If you like a good beach vacation you’re going to absolutely love this DIY sand dollar nightlight using your beachy finds!
Things have been super interesting around here but, luckily, they’re also starting to settle down. I was able to work ALL DAY yesterdays and it was such a good feeling. I hate not working on things because I feel lazy. And since here recently I spent the better part of 16 days at the hospital in support of a family member right after I spent about 2 weeks on vacation, I had over a month of getting absolutely nothing done. And though it’s just the way things go, I still felt crazy lazy because my hands always need to be doing something.
At the hospital, I did a little bit of work on my laptop but it was difficult to do. I was often up and pushing the nurse call button and sometimes even holding down our patient’s arms who was trying to rip the IV out of their neck. After my laptop slammed to the floor during such a situation I decided that I was better off with coloring books. It kept my hands busy but it didn’t keep my mind busy enough.
I was able to work so well yesterday because my sister, who is a nurse, is in town basically doing almost everything to take care of our patient. It’s just like old times with my sister and me in my parents’ house again. And I’m not 100% coasting along doing my own thing… My role while things are a little topsy turvy is as the family cook/dietician trying to make heart-healthy meals that taste better than they did at the hospital. AND there was that one time I had to administer medication because my sister had to run into town. I was SO NERVOUS but withe Excel spreadsheet I made so my sister could keep track of 4 daily rounds of medication, it was super easy to help out just once :) Today as our family dietician I failed, though, and just made onion burgers and fruit salad. Most meals have been baked salmon and grilled chicken and that sort of “good for you” nonsense so I figure we all deserved a cheat day :)
Cooking like a fast food restaurant at lunchtime aside, I actually have had another fairly productive day. I’ve been going through photos and editing them and guess what? I also got glasses!
I had NO IDEA how much I needed glasses until I got them. And it’s so weird because I had my eyes checked last year and the totally creepy optometrist guy was all “your vision is practically perfect”. But honestly, the dude had some ISSUES. He had to keep the door open to the area where he tested my eyes because “of some complaints” which was explained in more detail during my examination that the complaints only came from “female patrons”. I really don’t know why I didn’t hop the heck up and take off right then, but I sat through the appointment only to told that my vision was perfectly fine and I was wasting his time. It didn’t matter that I was suffering daily headaches and that my computer monitor was so blurry that I was starting to have a hard time working. These peepers were PERFECT!
Headaches still occurring and being in a new town I decided to try out another optometrist to see if I could get some help and relief. So just about 2 months ago I found out that I have a nasty little case of astigmatism. As it turns out, other people DON’T see lights at night with a huge halo of glow around them making it darn near impossible to drive at night. I seriously thought that was an everybody thing. WOW! The difference a pair of eyeglasses prescribed by a really nice and totally professional behaving optometrist can make :)
But I’m babbling… sorry, sometimes I do that :) Want to DIY?
Let’s take your beach vacation souvenirs and turn them into fabulous seashell night lights!
For this project you will need:
If cutting by a machine you will also need:
- Cricut Maker
- Cricut Brayer (optional but SUPER helpful)
- Cricut StrongGrip Machine Mat
- Masking Tape
- Cricut Cut File
I actually purchased my night lights from HEB, the greatest grocery store, a Texas chain/staple, in existence. I’m not even playing… Buzzfeed has so many articles about how amazing HEB is they have a page with HEB articles you can read. But if you don’t live in Texas, no worries! I found a night light just like them on Amazon.
If looking around in your local stores, I’d just recommend finding something that is LED so that it doesn’t produce heat and that has a similar cover to the one in the pic above. No matter which night light you use, we’re about to cover the steps to make a new slip-on using basswood from scratch so no worries if you can’t find something exactly like we’re using here.
Remove the cover from your nightlight and trace the bottom of it on a piece of paper like above. If the front of your current night light cover is rounded, square it off like the wooden tab to the right of the traced shape. This is the base of your new nightlight “cover” that will slide in front of the lightbulb, onto the night light itself. You’ll also want to create a “T” shape that is the same width as the squared front edge of the u-shaped wooden base. We’re going to call this T-shaped piece the “front”.
This project can totally be done by hand, no problems. All you need is a good quality craft knife with a brand-spanking-new sharp as cheddar blade. Oh, and if you’re prone to accidents like I am, you might want to invest in some cut-resistant gloves. Heck, if nothing else, they’re cheaper than most copays! With your shapes worked out on paper, transfer the U shaped base and the T-shaped front piece to your craft wood. Carefully use your craft knife to cut each shape out by hand.
Now if you have a Cricut Maker, it’s your lucky day! Snag the Cricut Design Space File and press your basswood craft sheet onto a Cricut StrongGrip Machine Mat. Go around the edges of the wood with a brayer to really stick the wood down to the mat. Apply a strip of masking tape around each side of the wood sheet taping it down onto the mat. If you have BIG tape and a small piece of wood, you can totally cover the entire piece of wood and the machine will cut through it to the wood. See how the T-shape above is blue? That’s just because the tape went down that far on my piece of wood. If anything, I’ll over-apply tape just to ensure it really stays put during cutting.
Now test out your U shape by sliding it onto the night light. Is it a bit tight? You can trim some of the wood away from the top to make where it connects a bit thinner if it needs it with craft knife. You can also trim just a weensy bit off of the inside edges of the U to make that shape a little bit bigger to accommodate the shape of the light. Just take a little bit off at a time and re-test until you get a nice, snug fit where the wood isn’t bending, even a little bit, in order to accommodate the fit because it will eventually break.
With your hot glue nice and hot attach the T and U-shaped pieces together as you see above. Go ahead and add a little extra hot glue into the inside edge of the join like caulk to help keep it super stuck together.
Glue your sand dollar or another seashell onto the T shape with a lot of hot glue. Like, A LOT. Allow the glue plenty of time to cool completely…
…and then pop that sucker onto your night light! Now can you see how my wood is trying to bend just a weensy bit here? It was enough that it eventually broke so be sure you get that snug fit without any crazy bend in the wood.
And thar she blows, folks. This sucker was an immense pain in the ass to try and photograph because, well, to get it to glow it needed to be dark and then the camera couldn’t shake at all and yada, yada, yada. I got a couple of good images after I made an electrified faux wall I could pop into my lightbox.
Yep. For real. I made a fake wall with an extension cord so I could snap photos of my sand dollar night light. Oh, the things I do for my job :) It took me a whole 2 rounds of photographs before I realized, womp womp, that I forgot to attach the wall plate to my fake wall. Haha! But it just gave me even more practice until I got a few that I don’t totally cringe about sharing here so it’s all in a day’s work!