Recycled Lunar Phase Lamp

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This lamp is made from a plastic jar, and it turns on when you tighten the lid. You can change the silhouette to show different phases of the moon.

Supplies:

Materials:

  • plastic jar (with ridges at the top and bottom of the body)
  • thin plastic container (such as a strawberry container, etc.)
  • foam insulating tape
  • copper tape
  • duotang
  • wire
  • thin cardboard
  • electrical tape
  • clear/scotch tape
  • blue LED
  • 2 AA batteries
  • black construction paper
  • double sided tape

Tools:

  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • soldering iron
  • fine sandpaper (around 300 grit)

Teacher Notes

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Step 1:

Remove any labels from the jar. This part can be tough, but I've found that rubbing alcohol works well to remove the sticky residue. Another method is to rub vegetable oil on it, let it sit for a few hours, and then wipe the sticky mess off. Next, if you have frosted glass paint, you can use that to frost the jar. Otherwise, sand the jar to a matte finish (a dust mask is recommended).

Step 2:

Cut out the shape above from a thin plastic container. Fold along the lines to make a box and hot glue the corners. This is the battery holder.

Step 3:

Cut 3 cm (1 3/16 in) of foam tape and and copper tape. Stick the copper tape onto the foam tape and stick the foam tape to one end of the plastic box.

Step 4:

Remove one of the metal fastenings of a duo-tang, and cut the legs off.

Step 5:

Take two 15 cm (6 in) long wires, strip the insulation off the ends, and solder them to the pieces. Wrap the connection with electrical tape.

Step 6:

Hot glue the metal pieces to the other side of the plastic box, making sure that they do not touch each other.

Step 7:

Tighten the lid of the jar and put two pieces of tape, one on the lid and one on the body, directly beside each other. Unscrew the lid again.

Step 8:

Cut a 2 x 6 cm (13/16 x 2 6/16 in) piece of cardboard and divide into three sections. Fold along those lines. Poke two holes for the legs of the LED, and hot glue one end of the cardboard to the middle of the lid.

Step 9:

Wrap one of the wire from the battery holder around a led of the LED. Take another piece of wire (NOT the second wire from the battery holder. A separate piece.) and twist it around the second leg. Insulate with electrical tape. Then, tape the other end of the cardboard to the lid.

Step 10:

Find the tape marking on the lid. Cut two small square of copper tape, and tape down the ends of the wire (one from the LED and one from the battery holder) at the very inside edge of the lid nearest to the tape marking. Make sure to leave a small space between the two pieces of copper tape.

Step 11:

Find the tape marking on the body of the jar. Cut a 3 cm (1 3/16 in) long piece of copper tape and tape it over the mouth of the jar where at the marking. Put two AA batteries into the battery holder (pay attention: the longer leg of the LED is the positive side). When you screw the jar together, the LED should light up.

Step 12:

Measure the circumference of the jar. Cut a rectangle of paper that is the height from the top ridge to the bottom ridge of the jar, and 4/5 of the jar's diameter. Tape this paper around the jar.

Step 13:

Cut another rectangle of paper with the same height, but this time with a length 1 cm (6/16 in) longer than the circumference of the jar. Measure out the length of the circumference on the paper and divide into five sections. On each section, draw a phase of the moon (or any design you wish) and cut it out.

Step 14:

Use double-sided tape to tape the strip of paper around the outside of the jar. You can slide the paper around to change the design.

Step 15: You're Done!

Thanks for reading!

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    WeTeachThemSTEM

    4 weeks ago

    This is a neat idea and could be a really fun project for elementary students learning the Lunar Phases in 4th and 5th grade. :) Thanks for sharing!