The green LED seems to show off the natural texture of the egg shell the best. Green eggs and ham. Yum!

Step 4: Carbon Dating...

Take any writing instrument and apply markings to your egg. I haz no Egg-bot printer.

Use a marker to write on the Periodic Table information of the element. I copied the symbol, name, atomic number and atomic weight. You might be able to squeeze in more info depending on your font.

I used a permanent marker but use one with non-toxic ink if you are going to store the eggs and worry about anything migrating through the shell when you eat the eggs.

Light it up and feel those alpha, beta and gamma particles coming at you.

Serve on a Pb plate with graphite chopstick control rods. Wash down with a glass of heavy water.

What's your favorite radioactive element and why?  Tell me something below and I might react with scattering a few Pro membership codes your way if your story registers high.


Egg Contest

Grand Prize in the
Egg Contest



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      Water Contest
    • Fix It! Contest

      Fix It! Contest
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      Creative Misuse Contest

    65 Discussions

    Hmmm... No Caitlinsium?


    3 years ago

    I WAS going to do this and then rig the egg carton whith a couple o' sticks o' dynamite?????........ wait.......... nope, just do it and then throw the eggs on the ground to see what would happen,buuuuut.... then I found out it was just LED lights.??????????????????????????????????????????????????? or........ just ask Good ol' George Lucas for one of them Star Wars blasters? and maybe a lightsaber? or two, invite my friends get the picture.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    BTW, I'm the biggest Star Wars Freek ever.


    3 years ago

    BTW, I'm the biggest Star Wars Freek ever.

    Reminds me of a 1950's British film "Mr Drakes Duck" about a farmer who has a duck which lays uranium eggs!

    2 replies

    Hmmm, can't find any snippets of it. Will have to rummage those B movie bins to find it. Sounds good though.

    Enjoyed your post! It prompted me to try some more traditional eggs with colour changes, and let me test the idea of soldering directly to smt NeoPixel packages without a breakout board. Easier than I thought.

    2 replies

    That is great. I never thought to just mount neopixels with crazy glue. I guess it is too permanent and you would have to chip the stuck bits out to reuse it. I like that pebbly grainy structure of the eggshell under different colored lights.

    You can embed a video in comments by typing the URL and then pressing enter like I did below. More people should see your work.

    You should go on Adafruit's Show and Tell webcast or email them. They like to see what people do with their products.

    Please check your instructables inbox (YOU button at top) for a message.

    I know, but what I meant is that its a shame that you could not enter it into the current science method contest -

    Since you have already entered this into the maximum of three contests. And no way would I think of making your final product and entering it in the contest. I mean, it kinda sounds like stealing (of course not physically).

    You should and can make any variation or copy of this ible.There is no scientific process involved unless you want to explore what diffracts light better or luminosity through transluscent or opaque objects. This was just fun to do and share.

    Sorry I didn't reply. I love poetry, and I thought it would be interesting to see who would reply. Thanks for replying, anyways it's actually a quote. I also love your radioactive eggs, there so creative. Hope you win a contest. (:

    (p.s. I voted for you) . .


    Since we have an international crowd here, some replies are fragmented due to the user's rough English, wonky translation, cut and paste spam or the user is just under heavy medication. We field all of them, scratch our heads to figure out what it means and go for an appropriate response in humor or humour.