Spiders in glowing jars will welcome kids as they walk up the steps to ring our doorbell this Halloween. The “drama” for this quick project is created by the glowing night lights slipped under each jar. Here’s how I did it …
Disclaimer: Do I really need to remind you that working with mains power can be fatal to your health? Unless you know what you’re doing, don’t try this project at home — and if you do, you do so entirely at your own risk.
- Guide Lights (flat, flourescent night lights that glow green)
- A sturdy telephone patch cord or other thin flex wire
- Luggage labels (the self adhesive type, not heat bonding required)
- Heat shrink tubing
- Spun webbing
- A selection of plastic spiders
- Wire strippers
- Spring clamps
- Soldering iron, solder
- Hair drier
Unwrap the guide lights, gently clamp one in your vice and use the hacksaw to cut through three edges — so you can fold open the light and remove the glow panel. The internal pieces all fall apart — nothing is soldered together.
Having removed the power prongs we’ll be soldering wires directly to the panel to give the light a very low profile — flat enough to slip under our jars. Prep your flex or telephone patch cord. I twisted two pairs of phone wires together to make up the two required poles. Solder them together. Why phone wire? Because it’s has a thin, flat profile. I used short lengths of a good quality patch cable with fairly heavy gauge wires. Beware of cheap stuff that will snap, scuff, wear or cut easily. Light weight mains cables from old audio-visual appliances are preferable if you have them.
Bend back the plastic tabs underneath each power connector — insert a heat sink between the connector and the tab before soldering the wires onto the connectors. Scratch off the little black foam pressure pads that once squeezed the connectors up against the plug prongs.
A metal ruler acts as the heat sink while soldering wires onto the connectors. A quick touch of a hot iron against pre-soldered wires clamped over the connectors is all it takes.
Laminate each glow pad in a sturdy self adhesive luggage tag — being especially careful to cover and completely insulate the exposed mains wires. Carefully ease out all air bubbles before you burnish the laminates together.
Make and connect as many glow pads as needed and then connect them up to a single power cord — using layers of heat shrink tubing to insulate the wires and to hold the bundle together.
I like the idea of odd numbers, so I bundled three glow pads onto one power cord.
Test that the pads all light up.
Stuff a sparing amount of spun webbing into each jar and arrange your spiders on it. Place each jar over a glow pad and light up.