Vodka Bottle Lamp (Using LEDs)

Introduction: Vodka Bottle Lamp (Using LEDs)

This is a cool little LED lamp that is surprisingly bright and looks cool in any room. The frosted glass of the vodka bottle makes the glowing effect all the more smooth. This is quite a tricky make and will take a lot of patience. 

What you will need:
- Vodka bottle ( Mine is Russian Standard Vodka because of the frosted glass but also because it is very tasty :D )
- AC/DC adapter (I bought a 9V one from eBay for £3.50)
- A Switch unit (pretty easy to find in hardware shops)
- 6 LEDs (4 Ultra white and 2 ultra blue... The smaller the better)
- 3 resistors (150 Ohm but it depends on the voltage drop of your LEDs... I will explain later)
- Small piece of protoboard

Tools needed
- Small hand held rotary multi-tool
- small diamond burr attachment (normally used for engraving glass but will work for drilling a small hole)
- Soldering iron (and solder)
- Wire strippers/cutters
- Glue (a strong glue the can stick things to glass)
A chopstick with some blue-tack on the end (optional but useful)

Step 1: Drill the Bottle

First we will drill a hole in the vodka bottle. The frosted glass makes drilling a little safer and easier but still be aware that this is glass and can break if not treated with respect. It is a good idea to wear safety goggles when going this as the last thing you want is a small piece of glass to fly into your eye! I also put the bottle on a sheet of card in case it broke and I could just pick the lot up and dispose of it without leaving glass everywhere.

As you can see, I'm using oil to aid the drilling. This is optional It gives a nicer finish and helps the glass cut a little safer but makes the process a little slower. To drill the hole you must be patient and not put too much pressure onto the glass. It is a good idea to start with a tool that has a pointed end to progress through the glass and then move on to the wider tools to widen the hole. It took me about 45 minutes to drill all the way through and make the hole nice and neat. Diamond burr tools are used for engraving but can work well for home glass drilling. Silicon carbide tools work too but nowhere near as well as diamond burrs. 

Step 2: Making the Circuit

The most important thing about this circuit is that it has to be small enough to fit into the bottle. Start by cutting a piece of protoboard thin enough to fit in the neck of the bottle and short enough to be hidden behind the label on the bottle.

Plan where you will put all your components and make use of the metal strips on the underside of the protoboard. Remember to leave a hole free for a common positive and common negative connection. When I say "common connection" it means that when the power wire is connected to the board it will send power to the whole row so anything connected to that row will have a common power source. So make sure your resistors all start on the same row and make sure your second LEDs all end on the same row.

If you have decided to use a different number of LEDs or your LEDs have a voltage drop different to 3.2V and 2mA you will need to use a different ohm resistor.
To work out what resistor you will need use Ohms Law:


So, to use my circuit as an example:  I have 2 LEDs in each part of the circuit. There is no voltage drop in parallel circuits so each section still gets 9V. Each LED has a voltage drop of 3.2V and current usage of 2mA (or 0.02 Amps). So we need to find the total voltage drop and then find how much more the supply is giving us then divide that amount by the current usage to find what resistors we need:

R= (9V - (3.2V+3.2V)) / 0.02A = 130 Ohms

I didn't have 130 Ohm resistors so I used 150 Ohm resistors. It is ok to have the resistor a little high but it is not ok to have it a little low or your will burn out your LEDs.
LEDs are polar! this means they only let current flow one way and so must be put in the correct way round. You will notice one side of the LED is flat. This is the negative pole and wants to be facing towards the negative side of the supply, in other words, away from the resistors. 

The switch will be added on the power adapter wire so there is no need to worry about including it on your protoboard. Once you have all you components in the right place you can solder them in. Don't forget, the idea is to keep this circuit as small as possible.  

Step 3: Insert the Circuit

The next step is to get the circuit into the bottle. Before we do this, however, it would be a good idea to test the mini circuit. This can be done with some scrap wire and a 9V battery. Now you know your circuit works you can move on to getting it in the bottle.

First of all you must cut the end off the 9V adapter and expose the the wire inside. There should be a red and a black wire inside the adapter wire. The red is the positive and the black is the negative. If your wires are different colours, you can test which one is the positive and the negative using a multi-meter or make a little conductivity test circuit using a resistor and a LED. LEDs only let power flow one way so if it lights up the wire closest to the resistor is the positive.

Once you have exposed the wires and you know which is the positive and which is the negative you can insert them through the hole drilled in the vodka bottle and pull the wires out through the top opening.

Next, simply solder the wires in their correct locations on your protoboard circuit.
Now comes the tricky bit. You must get it into the bottle and stick it to the inside wall of the bottle so that it is hidden behind the label.

To do this I used a chopstick with some blue-tack on the end to move the circuit when its in the bottle. Start by applying a healthy blob of glue to the underside of your circuit. Then, with sticky-chopstick in hand, push all the wires and circuit into the bottle. Use the chopstick to manipulate the circuit into position. It helped me to turn the bottle on its side so I could push the circuit down onto the target location. Apply a little pressure until it will stay in place on it's own. This took way too long for me so I used some small weights to hold the chopstick in place for me. Leave for at least 24 hours before moving the bottle or chopstick. 

Step 4: Adding the Switch

Now the glue is dry we can safely move the bottle about and add the switch.
This is a simple procedure. Start by selecting where in the adapter wire you want the switch and cut the wire at that point. Expose the inner wire on both ends so you end up with four exposed wires. 

Open up your switch unit using a screwdriver. you should see four holes with little screws on top for clamping wires into. Clamp your wires into the holes and tighten the screws so that the wires do not move. It does not matter which way the wires go so land as the opposite wire has the same polarity or symbol. In other words, make sure the red wire is opposite the other red wire and the black is opposite the other black wire.

Once the wires are clamped in place you can put the switch unit back together. Plug in your new lamp and turn it on!

1 Person Made This Project!


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4 years ago

I like this mate, great idea and well done... John :)