Illuminated Snowflake Ornament Tutorial

DIY Illuminated Snowflake Ornament Tutorial

I'm unusually enthusiastic about this holiday season. I've already started making gifts and holiday decorations. I made a few handmade LED snowflake ornaments that I would like to share with the community. They are super-easy to make and only take about 15-20 minutes each (depends on how long you experiment with the beading). This is the first project that I've really "beaded" but I can imagine such beautiful forms from crafters/makers with actual beading experience.

DIY Illuminated Snowflake Ornament Tutoria

The tutorial does require soldering. Enjoy the tutorial below. If this project inspires you make your own LED ornaments, please share it with us! I'd love to see them!

— 3" Head Pins {6} Any conductive wire can be used—brass, nickel and copper jewelry wire works great.
— Beads (with a large center-hole to fit head pin AND wire wrap wire)
— Crimp Beads {6} *optional
— 3 or 5mm LED
— Wire Wrap Wire {12"} You can substitute wire wrap for any other thin insulated wire
— Metallic Magnetic Jewelry Clasp
— 3V Coin Cell Battery
— Solder

— Needle-nose pliers
— Wire cutter and stripper
— Soldering Iron
— Glue Gun

Step One:

LED Snowflake Ornament

String the beads on the head pin, leaving at least 1/4" of the pin free on opposite end. If you have crimp beads handy, add a crimp bead at each end to prevent the beads from moving. Repeat four times, creating a total of 5 beaded pins.

Step Two:

LED Snowflake Ornament

Cut the wire into one 8" and 4" piece. Strip 1" of wire off both ends.

For the 6th pin, string the beads along the 8" wire AND pin. (If the center hole of a bead is too small to fit both the wire and pin, string the bead on the pin only.)

Step Three:

LED Snowflake Ornament

Using wire cutters, trim the LED leads to about 1/2".

Step Four:

LED Snowflake Ornament

Insert the LED in between two beaded pins, one with the wire and one without the wire.

If the LED lead fits, secure the lead inside the last bead of each pin, making sure the LED lead and pin overlap.

Solder the LED lead to the beaded pin with the wire, making sure that you do NOT solder the wire accidentally. You will be soldering the wire to the opposite pin.

Wrap the stripped end of the wire around the LED lead and pin (without wire). Solder, creating a nice solder joint.

Step Five:

LED Snowflake Ornament

Using a hot glue gun, glue the remaining four beaded pins symmetrically to the center of the LED.

Step Six:

LED Snowflake Ornament

Wrap one stripped end of the 4" wire around the loop of a magnetic clasp. Wrap the opposite end around the loop of the pin. Solder.

Step Seven:

LED Snowflake Ornament

Wrap the stripped end of the 8" wire around the loop of the remaining magnetic clasp. Solder.

Step Eight:

LED Snowflake Ornament

Congratulations! Your ornament is complete! Place the battery in between the two magnetic clasps and check to see if your LED light is on. If the LED does not turn on, flip the battery!

Note: To turn the ornament off, simply flip the battery.

If you are planning on making more than one LED ornament, it is more efficient to create an "power ribbon" using traces of conductive thread connected to a rechargeable battery. Later this week, I will upload a diagram of the "power ribbon".

Download LED Ornament Tutorial

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Tags: Craft and Technology, DIY and Hacking


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Comment by Syuzi on December 17, 2009 at 9:18am
I used Electronic prototyping wire wrap but any thin (30 AWG) wire will do. The reason I used a thin wire was so that it would fit through the through-holes of the the beads along with the pin. If you use beads with larger through-holes the thickness of the wire will be a little less of a problem.

The important thing is to make sure that the wire is coated so it won't short the circuit.
Comment by Katie Bechtold on December 16, 2009 at 5:48pm
I've never been known for my common sense, so I have to ask: by "Wire Wrap Wire", do you mean electronic-prototyping-type wire wrap wire like this or jewelry-type wire wrap wire like this?
Comment by Viveca Duazo on December 4, 2009 at 9:12pm
What a creative use of magnetic clasps and coin batteries. I can't wait to get my hands on conductive thread now.
Comment by Vanessa Carpenter on December 3, 2009 at 1:21am
Beautiful project, I've been looking for a project I can do while I wait for my conductive thread to arrive! Thank you!
Comment by Angela Sheehan on December 2, 2009 at 7:26pm
What a lovely, creative solution with the magnetic clasps as a battery holder it's very clean looking and beautiful.

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