So today we’ll create a cute portal-themed mood lamp to help add texture to your living space (and create your 2007-era nerd title). This is a great starting point with few components and very little wiring.
Step 1: What You Need
- 1 x Arduino and USB cable
- 1 x RGB LED
- 4 x 330 ohm resistors
- 1 x small breadboard
- 4 long jumpers, preferably in different colors
- 1 x square glass jar or bottle
- Solid glue
- Gray and red modeling clay
- 1 x white candle
Electronic components (with the exception of the Arduino itself) can be bought as a package with a number of other good odds for about $20.00 on Amazon and will serve you well for various Arduino projects.
The glass bottle was purchased at Walmart for $5.00 with two scented candles, so you can probably beat Amazon’s price if you want to shop around. Similarly, many of these items may just be lying around your house (or a suitable replacement) — so be creative. Part of the fun of DIY is finding ways to effectively use the things around you to create something more interesting.
Step 2: Freeze the Cube
Remove the wick and metal tongue from a plain white candle and melt it all or part of it in a ceramic mug in the microwave for one to three minutes until a clear liquid forms. Wear work gloves or mittens and be careful Wax burns are disgusting. Pour the wax into a jar or bottle and stir gently until the wax begins to cool. Tilt the bottle until a layer of hard wax appears on each surface. This gives the glass a white texture on the outside, as well as a cool, uneven marbled texture that gives the lighting a pleasing aesthetic quality. Since we’re using an LED, the heat shouldn’t be at risk of melting the wax. If the wax is too dirty for you, white paint can be substituted for this purpose.
Step 3: Decorating the Cube
Now use gray and red plasticine clay to create structures on the surface of the cube: all corners should be covered, as well as the middle third of the edges between them and a circle in the center of each face, which should have red or pink hearts on them. Those of you who know how to sculpt will surely come up with something that looks much cleaner than my final product. Because clay doesn’t set, you can keep fiddling with it until you’re happy with your end result.
Step 4: Protecting the Jewelry
In order to harden clay decorations, I don’t recommend baking them: the glass can explode from the heat stresses in the oven, or worse, create internal stresses that cause it to break badly and hit someone more later. Instead, use a brush to apply several coats of clear glue to the surface of the clay, which will give it a relatively hard shell and prevent the clay from disturbing or chafing other objects.