Sophie’s Ladybird Bookends

December 25th, 2008

Some time ago my sister asked me what I was getting Sophie, my 10 month old niece, for Christmas. I said I didn’t know so she suggested I could make Sophie some bookends for her room. And she asked if I could make them like a ladybird that Sophie has on a blanket.

LadyBug.s The ladybird I was going to copy.

My idea was to make the bookends with ladybirds like the one shown above but with LEDs in the wings to make them light up at night. Originally I wanted these to be solar powered so that they would charge during the day and glow at night in the same was as solar garden lights. I did experiment with that a little but found there isn’t enough light indoors to reliably make this work. For now I am using a small power supply instead but I might revisit the solar idea later.

I started by making the base of the bookends. These are made from MDF and quarter round moldings. These were pretty quick and easy to knock up. I then painted them with a lot of coats of gloss white paint. On the base I glued some sheet rubber to stop the bookend from sliding about.

bookendbase1 The wooden bases made from MDF.

After I made the bases I started on the ladybirds themselves. These were made from more MDF cut out on a band saw into the basic shape. The wings are made from white acrylic sheet cut to the appropriate shape. These were sanded to make them diffuse the light from the LEDs I was going to use to make them light up. Each wing is held to the wooden base by two screws. There are two holes in the bodies that allow the LEDs to be inserted and shine through the wings.

ladybirds1 The ladybirds and their acrylic wings.

Once the bodies were made (and painted pink) I glued small pieces of felt onto the face. Two of these cover the screws that hold the wings on. On the back I inserted the  LEDs and their resistors. These are held in place with hot glue. In the center of the body I epoxied a threaded brass stud which is used to secure the back. The backs contain a power socket and are made from the lids of small plastic screw jars.

wiring1 The back of the ladybird showing the LEDs and threaded stud.

The ladybirds are attached to the bases with two short lengths of brass rod covered in clear plastic tubing which spaces the body out from the base. These were epoxied in place.

The power socket in the backs are attached via short wires then the back is put in place over the  brass stud and held on with a nut and a dome nut. Using two nuts allows me tighten them together to lock them in place so wht backs won’t come undone.

back1  back2  The back in place.

With the backs on it was a simple matter to make up some power cords. I use a small 5 volt  wall plug power supply. The LEDs are only drawing 20mA each so the power supply doesn’t need to be very big at all and the whole thing uses very little power. The LEDs make the wings glow very nicely. It is a bit tricky to capture in a photograph though!

complete2   Complete1   ladybirdlights1

And these are the finished bookends! Along with some books every little girl should read. Sophie is a little young now but she’ll grow into them!

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9 Responses to “Sophie’s Ladybird Bookends”

  1. pave m Says:

    so beautiful! rocket propulsion. sounds good…i never managed to get thru 20,000 leagues myself *blush*

  2. michelle Says:

    Starting her a bit young on rocket propulsion, no?

    Deitel & Deitel’s C++: How to programme would be a much better choice.

  3. anonlol Says:

    Why doesn’t the starwars ascii have the music? its really Impossible for me to watch without it, no matter how awesome the concept is.

  4. tony Says:

    how incredibly nice and creative to go to that level when you didn’t have to. what a lucky family you have to have you in their lives. seriously i wish i could do things like that. i do others for my daughter, but it is the thought and the feelings behind any gift or show of affection that matters. thanks for sharing the final out come and how you did it.

  5. towerbuddha Says:

    I check this blog and the Star Wars site once in a while to see what you have been working on. No updates since Christmas past. Hope all is well.

  6. Charmaine Chen Says:

    I like the sweet pink colour ladybird:) very creative!

  7. Kirby Says:

    If you’re anything like me, a year can pass in the blink of an eye, blog-wise!
    I hope this is the case, and that you are still doing the wonderfully eccentric things you do – I really do think it’s fabulous.

    (By the way, I know it’s not related to the Ladybirds, but was Bender photographed in Galbraiths, or do my eyes decieve me? 😀 )

    Cheers Kirbs.

  8. Simon Says:

    Hello, yes a year does pass quickly. New job, trying to finish off my car ( and loads of other things. But yes! I do have a new project I am working on for Sophie right now. It’s a rocking horse called Horseome Paul (long story). I will see if I can start writing that up with some pictures tonight now you’re reminded me.

    And that was Bender in Galbraiths. Wired magazine wanted to do some photos so they arranged a photographer and Keith kindly let me take Bender there. Then they never used the pictures as far as I can tell! I never even got to see the professional ones. Still, I am one of the few people who can say they took their robot to Galbraiths for a pint I suppose so it wasn’t a complete loss!

  9. Ladybird Bookends Made of Woods | HACKOLOG - Amazing Hacks and Mods Says:

    […] acrylic wings where the sockets of LED will be attached. Screw them together to get a nice finish. The builder uses a 5v wall plug power supply with the LED being in a 20mA. […]