Here is just one example of the many projects they have.
Lanterns with LED Lights
- The batteries will last several days, so you can light them the morning of the wedding or even the preceding day.
- You can easily set the lanterns up at different heights, and you have flexibility on spacing, since there is no cord to limit where you can put them.
- These are more work than the other options.
- If you want white lighting, you may find that the LEDs look more blue than you want.
- If you are using larger lanterns (more than about 10"), you may find it impossible to get as bright a glow as you want with LEDs.
- Paper lanterns. We used fifty 10" diameter regular ribbing white paper lanterns, from the Paper Lantern Store.
- Superbright diffuse 10 mm LEDs. We got the diffused 10mm LEDs in amber, white, and red from buy-leds-online.com. (See pictures, above.) It is important to use the diffused ones, as the others will give a sort of polka dotted effect. It is also important to use the superbright ones, because the regular ones tend to produce a sort of bluish light. From reviews I have seen elsewhere, it appears that the white superbright ones from buy-leds-online.com are brighter and less blue than other white LEDs available online, even ones described as "superbright." You want the 10 mm ones, as smaller ones are not big enough to be seen. We put six LED lights in each of the 10" lanterns. Other sources have suggested that three to four LEDs are enough for a 14" lantern. However, the ceilings in our venue are quite high, and we wanted to make sure the glow of the lanterns would still be visible.
- CR-2032 lithium coin-sized batteries, one for each LED light. We got the batteries from CheapBatteries.com. On the second order of batteries, I figured out that we could bring CheapBatteries.com's price down by getting it to price match eBay seller Chi Wing LED product shop.
- Strapping tape.
- Monofilament line. We ordered 1,000 yards of 20-lb. test monofilament from Cabellas.
- The batteries come in a sleeve, as shown above. Remove the first battery from the sleeve, tearing the cardboard as little as you can in the process. Do not throw away the sleeve if you want to use the battery more than once, as you will need to put the batteries back in the sleeve after each use.
- Remove an LED from the bag it comes in. Save the bag to put the LEDs back into after use.
- Each LED (shown above) is just a little light with two wires leading out of it.
- The basic concept is that if you put a battery between the two wires of the LED, and touch the longer wire to the positive side of the battery and the shorter wire to the negative, the LED will light up.
- Obviously, you're not going to stand there and hold the battery in place the whole time. You therefore need to cut off a piece of strapping tape, as shown above. The length of the tape will depend on how many lights you are going to use, so you'll need to experiment a bit.
- Wrap one end of the strapping tape around the wires and battery, as tightly as you can, to hold the battery in place. Make sure that the battery is completely covered by the tape, as having the batteries touch each other will shorten their lives.
- To make the lantern bright enough, you typically use several LEDs. (See discussion of appropriate numbers, above.) Take the second battery and light, and put them on top of the first one, then wrap the tape around them.
- Repeat the previous step as many times as is necessary for the number of lights you intend to use, leaving some tape at the end.
- Take a roll of monofilament line like that shown above, and cut off a piece that is approximately three-quarters of the diameter of the paper lantern.
- Tie the ends of the piece of monofilament so that it makes a circle.
- Thread the circle of monofilament between the LED lights, as shown above.
- Move the knot in the monofilament so that it is between the LED lights, and then secure the monofilament in place with tape. You will notice that the lights are pointing away from the circle of monofilament. With the knot on the end with the lights, you have extra protection in case the knot comes apart or the tape is too loose, as either the tape or the knot alone would be enough to hold the lights.
- On the top wire of the lantern, you will find a piece of wire in the shape of a C. Loop the monofilament over the C, so it hangs down. The lights will then be pointing downward, and will be about two-thirds of the way up the lantern. (Because the lights point downward, having them toward the top of the lantern gives the most even light.)
- Fifty 10" paper lanterns $68.93
- 300 G.I. CR-2032 Lithium coin-sized batteries $82.42
- 300 superbright 10 mm diffused LED lights $80.50
- 1000 yards monofilament line $24.94
The cost could, of course, have been reduced significantly if we had used fewer LEDs in each lantern. Most people seem to use three per lantern, which would have cut the cost of the lighting part in half. This is really a matter of personal taste, and how bright you want the lanterns to be.