Let me set the stage for you. It’s 7:30 PM. The grandparents are visiting. Baths have been administered, teeth have been brushed, pajamas have been applied. Then, just before the bedtime song, my 4 year old bursts into tears. “I’m AFRAID of the dark!!!”
I was taken by surprise because 1) in April, the sun is still shining bright as day at 7:30 at night in Cleveland, and 2) my son has just never expressed fear of the dark before. I blame it on the stinkin’ “Glow Pet” commercials. *rassin’ frassin’*
Well, I didn’t have a night light. We’ve never had need of it before. What I did have within 5 minutes of scrounging was a string of leftover LED Christmas lights and an old plastic CD organizer. I grabbed a scrap of fabric to tuck over it and said, “Look! Now you have a night light!”
This weekend I got out my sewing machine and made the “Glow Cube” official. This was a simple 15 minute project that I pulled off without ever really doing any math or measuring. Here’s how you can make your own!
You will need a large scrap of fabric, a rectangular plastic bin or basket with lots of ventilation, and a string of Christmas lights. My lights were LED. I’d be cautious about using traditional lights because the heat they create seems like it could be a fire hazard.
NOTE: Now’s as good a time as any to say your results may vary with this project, depending on the type of basket, weight of fabric, and how many or what kind of Christmas lights you use. PROCEED WITH CAUTION, watch to see if your lights give off a great deal of heat when plugged in for a long time, and just use common sense. You do NOT want to end up putting a fire hazard in the room with your precious babies! I feel quite comfortable with mine, but use this night light AT YOUR OWN RISK!
(You can click on this picture for a somewhat better view.)
1) Wrap your fabric WRONG SIDE OUT around your basket, pinching along the corners to pin. You should create 4 flaps, as if you’re wrapping a present, but we’re going to stop short of the part where you’d fold them all in and tape them. I used two pins at each corner. One at the top and one at the bottom.
2) Trim some of the excess off each corner and around the bottom of your bin, leaving about an inch around the sides and about two inches around the bottom.
3) Carefully slip this pinned “lamp shade” off your basket and sew FOUR STRAIGHT LINES at the pins, from top to bottom. To get the fit right, I tried to make my stitching go EXACTLY where the pins had been. You can then finish these seems or just press them open with your iron. You shouldn’t have to worry much about fraying with this project, unless you think you’ll want to throw it in the washing machine.
4) Turn the work so that the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric faces you. If you have a bone folder, use it to make all your new little corners pointy and professional. You could also just use a pen cap or closed scissors. Make sure your “shade” still fits nicely on your plastic bin, and tuck in your loose edges where you want your hem to be.
5). Pin the hem in place, remove the shade from your bin, and press the hem with your iron. Use that first crease to mark where your shade actually ends, then fold the excess fabric inside of it. Press, and stitch.
6) Loosely toss your Christmas lights into your plastic bin and thread the plug in out one of the holes! You are now ready to put the shade back in place and plug in your glow cube!
Guaranteed to keep monsters at bay! Well… maybe not the cutest littlest monsters!