Quick and Easy Altoids LED Flashlight




Introduction: Quick and Easy Altoids LED Flashlight

About: ^^ Me at the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London doing a wand practice session! I'm obsessed with Harry Potter and love to do Musical Theatre!

This project will show you how to make an easy, quick (I did it in under thirty minutes), and cheap (or free) LED Altoids Tin Flashlight.

Step 1: Gather Materials/Tools


-1 Switch (any one that you prefer)
-2 Ultra Bright LEDs
-1 3v Button Cell Battery
-Altoids Tin
-Electrical Tape


-Soldering Iron (with solder)
-Hot Glue Gun (with Hot Glue Sticks if needed)
-Box Cutter

Step 2: Prepare the Tin

For this step, we're going to be cutting some holes in the tin for the LEDs to shine out of and the switch to come out of. Take a box cutter, heat up the metal with a soldering iron and poke it through, use a blowtorch, we don't care - just do it! Also keep in mind safety first. Obviously your holes aren't going to be exact but that's ok, we'll fill them with hot glue later on.

Step 3: Solder!

For this part, you're going to need to be really careful. Line up the positive and negative leads (long metal parts) on the LEDs. The positive lead is the longer metal part extending from the LED. After you solder the negative lead to the other negative lead, and the positive lead to the other positive lead, solder one wire to each pair. Take the end of the wire that is soldered to the positive leads and solder it to one side of the switch (you'll know what I mean when you look at the switch). Take another wire and solder it to the other end of the switch. Take the end of the negative wire and the unconnected positive wire (the one on the other end of the switch) and tape them to the battery using electrical tape. Make sure the wires are connected to the right side of the battery.


Step 4: Finish It Up!

Next, all you're going to have to do is line up the LEDs in the hole you made earlier in the front, and the switch in the other hole in the side that you made. Don't worry if the LEDs and switch don't fit perfectly; just use some hot glue to fill in the empty space.

Congratulations! You finished it! Close up the tin and maybe even spray paint it! Thank you and don't forget to like, vote, and comment!

Step 5: Having Problems? Here's the Troubleshooting Guide!


The LEDs are not turning on or flickering:
1. There may not be enough tape on the battery, so may may want to add extra or tape it down
2. Check ALL connections and make sure that any wires aren't touching anything that they shouldn't
3. Make sure that you didn't accidentally solder the negative leads or wires to the positive ones or vice versa

Any more problems that weren't answered here? Comment and I'll respond with an answer!

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    9 Discussions


    Reply 2 years ago

    Most coin cells are lithium, and lithium cells can explode if they receive too much heat.


    5 years ago on Step 4

    might put this on my emp power gauntlet. (not a costume piece)


    5 years ago on Step 4

    i am making this but with a excitemint bubblemint car pack container


    That picture of you bearing down on the tin with a box knife made me cringe. :S


    5 years ago on Step 5

    these type of projects are always fun and a good way to introduce your children into the "make" world. The only suggestion I might make here would to do yourself a favor and get button cell battery holders. They are dirt cheap and easy to find in both 1 and 2 cell holders. Found mine on Ebay.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Yes- hot melt glue has it's place, but NOT on the switch or project exterior...

    * You REALLY need to post a circuit diagram/schematic...

    * A "birds eye view" parts layout is also near essential !

    * Those Li coin cells don't have much capacity - have you tested run time?

    * 3V on white LEDs is marginal - they really need a supply around 3.5V

    * How have you tended to insulation of bare connections in a metal tin?

    * If drilling metal it's best to first make a punch mark or the bit may wander

    * A chassis nibbler tool makes super neat holes

    I have to say that a few AA alkalines would be a better power source- even better may be a single AA with an IC booster ( perhaps rescued from a solar garden lamp)


    How about using an LED holder? They're two cents each and work perfectly with this project. (It's how I've done it in my classroom, scout troops, and business.)

    With panel mount switches and LED holders you SHOULDN'T need to hot glue them into place. Maybe the backside of the LEDs, but not the switch.

    Just be careful with Altoids tins since they can be super duper sharp.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    They're not really two cents each because few people have them lying around. A pack from Radio Shack is bound to cost $2+ and shipping online at least that - maybe less on a slow boat from China.

    Then again that's the problem with the entire project, that it assumes we all have misc parts like these lying around but wouldn't already have a superior LED flashlight which would be just about any LED flashlight that can be bought for $2 or more.

    Anyway, heating the metal to poke holes with a box cutter doesn't make a lot of sense but using a hefty (office/paper) hole punch instead makes more sense because you can get switches with the right diameter neck and an LED holder for a typical 5mm LED fits into a hole punch sized hole.

    I do not meant to suggest with the hole punch that I encourage the project as it is somewhat reinventing the wheel but with an inferior result to what can be bought off a shelf ready to use for $2, but on the other hand altoids tins have their uses as electronic project boxes where there may still be a need for switches, LEDs, input or output sockets.