The Lamp Design Epiphany

It seemed like one of the hardest things about the final project for class would be to decide what to make. Making is such a wide open world, and there were so many things I was interested to learn that I had some trouble narrowing it down. For instance, while I would still like to build a cat tree, I’ve decided that it would be too time-consuming for the purposes of our final project. (In August, on the other hand…)

One night, while poking around online looking at ideas for a much-desired lamp for my bedroom, the perfect design slapped me in the face–something like this:

moon animated GIF

Well, obviously not the actual moon.

But I’d like something that will hang behind my bed, be relatively lightweight (so I can hang it with Command Strips or small nails), and not radiate much heat. So Sunday, it’s supply run time. I’m going to collect: embroidery hoops (2-3 depending on thickness), fabric to cover them (maybe even a cushion cover or something that I can easily change out to suit another decor), and some kind of LED strip or ribbon. Ideally, I’d like to be able to attach the LED’s to the inside of the hoop, and I’d like to get them to run from batteries rather than have to be plugged into the wall, although a socket is nearby. In a perfect world, I’d program the thing with Arduino so it could be controlled by remote, but that might be beyond my scope at the moment. The beauty of this project, and the maker movement in general, however, is that I may continue to come up with ideas for ways to hack my design and make it cooler.

The part of this project that I’m thinking will be the most difficult is making some kind of a switch that isn’t bulky or heavy. I’ve been trying to research LED strips and different ways to power them, and it’s going to be an education in electronics, I think. There are various ways to solder connections, although I’m a little wary. Since I don’t know really anything about electronics, I’m looking forward to gaining some new skills–without shocking myself too much, of course. Anyone who has expertise in this arena, drop me a line–I’d love to talk shop to make sure I don’t electrocute myself or burn down the house with my new lamp. 

Websites that have been huge inspirations for this: Instructables and Ikea Hackers. Lots of fabulous ideas, although nothing quite like what I want to do. Check these out if you haven’t already, they are terrific maker communities.

I’m very excited to start making, even though the prospect of frustration looms on the horizon.






2 thoughts on “The Lamp Design Epiphany

  1. I’m also working with LEDs, and I had the same concern about getting electrocuted! I called up my brother, the electrical engineer, and we should be fine as long as we stay under 50 volts. Apparently he knows a girl who can tell the voltage of a small battery by tasting it– how she found out she has this talent is the big question, but clearly we’ll be fine when we’re just using our fingers!

  2. Congratulations on finding a project! I am excited to see the final product! Hope that supply shopping went well! I will definitely check out the online communities you have mentioned above! Thanks!

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