For these nightlights, you can do a simple version or a fancier version. I’ll give instructions for how to do both.
For the simple version, you’ll need: A gift box, tissue paper, a glue stick, an X-Acto-type tool, and an LED tea light “candle.” I also used Duck Tape and Styrofoam to secure the “candle” sit where I wanted it. If you don’t want to freehand your design, you’ll also need materials to help you make your design. For this design, I used a narrow glass and a tea light (to help me draw circles) and a ruler.
Steps for the abstract flower design shown above: 1) Draw your design on the underside of the box, 2) Cut out your design, on the underside of the box, with a sharp blade (I used an X-Acto knife), 3) apply tissue paper, to the underside of the box, using a glue stick, and 4) secure the LED tea light to the back of the box and turn it on!
1) Draw your design on the underside of the box:
I started with 2 circles for the center of my “flower” design. The center circle is the shape that I will cut out, and the outer circle is a “buffer” of sorts, for when I draw the petals. To help maintain the structural integrity of the box, I knew that I was going to need to keep some cardboard between the petals and the center of the box.
2) Cut out your design, on the underside of the box, with a sharp blade
3) apply tissue paper, to the underside of the box
You can see that I just tore the tissue paper to the approximate size before applying with the glue stick. The key is to make sure that the tissue paper doesn’t go beyond the cardboard borders, into another color’s cut out. Tip: If you realize after gluing the tissue paper down, that the tissue paper is too large, wait until the glue has dried (I know, it’s hard!) before tearing or cutting away the excess tissue paper. Damp tissue paper will tear unpredictably and could mess up your design. Ask me how I know!)
Also, I decided to apply 2 layers of tissue paper, since the LEDs in combination with dim light tend to wash out the colors. (It’s a brain thing. If anyone REALLY wants to know, I can provide a basic explanation.)
4) secure the LED tea light to the back of the box
You can see that I decided to Duck Tape a piece of Styrofoam to the back of the box, then Duck Tape the LED light to the Styrofoam. Since the tea light’s LED is weaker, I wanted it closer to the tissue paper design, for better lighting.
And turn it on!
More Elaborate Version with an On/ Off Switch
For the more elaborate and technological version, you’ll need: A gift box, tissue paper, a glue stick, an X-Acto-type tool, a 10mm LED, an on/off switch, and a battery pack (I used one that took 3 AAA batteries). I also used Duck Tape to secure the circuitry where I wanted it. If you don’t want to freehand your design, you’ll also need materials to help you make your design. For this design, I used a glasses and bowls of various sizes (to help me draw the circles).
Applying the design and tissue paper is pretty much the same process as listed above for the simpler design. The part that varies significantly is setting up the lighting circuit.
The steps for the lighting circuit on this version of the box are: 1) make a place for the light switch, 2) secure all the parts of the circuit in place, and 3) turn it on (and off!)
1) make a place for the light switch
The switch has a washer attached to it in the package. To insert the switch into the box wall, I first stabilized the box wall with Duck Tape, made an “x” shaped cut to allow the back of the switch to pass through the box wall, then I removed the washer before inserting the switch.
2) secure all the parts of the circuit in place
I connected the red battery pack wire to the taller terminal of the back of the switch and the black battery wire to the shorter terminal on the back of the switch. I attached the wires to the terminals by bending, a very simple, but low-tech and non-durable method.
I inserted the positive (longer) LED leg to the join with the red battery pack wire and the negative (shorter) LED leg to the join with the black battery pack wire. I secured the led by bending the leads (gently!) and with Duck Tape. Again, not a durable connection. I also secured the battery pack to the back of the box wall, so it’s weight wouldn’t exert any downward pressure onto the joins. I also pointed LED down, as this position placed the light towards the center of the design.
3) turn it on
And you can turn it off, with the switch!
A couple of notes about this version. You can see that this is a much brighter LED, and even in the dark, the colors are more visible because of this. Here’s a picture of the box with the LED tea light “candle.” You can see the difference. With the tea light, I had to use an additional light source for the picture to even be visible.
As the tissue paper part of this box was my earlier version, I applied some translucent, white tracing paper to the back of the design after the tissue paper had been applied to help with the color visibility. In comparing this to the simpler design above, I think I like the technique of using 2 layers of tissue paper better for showing the colors.
These were lots of fun to make, and either version is very achievable for a novice crafter/ maker. If you have any questions or end up making your own version please let me know!