Ground-Breaking Holiday Tea Light

Starting November 1st, it is officially reasonable to start talking about Christmas! For my innovative switch project I decided to make a self-lighting holiday ornament. I really “broke ground” with this one. When hung on a conductive surface, the ornament lights up.

Here is how I started:





And here is how it turned out:


But then…

I decided that wasn’t a good enough story. So, late last night I had an idea. Why not turn this into a REAL holiday ornament?!? I’ve always loved Charlie Brown’s Christmas Story, and I’ve always wanted a Charlie Brown tree of my own.

After a quick trip to Michael’s, I started fabricating…









And then, it was all done 🙂


Angler by Michael Kenney


This project was a lot of fun but also a lot of work. I started by creating a paper mockup that I turned into a pattern. After cutting and sewing it all together, I rigged it with 4 LED’s; one for the lure, and three for the back.

If I had to do it all over again, I would work a little harder on the prototypes so that I could have a better pattern to work from.

Here are some process photos:

IMG_1893 IMG_1897 IMG_1911 IMG_1917

Bond. James Bond. + RGBLED Trials

I don’t read sheet music. I tried to learn how from a 10 minute video, but it turns out that a 10 minute video doesn’t make you proficient enough to decode your favorite 80’s song. So, I turned to the giants that came before me. I found a sweet James Bond theme sketch and a tone library. The volume for the “song” is controlled by a potentiometer, and I have admit, that fade really made me feel like a DJ 🙂

What I liked about digging into someone else’s tutorial was figuring out the mechanics for building and loading custom libraries to Arduino. What a powerful addition to my skill set!

Here it is in action:

Well, that went swimmingly. Unfortunately, my RGBLED was a dud. I wired up the circuit diagram, tried two different sets of code, and two different LEDs. Alas, no luck. I will be inquiring as to why. Stay tuned.