Making dolls house ceiling lights.

The barrel jack plugged into a socket and the LED assembly tested with a battery.

This is a stand alone entry into the process of making the house for Daisy.
I wanted to make ceiling lights that could be removed and changed easily and so they needed to be some sort of plug in arrangement that works with the house as it is.

Lets start with the lampshades. After a lot of looking around I settled on a variety of drinks bottles that have a covered drinking nipple, I bought these as I wanted the coloured caps, but found others in the recycling bins.

Two bottles of Volvic flavoured water with drinking nipple screw caps. One has a translucent red cap and the other has a translucent yellow cap.
These bottle caps will be useful!

First removed the screw top. Then cut away the translucent cap, and also removed the retaining ring from the nipple. Using the groove the retaining ring was in carefully cut the nipple away from the screw cap.

the drinking nipple screw cap removed from a drinks bottle, with a blue translucent nipple cap.
The drinks bottle cap.

Cut or drill a hole in the translucent cap. I started with 5mm so I could test the idea with an LED.

An LED poked through a hole drilled into a translucent blue nibble cap cut from a drinks bottle.
That works as a ‘blue glass’ lamp shade.

The hole in the nipple is larger but usable. (This is a nipple from a different bottle.)

The translucent white nipple cut from a drinks bottle with an LED poked through the hole and powered by a button cell.
Well, that works as a lamp shade.

For the light itself I started with a 5mm LED. It is worth using fine abrasive paper, or Scotchbrite to dull the surface of the LED at this stage so that the light is defuse and not a spot on the house floor.

A clear white 5mm through hole LED
Take one LED.

Bend the legs out. I used jewellers round needle nose pliers to hold the base of the leg so the bend doesn’t stress the LED chip.

An LED with the wire legs bent outwards close to the base of the LED chip.
Bend out the legs.

I then bent the legs back on themselves so that there would be a springy flexible length of leg for the mounting.

An LED, held in the hanging hole of a blade handle, showing the wire legs bent back on themselves close to the LED base.
Bend each leg back in a U so together they form an S shape.

I am using barrel jacks for the ceiling connection.

A barrel jack plug with the cover removed showing the solder terminals.
Take one barrel jack.

Cut off the solder terminals from the barrel jack, some insulation might need trimming off from the outer/ring/negative terminal.

The barrel jack with the solder terminals cut short to 3mm long stumps.
Cut off most of the solder terminals.

The LED was then placed on to the barrel jack. With some practice in how the terminals are bent about it can spring into place quite well. Do check the polarity of the LED is correct, I am keeping consistent with the centre pin being positive.

The LED placed over the terminal end of the barrel jack, the bent legs lying across the inside edges of the solder terminals.
Spring fit the LED legs between the cut off solder terminals. Check polarity!

The LED can then be soldered in place and the legs trimmed off.

The LED soldered to the end of the barrel jack and the excess legs cut off.
LED soldered to the barrel jack.

To fit the barrel jack to the bottle cap I found that a 7mm hole drilled in to the cap and then tapped a thread. No idea what thread the barrel jack has but half way up an M8 x 1.25 taper tap was close enough to work.

The LED inserted into a translucent blue drinks bottle nipple cap.
Poke the LED through a hole in the bottle cap and screw the barrel jack in.

I used a button cell and a barrel jack socket to test.

The barrel jack plugged into a socket and the LED assembly tested with a battery.
And there you have a little lamp and shade!

Here is the range of ceiling lights I am o=going to use as a starting point.
From L-R top row: Bathroom, Landing, Bedroom.
From L-R bottom row: Kitchen, stairs, two living room lights.
With this set up I am able to unscrew the lampshades to change them and also unplug the LED and swap for pendants, chandeliers, or whatever else Daisy decides on in the future.

Seven bottle cap lampshades with barrel jack blugs and LEDs installed. Two are blue translucent, one is white translucent, two are plain white in different shapes, one is orange, and one is a crinkly shaped clear cap.
A good range of lampshades.

Bathroom light installed.

A broad white drinks bottle nipple installed as a bathroom ceiling light.
The bathroom light.

Landing light installed.

A white 'bell' shaped drinks bottle nipple installed as an upstairs landing ceiling light.
The upstairs landing light.

Bedroom light installed.

The crinkly bottle cap installed as the bedroom ceiling light.
A bedroom light.

To install the lights in the ceiling I drilled a 7mm hole and tapped it to M8 x 1.25 and screwed in the barrel jack line socket. I could use a chassis socket but the hole would need to be bigger and reduce options in the future, and the chassis sockets I have in stock are asymmetric!

I will do the socket installation and wiring as a part of the house build blog entries.

2 thoughts on “Making dolls house ceiling lights.”

Comments are closed.