Brilliant color display, brilliant gift
Required: LED Origami Flower Kit
Difficulty level: Beginner
Time Required: 1 hour
Designer: Ryan Winters - Jameco Product Manager
Flower Kit Includes: Very few components are required for this project. The kit includes a battery pack, AA batteries, baby-sized breadboard, hook-up wire, RGB LEDs, and a pencil for stem making.
What You Need• Paper
• Tape; electrical tape is preferred.
• Soldering equipment just to solder the LEDs to the ends of the hook-up wire.
• Patience is also helpful when it comes to folding paper.
Click here to buy this kit
Helpful TipsWe have gotten some feedback from customers who have had issues with failing LEDs. The issue is likely due to the LED being heated for too long with the soldering iron. LEDs are not usually so sensitive, but because there is additional internal circuitry to make the LED flash and change colors on its own, it appears to be much more sensitive to heat. Here are some suggestions to avoid damaging the LED.
• Strip about 1" of insulation from the hookup wire. Use a heat sink clip across the leads of the LED and part of the hookup wire. You will want to solder the hookup wire as close to the insulation as possible so that the extra inch can take some of the heat away. You can clip the excess when soldering is complete.
• Rather than soldering close to the LED itself, solder the hookup wire at the ends of the LED leads. Arrange the hookup wire so the stripped end of the wire is meeting the end of the lead on the LED. Use a heat clip, or self-closing tweezers to hold the wire in place and to help draw the heat away.
When the soldering is done, you may wrap one of the leads in electrical tape or heat shrink tubing to isolate one lead from the other.
Run the hookup wire up the length of the leads and when it reaches the base of the LED, and then use the pencil to coil the wire back down.
What You Do1) Battery Base
The paper flower will be a bit top heavy, so the battery holder serves as a weighted base as well as a place to mount the breadboard. Add the batteries and close the box. Lay the battery box flat with the switch facing up. The wires on the battery holder should already have the ends stripped and tinned. Insert the black wire into a hole closest to the middle divide of the breadboard. Insert the red wire into a hole about two to three rows over. Each wire from the battery should have its own dedicated row on the breadboard. Secure the wires to the breadboard using tape, and secure the breadboard to the battery box with some more tape.
2) Wire Stems
A coiled stem adds a bit of whimsy to the project. The shorter the stem, the more supportive it will be for the heavy flower on top. To make an approximate 5" stem, cut two equal lengths of solid hook-up wire; about 2 feet. It is a good idea to strip the ends of each wire before coiling because it will be more difficult once the wires are coiled. Holding both wires close together, start wrapping the wire tightly around the pencil. You can always stretch the coil to pose the stem.
3) LED Bulb
Solder an LED to the end of the wire. It is probably easiest to leave the wire on the pencil as a way to keep everything in place while you solder. Using an over-under method, weave the leads of the LED into the wire to hold it in place. There should be enough tension to keep the stripped end of the wire touching the lead at the base of the LED so you can solder the connection.
4) Plant It
With the battery box turned on, briefly touch one of each wire leads to the positive and negative rows created on the breadboard. If it doesn't light up, then reverse the wires and test again. Repeat for the other stems and bulbs.
This is the challenging part, but there are a variety of instructions for origami flowers all over the internet. You may find this website helpful:
The flowers used in the photo are the Tulip, the Lily, and the Kusudama Flower. The Kusudama flower is the most technical
of the flowers to make. When the flowers are done, cut an "X" centered at the base of the flower so you can mount it on the LED.
You may also make a straight cut across the bottom of the flower to open the tubular center. Start with small cuts because you want the flower to sit snuggly at the end of the step.
Additional Design Tips• If you use glue on the flowers, let the glue dry completely before making cuts on it.
• For bigger and heavier flowers, use shorter stems.
• You may use another piece of hookup wire to wrap around the stems to help keep them upright. You can also leave a piece of pencil inside the stem coil to keep it rigid at the base.
See the light show here.
Ryan Winters is a Product Manager at Jameco Electronics. His hobbies include working on cars and computers, fiddling with electronic gadgets, and learning robotics.