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How To Make An LED Candelabra


This candelabra is a great project combining 21st century crafts with art to produce a stunning, ivy covered tree structure, which is bound to get people talking. It is surprisingly easy to make, but you do need to do some electrical work and may have to do some soldering. The Funky LED candelabra would make a great technology project for school.

All you need to make the candelabra is...

8 wire coat hangers, a circular cake board, 10 LED Lights, card, silver spray paint, and electrical chocolate bock, cable ties, clear baubles, No Nails glue, bendable craft wire, electrical wire, soldering iron and solder (But not in all cases)

Cut and straighten out the coat hangers and re-model them to form 'C' shapes. Use two cable ties to hold the coat hangers together, forming a trunk.

Manipulate the branches to form appealing shapes. The LED lights will be at the tip of each branch, bear this in mind when you are shaping the tree and try to spread the lights evenly about so that the structure looks attractive from every angle.

At the base of the structure, the wire 'legs' are splayed out like the spokes of an umbrella. Make a small 90-degree turn at the end of each 'leg' to create a 'foot' (pointing down)

Each of the 'feet' needs inserting into a hole in the edge of the cake board. Use a hammer and a nail to make holes in the cake board. Tape the nail in a way and wriggle the nail about a bit before pulling it out, to enlarge the hole.

Fill the hole with no nails glue and push a foot into it. Hold it in place with selotape until the glue dries. Insert all of the wire feet into he cake board in this way.

Leave until the glue is completely dry and then remove all the pieces of selotape.

Using craft wire, make interesting twisty bits to decorate the candelabra’s branches. To make 'springs', wrap a length of wire around a pencil. To fix the wire in place, anchor it down by wrapping the end of the wire around the coat hangers forming the trunk. The wrapping around the trunk adds to the support of the structure when the cable ties are taken away.

Option 1 - There are a couple of options with the lights themselves. The '99p Store' sell 20 mini battery operated LED lights. You could use these lights as they are and have lights along the branches wherever the bulbs happen to be.

Option 2 - You could use these electrical parts from the 99p store lights to keep the costs down. This would also mean that you wouldn't need to solder, you could just twist wires together and wrap in insulation tape.

Option 3 - You could buy LED lights, resistor and a battery compartment separately, and solder the components together.

For the latter two options, you will need to apply 2 electrical wires for each bulb to the candelabra. The battery compartment will be hidden under the trunk of the tree. Leave 5cm surplus wire here for connecting to the battery compartment later. Twist the wire up and around the trunk and along the branches keeping your wires in pairs. This wire should create the effect of ivy growing up the structure. Again leave 5cm of wire at the end of the branch for connecting the LED light.

8 of the LED lights will be situated at the ends of each ranch and the remaining two should be nestled from where the branches sprout.

Attach an LED bulb to each of the pairs of wires. You can solder the connections or twist them together if you have dismantled LED lights from the '99p Store'. If you twist the wires together you will need to wrap the join in insulation tape.

Use a small amount of tape to stick each bulb into place o the wire structure.

Mask each bulb with newspaper and selotape and spray paint the structure with silver spray paint. Also spray the out side of the battery compartment. Use the spray paint in accordance with the instructions on the back of the tin. You may need to give your tree 2 coats of paint for a really good Finnish. Leave until completely dry and remove masking from the bulbs.

Pull the plastic hanging devices off each bauble, leaving a hole or a tunnel going into the baubles. Use a small amount of clear drying glue to stick each LED light inside the hole of the baubles.

To wire up the 10 LED lights to the battery compartment you need to put new working batteries into the battery compartment. LED lights will only wire up one way so you need to find out which wires go where from the pairs of wires at the base of the tree.

Strip a small portion of its plastic covering, from the two wires on the battery compartment, as if you were getting ready to join the wires. Mark one of the wires with a small piece of electrical tape.

Go through each pair of wires at the bottom of the candelabra in turn; stripping away and amount of plastic sheath and holding the bare wires against the two wires connected to the battery compartment. If a bulb doesn't come on, swap the wires over.

When the bulb comes on, mark the wire that joins to the wire marked with electrical tape. Eventually you will end up with 10 marked pieces of wire and 10 unmarked pieces of wire.

Take the marked ends of wire and twist them together in groups of 3 or 4 ends, and push the 3 groups into the first 3 spaces of an electrical chocolate block. Screw them in. Do a similar thing with the unmarked wires, pushing them into spaces 4,5 and 6 on the chocolate block on the same side as the marked wires. Screw them all in firmly.

Next cut two 4 cm pieces of wire, and strip both ends. Twist one end together with the marked wire from the battery compartment, and twist the other one to join the end of the first one. This gives you 3 twists of wire from the marked wire from the battery compartment. Push these three twists of wire into the chocolate block to join the marked wires from the structure, in spaces 1, 2 and 3. Repeat this procedure for the unmarked wires, pushing the twists into spaces 4, 5 and 6 to join the other unmarked wires. All the lights should now work.

Use glue to stick the battery compartment and the chocolate block to the cake board, directly under the trunk of the structure.

Cut out assorted sizes of ivy leaves from thin card. You will need 20 or 30 leaves in all. Use a needle to make a hole in each leaf where the stalk would be. Spray paint both sides of the ivy leaves silver and leave to dry.

Attack the leaves to the structure by threading the leaves individually on a short piece of craft wire, then bend the wire around the network of wires on the tree and twist the craft wire ends together to secure the leaf. Use the largest leaves at the bottom, gradually getting smaller further up the candelabra. Also, make sure that the bottom most leaves hide the battery compartment and chocolate block.

There you have made a stunning candelabra, which is bound to be a talking point wherever you place it.

Submitted by:

S. Roberts

S. Roberts write for http://www.santaspostbag.co.uk a free educational resource packed with creative things to do and make including traditional, religious & 21-century activities. Visit http://www.santaspostbag.co.uk/LED-christmas-light-Candelabra-homemade-decoration.html for candelabra photos. SantasPostbag is in association with www.bigboystoyz.com Keeping Christmas magical.





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