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I posted these in the Lab Rats thread and had a few requests for a tutorial, so here we go!

Lit in light/dark:

These were made for probably less than $2 a piece, but I had quite a bit of this stuff lying around. I'm sure there would be a lot of ways to tackle the basic premise and make it your own, but here's the route I went. Mine got a bit overly complicated from trial and error trying to get them right, but hey that's part of the fun.

Materials and where I got them (per coil, though some can be used for multiple):

1 - tea light (dollar tree)
1 - test tube (got a pack at a thrift store)
1 - 1/2" threaded pvc cap (home depot)
1 - puzzle/game party ring (Diddams party store)
1 - threaded metal rod (Home depot)
1 - nut that fits on the above rod (home depot)
1 - gold floral wire (dollar tree)
4 - "screw" style brads (Michaels)
Black spray paint
Metallic silver spray paint
Silver craft paint
Brown craft paint
Super glue

Hot glue gun
Bolt cutter
Wire cutters


1 - Remove the rubber "flame" element from the tea light and then attach the 4 brads that look like screws. I did this by carefully drilling holes where I wanted them, dabbing a bit of hot glue over the holes and then inserting the brads. You could just put in actual screws, but I was worried about disturbing the inner working of the tea light.

Wood Games Hardwood Recreation Indoor games and sports

2 - For the pvc cap I drilled a hole in the bottom big enough for the tea light bulb to fit through. I wanted to make sure as much light was able to get up into the actual tube as possible, so I dremeled out the interior of the cap to make it a bigger space inside and then spray painted the interior silver to make it as reflective as possible.

(just a WIP photo)
Wood Metal

3 - To support the actual coil and the test tube I took one of these prize rings from a party store, busted out the back and then smoothed out the edges a bit with the dremel.


4 - For the coil I cut the threaded metal rod to the size I wanted with bolt cutters, put the nut onto the bottom (with a bit of super glue for added security) and then twisted the floral wire around it and trimmed with wire cutters.

Sensor Technology Thermocouple Cable Electronics

5 - To start putting it all together I spray painted all the base pieces black (be sure not to spray the silver interior of the cap or the clear part of the ring) and then glued together with hot glue. From there I touched up with black, then dry brushed silver, then lightly dry brushed brown.

Auto part Wheel Tableware

6 - Hot glue the nut side of the coil to the clear, former-ring part of the base, then super glue the test tube over it. Ta-da! You've got a flickering coil for your lab.

Room Table Furniture Wood Interior design
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