When you're camping, traveling by car, sleeping under the stars or having a sleepover, reading by sufficiently diffused light can be a challenge. While a headlamp, flashlight or lantern might do the trick, they have drawbacks such as being brightly focused on one spot and not across all of the book page or they might be noisy or inadequate for others to read by too. The tote anywhere reading light is a very simple solution to this, by creating a light that gently diffuses light in a way that lets you read in comfort.
- Gallon milk jug, cleaned
- Headlamp used for outdoor activities and camping
- 4 military grade 30-minute white light glowsticks (and extras for replacements when traveling)
- 1 length white plumbing (plastic) pipe
- 2 white plumbing pipe end caps
- 4 tie wraps
- Pebbles or river stones (optional)
- Flashlight (not an expensive one, as this one is going to be duct taped!)
- Duct tape (a generous amount)
- Empty yogurt drink/probiotic drink bottle (small to medium, dependent on the bottle size)
Method 1: Portable reading lamp from a milk jugEdit
1. Gather the items needed. Make sure that the milk jug is clean, to avoid bad odors.
2. Fill the gallon milk jug with water. Screw the lid on tight to prevent spills.
3. Attach the headlamp so that it sits around the middle of the milk jug. Face the lamp inward.
4. Use. Simply switch on the headlamp. A gentle reading light will diffuse throughout the area where you're reading.
- This lamp will sit solidly inside a tent, a camping vehicle, a car, on a camping or picnic table, or wherever you need it.
- The light from this hack is much gentler on your eyes than other portable lights and you should find reading by it very comfortable.
Method 2: Portable reading light from glowsticksEdit
This light can be used for reading by closely (such as inside a tent) or for photography illumination.
1. Measure the length of two of the glowsticks end to end. Mark this length on the plumbing pipe.
2. Cut half of the pipe along to the length you marked in step one. Saw this one half of the length off, then sandpaper the cut part to ensure neatness and remove any parts that catch. You will be left with a long fully round pipe end attached to the halved pipe end.
3. Make the base end. Choose a base length and mark it on the piece of pipe that is still fully round pipe. Cut this end of the pipe to the desired length. Place a pipe end cap on the base.
- If you're not sure how much to cut, decide whether you want to use the light standing up or lying down. If it lies down, the base end can be short. If you want it to stand upright, it will need to be longer to account for the weight and height of the light end. Alternatively, cut short and fill with pebbles or river stones before capping, to provide a base weight.
4. Insert two glowsticks side by side into the half part, from the cut part. Then insert two more above these two, to the end of the pipe half.
5. Tie the ties around the half pipe to keep the glowsticks in place. Tie them around where the two sets meet, ensuring that you capture the glowsticks behind the ties so that they cannot fall out. Tie them so that you can easily slip the old glowsticks out and add new ones when needed.
- Cable ties, thin gauge wire or similar can be used.
6. Slip the pipe cap on the end of the half pipe. This completes the light.
7. Use. Snap the glowsticks. Shake well before snapping.
- Replace the glowsticks as needed. Bring quite a few to see you through the length of time you need the light for.
Method 3: Turning a flashlight into a lampEdit
1. Choose a suitable yogurt drink or probiotic drink container. The sizes of these little containers vary somewhat, so select the drink bottle by testing whether the flashlight will sit on the mouth of the bottle without falling into it. Also choose a suitable flashlight; it should have a strong beam but should not be too expensive, as the duct tape will likely ruin its finish when you decide to pull the contraption apart later (which will be essential if traveling, as you don't want the contents of the bottle sloshing onto the flashlight).
2. Fill the yogurt drink bottle with water. Keep the outside dry, or wipe it down to remove water droplets.
3. Place the flashlight onto the bottle mouth. Face the light end downward onto the bottle and balance it evenly on the mouth.
4. Secure the flashlight to the bottle. Cut a suitable length of duct tape, around 15cm/6" in length or so. Wrap it around the join between the flashlight and the bottle's mouth, where there will be a small crease. The aim is to even out this crease and create a smooth line, so repeat the cut and wrap for the tape around two to three more times.
- Given there is water in the bottle, this can be a little tricky. It needs to be done on a flat surface, keeping the bottle upright and straight.
5. Firm out the tape and ensure that it is sitting securely against both the bottle and the flashlight. If there are any sources of give or weakness, secure more tape to that part.
6. Test the flashlight lamp. Stand it upright, with the bottle at the base and the flashlight facing upward. Turn it on; expect the light to be weak but it'll be sufficient to read by in the tent or to write your day's activities down in your journal.
- If it won't stand on it's own right, get a huge blob of poster tack and stick it on the base to keep it in place. Or, use Velcro strips and add the other strip to a small wooden base for attaching the lamp to.
- Alternatively, lean it against a book or a pair of socks; this will dim it a little though.
Tips & suggestionsEdit
| Got something to say that doesn't fit in the other sections of this page? |
Create a new page about it: Portable Reading Lamp/Miscellaneous
If you want to add personal links, please do that on your user page (you can also write your profile there). If you have a link with great content related to this DIY, you can add it at Portable Reading Lamp/Links
Share and tell about your experience related to Portable Reading Lamp in our wiki-based forum.