Trash to Treasure : Turn an Old Fluorescent Tube Into a Wizard's Wand

Introduction: Trash to Treasure : Turn an Old Fluorescent Tube Into a Wizard's Wand

About: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write...

Most of the things we throw away as trash can be turned into treasure with some imagination. I am one of those who do not throw away trash unless I find it extremely useless.

Think of a fused fluorescent tube, which is good for nothing. I have many of those fused tubes stored in the attic in the hope that I can make something out of those glass tubes. And then I got the idea of placing a blinking serial LED lighting we use to decorate during Christmas time and turn it into a wizard's wand.

The following steps explain how this is very simple to do, but before that watch the video to see the end result.

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Step 1: Things You Need

  • Fused fluorescent tubes. I got tubes of different diameters. I have selected one with 15 mm outer diameter, that is the slimmest of all.
  • Decorative blinking LEDs connected in serial
  • Thick thread. This thread will be passed through the tubing to pull the serial light into the tube.

Step 2: Prepare the Fluorescent Tube

Safety First:

The fluorescent tubes are filled with Mercury vapor and the inside of glass tubes have phosphor coating to make it glow when lighted. So, work in a well ventilated open space when breaking the tubing and do not touch the powder coating inside. Wash your hands and the tools after handling the tubes.

  • I have selected a 15 mm diameter tube for my project. using cutting pliers hold the metal capping at the ends of the tubes and turn lightly. Do not apply force. The metal cap will come off very easily.
  • Under the metal capping, there are sealed light bulbs at both ends. Break the seal with a screw driver safely away from you in an open area..
  • Scratch off any glass pieces on the edges with the screw driver.

Now the empty fluorescent tubing is ready

Step 3: Pass the Thread Through the Tubing

Hold the tube vertically.

Pass one end of the thick thread through the opening at top. It is very easy to do. There are no obstructions inside the tube and the thread will come out easily through the bottom end of the tube.

Step 4: The LED Serial Light

The LED serial light contains 20 pieces of blinking LEDs spaced at 6 inches between them. Each LED is covered with a butterfly shaped thin plastic sheet with glitters glued to them.

When I tried inserting the LEDs with the butterfly shapes into the fluorescent tube, they did not pass through. So I removed all the plastic sheets from the serial light.

Step 5: Tie the LED Serial Lighting and Pull Through

  • Tie the free end of thread to the wiring connecting the LED at the end.
  • Pull the other end of thread. Do not use any force.
  • When a LED gets struck at the opening, gently push with your fingers inside the tube

Now the entire length of the tube is covered with just 8 LEDs and the rest are outside the tube. When the LEDs were lit dark empty spaces were visible between the blinking light.

I have decided to pull the LEDs out and fold them in two, so that more number of LEDs can be put inside the tube. The blinking LED light will also cover the tube completely.

Please see video here of single line of LEDs spaced at 6 inches apart inside the tube.

Step 6: Fold the LED Wires and Pass Through Tube

  • Now fold the LED serial wires at the center.
  • Arrange the LEDs in such a way that LEDs from one length are placed exactly at the center of LEDs at other length.
  • Tie the thread at the fold and pull it from other end.
  • Pull slowly. The LEDs may get struck at the opening. Gently push it inside the tubing
  • Once the folded portion of the wire reaches other end of tube, untie the thread.
  • Secure the wire at the end to prevent from slipping in.

Step 7: Secure the Other End

  • Now there are four LEDs hanging outside the tube at the bottom end
  • Hold them together around the tube and secure with transparent adhesive tap.

The Wizard's wand is ready. Please see the finished wand in the last picture

Step 8: Light Up the Wand

Plug in the serial lighting to the power supply, light up the wand and enjoy the show.

Please go back to the introductory part of this instructable and watch the video once again....

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    4 Discussions


    3 years ago

    "If a fluorescent lamp is broken, a very small amount of mercury can
    contaminate the surrounding environment". About all of the mercury is
    typically contained in the phosphor, especially on lamps that are near
    the end of their life. However the broken glass is usually considered a greater hazard than the small amount of spilled mercury.

    "The EPA recommends airing out the location of a fluorescent tube break
    and using wet paper towels to help pick up the broken glass and fine
    particles. Any glass and used towels should be disposed of in a sealed
    plastic bag. Vacuum cleaners can cause the particles to become airborne,
    and should not be used."

    Basically you do not want to inhale mercuric compounds like smoke from forest fires.

    But ingestion of fish is a much more concentrated form of mercury.

    Third world dentists are still using amalgam dental fillings.

    As usual children and pregnant mothers are most at risk for neurological damage.

    Just putting some tape on the ends of your wand will lock the phosphor in the tube until it is broken.

    Put the rope and anything that came from / through the tube in a plastic bag to limit spreading contaminants about your home.


    3 years ago

    Danger warning!!!
    These tubes contain toxic chemicals that are extremely bad for your health. If you cut yourself and the chemicals get into your blood stream you can say goodbye to this life!


    3 years ago

    I like the way it looks but concerned that anyone using it as a wand might break the fragile glass. Good explaination of how to build.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Great item but I would never do this unless I wanted to get really sick. These Tubes are full of Mercury.