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Topic: light up fish hat- my first post here on Craftster  (Read 22552 times)
Tags for this thread: anglerfish , tutorial  Add new tag
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« on: October 23, 2005 03:49:11 AM »

Hi there! So this was my fist post here and also my first electric project. It's a light up angler fish helm made out of mostly paper mache.

So, I went to Radioshack and asked how to hook up an led to a battery pack with a light switch. It's easy, but a bit scary at first.

Supplies for light:
Battery holder
a switch
wire stripper
sodering iron
electrical tape


Supplies for the rest of it:
aluminum foil
elmers glue
hot glue
tissue paper
paper clay
glass eyes or perhaps a ping pong ball cut in half
paint brushes
paint (I used acrylics)
small balloon
bendable, but not weak wire

You will want to make the wires connecting the LED to the the battery and switch very long so there is room to go from the fishes lantern to inside the hat. Plan it out ahead, and do what seems comfortable for you. I used about 2.5 feet of length for this. But everyone's head is different and I don't have tons of hair.

Make sure to strip the ends of the wires so there is no plastic for about 1/4 inch. The plastic will burn when you weld it otherwise.

Make sure not to have any batteries in the battery pack while you are working and not until the exposed parts of wire have been wrapped in electrical tape.

Okay so for the light you are making a loop. The loop goes LED to switch to battery pack then back to LED.
Weld a wire to one of the LED prongs. Weld the end of this wire to a prong on your switch. Take a second piece of wire and weld it to the other prong on your switch. The battery pack will probably have two wires coming from it. You can just wrap the end of the wire from the switch around one of the battery pack wires. Take another new piece of wire and wrap it around the other battery pack wire and weld the end of the wire to the LED.
If your switch has more than two prongs and your light isn't lighting, try welding to a different prong.

Wrap all exposed wire in electrical tape.

There are online tutorials all over out there, so make sure to look at lots of reference before dealing with electricity. It's very safe as long as you take caution and educate yourself.

The Hat:

Wrap tinfoil around your scalp to make a form of your head. Use several sheets to get something durable. Tape it or glue it together for extra strength. It'll be pretty fragile until you get some mache dried onto it.

Ball up newspaper and tape or glue it ot the hat to make the form for the fish body.

I tore pieces of newspaper and brushed it onto the outside of the aluminum with thin amounts of elmers glue. Water it down a bit so its slightly runnier than normal glue. Let dry.

I took newspaper and wrapped it around my LEDs wires and taped it together. This is going to be the fish's lamp. You'll bend it a bit later to get the u shape.

Draw out some fin forms. Take your wire and make ribbing that will go inside the fins to support them. Sort of like spikes. I used a piece of tape to keep my row of ribs from moving about. I took the tissue paper and brushed it onto the ribs. This wil make a surprisingly strong and translucent fin. Do this to both sides of the ribs.

Back to the body. It should be dry. Take your dried fins and glue/tape them onto your fish. Brush more tissue paper onto the fins base and onto the body to make the fins attatch firmly. I went back over the ribs once it was dry to add taxture to the fin. It popped the ribs out more and added more strength to the fin.

I hot glued my battery pack and light switch inside of the helmet in a recessed area. Then I taped the wire into the inside of the hat, over the fishes lip, then glued the newspaper wrapped part of the wire to the front of the fish. I bent it into a U shape and brushed on tissue paper to add strength.


Once the hat is dry again I glue my eyes to the fish. Then I make facial features and gills and add a bit of a thicker base to the light thingy with the paper clay. Make sure this dries befor eoyu go further. If it cracks later you can patch it with more paper clay.

Blow the balloon up so it's about an inch big. Mache this with the tissue paper. Once it dries pop the balloon and put it over your LED and mache it onto the light stalk. Don't make the paper too thick or light won't shine through. You can go over later with full strength elmers glue to add strength without losing the lights effect.

Paint this paper bulb a light color like yellow so it looks brighter than the rest of the hat.


If there are any rough edges brush more tissue over them and rifine the sculpture.

I also take hot glue at this point and draw on the fish. I add bumps and skin folds and lots of fun stuff really quickly just with hot glue. It also gives the paint something to pop out detail on.

At this point go to town with paint. I painted the fins yellow, light colors make the fins pretty for light to filter through. I painted the fish black, being careful not to get any on the fins. The I painted color all over the fish. Afterwards I took a sponge and spongedon black. This made my details pop out because bright colors were hidden in the cracks where the sponge couldn't get to. I did put black wherever the ribs in the fins were since you light won't come through those areas anyway.

The hat will be a little heavy, a few lbs, so take caution if you are going to wear it alot.

« Last Edit: September 09, 2011 10:14:52 AM by jungrrl - Reason: changed non-working images to links. » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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play's the thing ;)

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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2005 03:57:43 AM »

you're crazy!!! Grin this hat is so cool and funny!
i especially like the pic, where the fish is half-ready  Wink

think outside the box
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2005 04:02:56 AM »

I wish I'd taken more step by step images, but I didn't think of doing a tutorial until afterwards. Oops!

Oh, also, I had wanted to add teeth and still might. My idea for that is to get some soft foam, like uphostery foam, or even felt possibly, cut it into triangles and hot glue it onto the front. You could also maybe add spikes that way too. A big glob of hot glue makes a really cool base and nice detail for a tooth to rest in. Like gums. Chomp chomp!
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Rae'Lynn Grace - 5 months old

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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2005 04:14:12 AM »

That is so wild and cool at the same time.
I can't believe the details. And those eyes! It looks real!
Fun foam comes with a sticky back if you wanted to use that for teeth.

Two questions....
Why did you want a fish hat?
Can we PLEASE see it on?HuhHuhHuh

I have a gorgeous granddaughter Smiley

Not allowed to craft without supervision Wink
God is big enough.....
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2005 04:20:42 AM »

thats amazing!! what a talented craftster! i wanna see more of ur work now! prepare to be lurked hah! xxx
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2005 04:25:30 AM »

Good idea for the teeth! I'll check that out. Okay, I'll try to post an in use pic soon. ^_^

Uhm, well, I guess it just sort of popped into mind. I've already been dinsoaur monsters and princesses and stuff for Halloween, so I needed a new topic. Deep sea fish are nifty, plus it gave me an excuse to try making something that lights up. I wish I could have gotten the eyes to light up too.

Oh and one more thing, I also brushed tissue paper inside the hat to keep the wires down.
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meet my charming friend, the monkey gentleman

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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2005 04:29:22 AM »

Two questions....
Why did you want a fish hat?
Can we PLEASE see it on?HuhHuhHuh

I'd love to see it on!  It's really cool.

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Hi from Belgium!

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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2005 04:40:16 AM »

Very original. Great job!
Oh, and welcome.

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Mei has arrived! Pic ASAP...

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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2005 05:30:14 AM »

WOAH...nightmares, excellent Shocked Grin!
Lip them
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Audiowhore, sucking on sound

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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2005 05:35:58 AM »

Absolutely fantastic.  I, too, would love to see it in action.  nice job!!!

And hoping for an early death you swam so far you lost your breath, and struggling in the ebb and flow I took your hand, but you let go...
And now the ocean fills your lungs, and now you've got what you had come for, resting peaceful as you sink to drown under a sea of strangers.

-E. Bachmann
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