Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Final day of Camp Mini Ha Ha -- using LED lights

My last day at Camp was Sunday, as I decided to drive home to my man and cats at the end of the evening's events (most people stayed the night and left in the morning).
The overcast view from the main building over the Annapolis Basin of the Bay of Fundy.

Sunday was my wiring day.  I had worked on my light fixtures earlier in the week, but this was the day to wire everything together.

First of all, I tested each fixture, then I made the necessary holes in the structure with a bamboo skewer and started attaching fixtures: there are four lights on this model: coals, reflector sconce, candlestick and outside lantern.
The LED lights we used have built-in resistors and wiring, making them super easy to use
 We had a wiring kit supplied by Grandpa's Dollhouse, the Canadian distributor for the LED light sets made by Evan Designs.  The kit comes with five wired LED lights, already equipped with resistors, a 9 volt Battery Snap with pre-attached switch, two pieces of shrink tube for covering your connections -- Liz and Wayne of Grandpa's Dollhouse also supplied the 9 volt battery.

For the two fixtures that were placed high on the walls I needed to lengthen the wires to reach the base so I could attach them to the wires coming off the battery.  It's easy enough to do, provided you remember a couple of things:

Unlike 12 volt round wiring (the traditional stuff used in dolls houses) where it doesn't matter which wire you connect to which wire, LEDs have positive and negative wires, so one wires black to black and red to red.  You can extend the length of the wires coming from the bulb/resistor with ordinary white round wire, but you don't want to cross wires.  The easiest way to do this is to separate the length of round wire entirely, so you two lengths of single wire.  I connected one length to the red and one to the black coming from the LED and resistor, and then marked the one coming from the black wire with a bit of black paint at the end.

Ugly gouges on the side wall where I hid the wiring extension needed for my wall sconce.
You can make your connection a number of ways: after twisting the wires together, you can either solder them, shrink tube them or cover them (keeping the wires separate) in electrical tape. The latter is ugly, as you can see above, but I didn't have my soldering iron with me and I was running out of shrink tube!

All the wire gathering on the bottom of the model.  On the right, under the manky masking tape, is the 9 volt battery.
I hollowed out a place for the 9 volt battery on the bottom of the foam base.  With all the wires coming from the fixtures, I then simply connected all the black wires, covering the connection with a shrink tube and did the same for the red wires.  (Remember to slip that shrink tube onto the main wire first!)

Then, it was time to flick the switch!

That's my favourite moment of all in mini making -- the moment when the lights go on!

Having finished my model as far as it was going to go, I took a moment and snapped some shots of the other projects near me:

The interior of Mary-Anne's Tuscan wine and tea shop, where there has apparently been some kind of rumpus!

The exterior of Gnorbert the Gnome's home by Myra -- best front door ever!
And Gnorbert's cosy room inside.  Love that window!

Trina's beautiful Garden Shop, which manages to combine elegance and whimsy.  Look at the bird feeders on the fence!
And the inside of the shop, in progress :)

Thank you to all the wonderful campers I met and to the great people who organized this event.  I think I'm a lifer now, and I know I'm an Idjit and I intend to return every year!  I returned home with renewed mini-ing zest, and can't wait to get started on the WAMH again.


  1. Thank you for sharing. It's so simple to make your own lightening.
    Greetings Dorien

  2. I agree, Dorien -- it's quite easy, isn't it, and so satisfying!


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