Ikea Lantern LED Lamp – One Day Project

I've been working on a bunch of projects, but I haven't been doing a good job of updating the site. To correct this, I am posting my simplest recent project. More projects to come in the next few weeks!

I recently hung up some lanterns from Ikea, and I noticed that the bottom of each lantern could have some room for some tinkering. Lighting up the candles is great for subtle illumination for watching movies at night, but I wanted a little more light out of the lantern. This inspired me to turn the lantern into a lamp using LEDs.

I used fairly simple materials for this project, mainly:

  • Foam board
  • White LEDs
  • 220 ohm resistors
  • Masking tape
  • White paper
  • 5 V regulator

I started out by cutting a piece of foam board to fit in the bottom of the lantern. I then cut a square out of the foam board:

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I then started inserting LEDs into the foam board. I used a push pin to start each hole, and I then fed the LEDs through:

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I soldered a 220 ohm resistor to the anode of each LED, and then hooked up all of the resistors to a power source in parallel. Here is me testing out all of the LEDs:

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As you could see in the previous photo, I simply used masking tape as an insulator. It works, and it is fairly easy to work with. I then added the voltage regulator to enable the lamp to be powered by a 9V wall wart. I also glued on some pedestals on the corners for the paper to rest on:

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I then wrapped the whole thing in a sheet of white paper to diffuse the LEDs. I super-glued a switch onto the lamp to turn the power on and off. This is what the lamp looks like in the daylight:

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This is what the lamp looks like with the candle lit and the lamp turned on:

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This is what both lamps look like:

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I do not currently have any plans to turn the other lantern into an LED lamp since it is fairly close to my television and has nothing under it to illuminate, but if the asymmetry gets to me, I probably will end up upgrading it as well!

This was a fun, simple project to do. I have been using this lamp for a few weeks now, and  it works great as a night light. It is the perfect level of illumination for watching a movie, providing subtle yet useful light. A main goal of this project was to ensure that it is not obvious that the lantern is a lamp until it is turned on. With the light switch as small and subtle as it is, and the paper diffusion flush with the bottom of the lamp, I think I have accomplished this. This was also a test of LED diffusion for my largest project yet, coming soon...

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