Making an LED Night Light w/ Star Pattern
This LED nightlight features a star pattern and it lights up a dark room in a magical way. I used ipe for the wood, however any dark wood, or painted MDF for example would work well. This is a really fun project and would be great as an accent light in a room, in the middle of a table, or as a night light in the bedroom.
I started with setting up the blade on the table saw to the right angle, and I'm using this angle gauge to mesaure it correctly. Now a circle has 360 degrees, and I'm using 6 pieces, so divided by 6, we have 60. However to find the one side of the 60 degree angle, we divide in two, and it comes to 30. So here I'm cutting this thin piece of ipe I had left over from a different project, and giving it a 30 degree angle on both sides. Then I cut it in six pieces on the miter saw.
So I got in the shop, and figured I should test it out, so using some masking tape here, and that worked perfectly.
Next up I'm marking each side with some cha lk, and then I also marked how far in the top and the bottom will sit. Then I started marking out a pattern. So I wanted a starry design, nothing that felt too uniform, so I just played around with a basic clusters here of stars, it's all very scientific you see.
Then I just took off the tape, and improved the design wherever it needed it.
Now off to the drillpress. So I simply used a variety of bits and basically followed the design more or less. I started with the larger bit and then gradually moved down smaller.
So this took a little while to accomplish, the smaller the holes became, the more holes I drilled to fill in all that space, but overall it was quite fun to create the design.
Now for the top and the bottom, I had some thicker ipe, that I'm just gluing together.
And then while that dried, I sanded each of the sides down.
On one of the sides I need material removed to fit a small switch, so just marking it out, sawing down the side, and using a chisel to remove the wood. Next I'm marking out where the holes need to go, and just drilling some small holes. I also drilled a hole in the side for the power plug.
Now time to connect these together again with some tape, and that's because I need to mark out the inside for the top and the bottom. Once I had that marked out I took the piece out to the bandsaw and cut it to size.
I also drilled some holes in the top piece, and then I began gluing everything up. And here I made sure I had the order right of the sides which I marked out earlier, to preserve the pattern. Then clamping it, and I'm just gluing the top piece on, however I did slide in the bottom piece with some wax paper covering it for some support while the pieces glued up.
So I have a square piece of wood which I'll put light strips on, and this block will fit into the bottom, then the starry shade will slip on top of it. So I need to carve out a section in the middle of the bottom so the block can sit inset. So I started with drilling out a hole on the drill press, and then I did some chisel work to remove the corners, and that fits in pretty good.
Next to the carved out area I'm drilling a hole where the wires can go through, and on the underside I'm drilling out a couple holes to make room for the electronics.
Now I have the block of wood, and I'm using common 12 volt LED strips. Basically I'm gluing a few strips down one side, and then overlaying a few more down the other side. And there's my new LED strip bulb!
To solder the lights together, I'm soldering all the positives on one side, and all the negatives on the other, and that's just because it was neater that way.
So on the block of wood I have the light strips with the positives connected on one side and the negatives on the other. That sits in the base, and I have a switch a power plug. The power connects to the positive side and the switch, and the switch connects to the negative side, and that's it.
I connected slightly thinner wires to a power plug, and putting on some heat shrink. Then I secured the wires to the underside with some hot glue. So the wires to the lights go through the wood, I can place the block in the bottom, and then flick the switch. OK, and then the shade goes on top of that. Then I'm securing the switch in place with some tiny screws, and I also have another screw on the side connecting the shade to the bottom.
Now for a finish, I'm starting with some shellac, and I'm simply putting it on with a cloth, and I really like this, because it's a natural finish, and it dries really quickly, so I can sand it lightly, and then put on a second coat. Now to make the shade super smooth, I'm applying some of my raw linseed oil beeswax polish with some steel wool, and then buffing it dry a few minutes later.
To finish the bottom, I cut up some black fabric to size, and then I hot glued it down.
So in total, this setup uses about 6 watts of power. I'm often asked if these lights produce a lot of heat, and after an hour of being used the LED bulb I created can safely be handled. LEDs are very low powered type of lights and as long as they have a lot of air flow I have never had any problem using them.