Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fun for the Kiddies: A Box of Lights

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I saw this original pin a while back and literally made the split second decision to try it out this past weekend. We had (finally) purchased a second convertible car seat that would fit in my Mazda and it got me thinking: with empty boxes? And then I remembered this awesome Pinterest find...

The stay at home mom blog
Above is as link to the original idea

My Experiences
First let me say that this is a 10 minute project; super fast and easy peasy. Unless you're me of course and just happen to be having one of those days where nothing is easy...

I was making this for my gorgeous little 1.5 year old, Violet who is full of personality, willful as they come and so very smart.
There she is in her box of lights :)

She LOVES things that are sparkly, shiny and light up (sounds like mommy;) so when I saw this project I knew it was perfect for her. I was trying to be discreet while making it because if she noticed the lights they would be lost to me, with or without the box. Thus, I chose to put the box on the kitchen table and leave the lights unplugged while working- and THAT my friends, was my first mistake.
Now, I'm no decorating novice- I've strung my fair share of twinklies, I would never make the crucial mistake of decorating first, plugging later. There is nothing worse than spending hours stringing lights only to find out that they are dead, so I'm thinking, I just took them off the tree less than 3 months ago, why wouldn't they work?

Not so much...
So I poked holes in the box, pushed all the lights through and had a Clark Griswold moment when it didn't light. I was now back to square one with another set (the only colored set I had left.)
I checked them (good to go) and had to push them through yet again (really this only takes 5 minutes tops, but I was a bit exasperated at this point.) Unfortunately it took a little extra time since the bulbs on the second set were bigger so I also had to make the holes larger. I had the lights unplugged at this point, still trying to avoid catching Violet's attention while my hubby entertained her and finally they were all strung (again.) Yay!
I found an open space near an outlet, called Violet over and, bursting with excitement, I plugged it in...
and only half of the set lit up.
SO- that's how I left it. You can actually see in the pics that the lights towards the opening of box are out, BUT she loves it. Still, the moral of the story? Keep the lights lit as you work them through the holes!

So here's the breakdown:
Before you do anything, you'll need the right size box and really it depends on the age and height of your child, so it's up to you. To give you a reference, Violet is 18mos. old, about 33in. tall, and the box I used was a standard size car seat box. If she sat up straight the lights could poke her head, but she can still sit comfortably inside.

If you are using standard size (I think they're generally considered "mini" lights,) a Phillips head screwdriver works really well and pierces through the box easily creating the right size holes. The first time I put the lights in, I just poked holes in rows about 2 inches apart and inserted the lights as I went making sure to start with the plug end towards the back of the box. If you have bigger size bulbs (like I had to use the second time around) a pen works great to widen the holes.

Insert lights:
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, don't forget to leave the lights plugged in as you're doing this :)
All you have to do is push the bulb part through the hole and leave the green end hanging out and you're done! The original pin used rounded bulbs, so if the pointy bulbs (the standard ones do have a rounded end, but they're still pointy-ish) are a concern, there are other options, but sometimes you gotta use what you have- I didn't find the good, old fashion colored lights to be a problem.

Here's a close up of the top of the box. I know that standard light sets are made to be safe for decorating and I would be surprised if they could actually get hot enough to ignite the cardboard, but still use caution and don't leave the lights plugged in for too long- just to be safe.
Hours of fun in just a few minutes! Well, more like 5 minutes of fun, twice a day if your kiddo is anything like mine ;)

Hope you get a chance to try it out and don't forget to share your pics if you do :)


  1. Great looking and really neat idea! Loved your write up!I know my kids will love this,wonderful !!

    1. I'm so glad! If you get a chance to try it out, please send a picture- I'd love to share it!


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