Steampunk Emergency Nightlight




I was watching the evening news, and it was reported that a line of spring storms were brewing throughout the mid-west.

I used to live within tornado alley and I remembered how bad these storms could be. I also remembered losing power a number of times (not fun).
So, what happens when you lose your power and you have a dire need of a nightlight?

So follows my solution – an emergency decorative nightlight powered by battery using low energy LED lights. 

Bonus -
     a. Unlike a flashlight, it would never walk from room to room or disappear to only be found months later under a pile of old blankets
     b. Unlike a candle can be left unattended.

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Step 1: Parts List

See list below for parts and tools:

1.     Copper Pipe

2.     Tubing cutter

3.     Copper Tee

4.     Copper Elbow

5.     Balsawood (1.5” X  12”) X 4

6.     Revel Balsa Plywood (6” X 12”)

7.     Hot glue

8.     Black Paint

9.     Red Paint

10.  Foam Brushes

11.  Clear Polyurethane

12.  Gas Light Sconce

13.  Brass Lamp Parts

14.  Glass Insulator

15.  Threaded Hollow Pipe (for lamps)

16.  Lamp Nuts and Washers

17.  Plastic LED Flashlight (Cheap)

18.  Flat Round Knurled Nut

19.  Electrical Tape

20.  Small Toggle Switch

21.  Electrical Wire (20 Gauge)

22.  Solder and Iron

23.  D Cell Battery x 2

Step 2: Dry Fitting and Measuring Lamp Parts

        1. Dry fit your lamp parts (Insulator, brass lamp part, gas lamp sconce)

2. Measure the tube down to the base.

3. Cut your copper pip to fit (approx. 4.5”)

4. The pipe diameter is the same as the brass gas light
   – solution – use a copper tee to fit both ends into.

So what to do with the third outlet?

5. Cut a small piece of pipe to join the copper elbow (approx.  .75”) insert into tee

6. Join the elbow to the  tee using the short piece of pipe (the elbow will house the toggle switch)

Step 3: Paint the Base - Faux Lacquer Finish and Placing the Parts

1. Paint the base
     a. Using a foam brush, paid all wooden pieces black and let dry
     b. Using a new foam brush, apply red paint directly to the brush and drag the color across the black painted parts (the more red you apply will add depth and highlights)

c. After the paint dries, apply the polyurethane to protect and give the base some shine

2. Place the lamp (still dry fitted together) on the base and mark where the copper pipe will go through the base and where the brass ring will sit

3. Drill a hole in the base smaller than the copper tube.

4. Insert the threaded pipe with washers on both sides and tightened on both sides with a lamp nut.

5. Glue the brass lamp part (ring) down to the base with hot glue

6. Glue the sides of the base onto the top (it will look like a box lid)
*I cut the short ends to fit between the long pieces.

Step 4: Dissemble the Flashlight

1. Use a cheap LED flashlight because it will be destroyed ( I had a $2.00 flashlight)

2. Take the top assembly apart and discard all but the LED lights, green board (still attached) and metal housing (the metal is your electrical connections +, -)

3. Pull out the spring on the bottom of the light

4. Pull out the metal strip from the inside of the flashlight (these will connect the battery terminals)

Step 5: Assemble the Light

1. Solder and tape electrical tape the metal housing for the lights
     a. Use red wire for the positive (center of the housing)
     b. Use black for the ground (round disk surrounding the positive)

2. Take out porcelain fitting in the gas light and fish the LED light assembly through the gas light

3. Slide the wires through the tee fitting down through the threaded pipe in the base

5. Solder black wires to both of the terminals of the light switch (I used green because it would be easier to show how to wires from the light to the switch)

6. Take the nut off of the toggle switch (save) and add the flat round knurled nut to the top and secure it down with the nut that came from the toggle switch

7. Twist the wires together and fish the wires through the elbow, through the tee, down to the copper pipe, threaded pipe

8. Place the insulator in the ring and glue

9. Glue the pipe pieces together

10. The knurled caps the elbow perfectly (glue down)

11. Hot glue the copper pipe over the threaded tube

Step 6: Wiring

1. Undo the twisted switch wires, and take one side and twist it onto the black wire from the light

2. Tape together

3. Attach the spring (large end) to the side of the box (short side)

4. Take the other end of the light switch wire and twist it onto the spring (glue or tape to the spring)

5. Take the metal strip and glue it to the opposite side of the box (tape the red wire to the strip)

6. Place the batteries between the spring and the metal strip (negative side will be on the spring, and the positive terminal in the metal strip

7. Tape the excess wires to the bottom of the base

Step 7: 1. Turn on the Light

        1. Turn on the light

2. Decorate the base ( I made this one to display an old camera and photograph)

3. Enjoy!

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    11 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I have two of those very same glass pieces I forgot what they are called I do believe they were insulators for the top of highline poles

    5 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    What is really cool is that the bike trails here are built on old rail lines. On the side there are a few poles left with broken insulators either on the ground or still on the old poles. They are mostly broken but with a lot of work they may turn into an awesome project some day.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Cool, I've got to keep my eye out for the cool yard sales. Better than risking poison ivy. :)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    yeah pretty crazy what you can find. I found a DVD player and a LCD screen at my last garage sale.

    Winged Fist

    6 years ago on Introduction

    This a great looking steampunk lamp! (I've made a few myself;-) And a really well documented Instructable! Looking forward to seeing future projects!

    1 reply
    ElmarMWinged Fist

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, your kind words of encouragement makes this so fun! I have a few more glass insulators to deal with... what to do.....


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I like it a lot, the base painting is really wild but I think it takes away from the steampunk look

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your great comment. The paint job looks quiet strong with the red but I think the flash is a huge culprit. In normal light the (or the lighting from my basement) he red does not pop so much. Thanks again for your comment it's encouraging me to document, build and share rather than build and forget.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I like it a lot, the base painting is really wild but I think it takes away from the steampunk look