A while back I went to the dollar store and picked up a few things to try to use for some cheap hacks. It took me a while to figure out which bits I was going to use. In the spirit of the holidays, I came up with this ornament which cost a total of $3 in materials!
I wanted to make a simple project so I used a battery powered strand of LEDs, a 2 back of button cell batteries, and a toy ball.
The ball originally had a piece in it that flashed red and blue lights. However, it required being struck and I didn't want to have to smack my ornament every time Iw anted it to light up so I decided to find another solution.
Using an Xacto knife, I partially cut open the top of the ball, large enough to remove the original light element.
For my new light source, I took a strand of 10 LED lights with a battery pack and switch. I was able to remove the wires, with metal pads and the switch still attached, from the plastic battery pack. I was really excited that the I was able to keep the switch, since I don't like wasting batteries. Having a switch is really nice.
Each end of the wire had a nice flat metal pad so I was able to stick two button cell batteries between them and tape them together to make a more compact power source. I had to be careful as the wire ends were a bit delicate and broke off from their contacts easily. Adding more tape helped make the ends more secure and also helped prevent any shorts.
Next I took my ball and used tape to mark 10 spikes around the ball to try to get good spacing. I cut off all 10 marked spikes leaving a small hole in its place for the LED to pop through.
My small fingers came in handy getting the LEDs through each hole and my now compact battery pack fit into the top perfectly. I twisted the wires to use as a mounting hook and originally had them coming out the main hole, but it looked kinda ugly, so I cut a small hole in the middle of the top and thread the wires through.
The switch sticks out the top just slightly making it easy to turn the lights on and off. I haven't glued it shut yet, because I can't decide if I want to make the switch more recessed or not. All and all, I'm pretty please with my cheap, quick little project. Next step would be to swap out the battery pack switch for a vibration switch out of wire so it would maybe flicker when someone walks through the room or something like that. Maybe I can figure out a low-tech way to make it twinkle.
What fun ornaments can you create from dollar store finds?