Build a Cool Christmas Tree Ornament in 5 minutes

Do you want to build something on your own for Christmas, but don’t have much time? Or no experience? Then this project is for you.

One of the easiest ways to make a Christmas circuit that looks cool when you don’t have much time is to use a color-changing LED.

A color-changing LED looks like a normal LED, but it has an integrated chip that controls the LED and automatically cycles through different colors.

They are easily available and cheap. You can find packs of 100 of these LEDs for less than $10, such as this one from Amazon. Or you can buy a single LED from for example Sparkfun.

All you need to do is to connect it in series with a resistor (just like if it was a normal LED) and connect it to a small battery. Then the internal chip of the LED takes care of the rest so that you can lean back and watch the show:

Components Needed

  • 1 x Color-changing LED
  • 2 x Lithium Coin Cell batteries 3V
  • 1 x Resistor (330 Ω)

You should be able to find all the components needed in most shops that sell electronic components.

How To Connect The Circuit

Start by twisting the resistor around the positive leg of the LED.

Take two coin cell 3V batteries and place them on top of each other. This puts them in series so that you get 6V out of them.

Connect the loose end of the resistor to the plus side of the batteries. And connect the loose end of the LED to the minus side of the batteries.

Tada! You have a working circuit!

Now you decide how to proceed. If everyone is waiting for you to join them for Christmas dinner, then just use some tape to make it all stay together, then place it into something Christmassy and hang it on the tree.

Simple homemade ornament (thread with glue around balloon)

If you have a bit more time, then I recommend soldering the LED and the resistor so that they stick together. And place the batteries in a battery holder for the two batteries. Finally, add a small switch between the batteries and the LED so that you can turn it on and off.

How Does It Work?

Do you think it’s “cheating” to buy an LED that blinks on its own? Would you prefer to build it from scratch so that you understand how it works?

It’s not that hard to make the blinking yourself. You can build one with a 555 timer, CD4017, and CD4025. Or if you prefer a simpler circuit, you’d need a microcontroller.

We just added a new course to the Ohmify library today on how to build a color-changing tree ornament from scratch. There you’ll learn how to do it with a microcontroller.

As an Ohmify member, you have access to this course from the Trainings Library once you log in. Not a member yet? Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions or comments about this simple Christmas circuit, let me know in the comments section below!

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