fade in: you're sitting in the library with your laptop. you look up from your 'spreadsheet' (which is really just a game of minesweeper) and notice something: the only Christmas decorations there are 23 paper wreaths taped to the windows (courtesy of Mrs. Cunningham's kindergarten class two doors down). you are saddened. you wonder if you even like Christmas anymore.
sadly, this happens to many people every year. so, what's a man (or woman) to do? well, I say, you already have a lappy, why not make a USB LED Christmas tree!
UPDATE: I recently changed out the base on this tree with a piece of a log. it makes a much better tree base.
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Step 1: Attain Materials
fake tree limbs
florist's tape (optional)
Step 2: Strip and Cut Usb Cable
well, it's what it sounds like. use wire a wire stripper or scissors to cut and strip the usb cable (keep the end that plugs into your computer, obviously.) then strip the black and red wires inside of it. (if yours is strange and doesn't have black and red, you'll have to lick the wires to find out. go on, it's only 5 volts :))
Step 3: Solder Leds to Resistors
what I did was I took 8 leds and 8 resistors, then took each led's positive lead and soldered a resistor there. by the way, as I'm talking about resistors, a usb cable gives off about 5 volts. you'll know that if you were reading carefully in the previous step.
Step 4: Solder Wires
now, get two long peices of different colored and insulated wire. solder one color to the resistor, and the other to the negative. you'll want to do this to all of them.
Step 5: Create Base
now, take your cardboard. poke a small hole in it. then, cut a peice of clothes hanger and put it in that hole and secure with hot glue. once cool, poke a hole in the bottom of the cup. slide the cup over the piece of wire hanger so that the top hits the cardboard. then hot glue it in place.
Step 6: Wrap the Pole
now, take your leds and wrap the wires around the piece of hanger, so that there's leds sticking out at random intervals. you might want to wrap the negative lead (the one without the resistor) so that it doesn't short.
Step 7: Solder Usb Cable
now, bunch together the negative and positive colors. get your negative colors and solder them to the black wire. take your positive wires and solder them to the red wire. if you don't have red and black wires, they just take and led and put it across the wires. if it lights, then positive and negative are matched up. if it doesn't... well, you catch my drift.
I forgot to take a picture, so I just included the usb one.
Step 8: Add Limbs
now, take your fake tree limbs. wrap them around the pole to kind of make a christmas tree shape. it's okay if it's not perfect, real trees aren't either.
Step 9: Optional Stuff
you'll want to insulate where you soldered the usb cable with tape. also, you might want to wrap the base of the tree in brown florist's tape. you could also paint the cup (just not spray paint, it melts styrofoam.
Step 10: Plug Her In!
great, now you can add christmas cheer anywhere there's a computer!!!
Participated in the
Homemade Holidays: Holiday Decorations