Holiday hacks - add a pedestal and dome to a WOC base

Last year, one of the simplest holiday hacks presented involved use of the base of the World of Color sipper cup with a translucent object placed on top of it.  It's so simple to do and gives a nice enough outcome that I've used this hack a lot and usually take it with me when we're on the road.  It travels well and is quite versatile.

This year I ran across a YouTube video, "Recycled Soda Bottles Christmas Dome" by Miriam Joy.  She uses the upper portion of a 2 liter plastic bottle for the dome, either a flat glass candle holder or a small round mirror for the platform and a taller glass candle holder from Dollar Tree as the pedestal.  Her final products look great and the whole thing is really inexpensive to put together. 

I wondered if maybe a World of Color Sipper Cup base unit might serve as a replacement for the platform in her hack.  After a quick check of the diameter of the plastic bottle versus the diameter of the World of Color Sipper Cup's Made With Magic base unit, it seemed like the WOC base might, indeed, substitute for the platform in such a hack.  So I gave it a try.

Collect the ingredients

items used in this hackIt goes without saying, you're going to need to have a World of Color Sipper Cup for this hack.  Getting one of those may be the hardest part of this hack as they are only sold in the California Adventure Theme Park in Anaheim. 

The 2 liter plastic bottle and the Dollar Tree candle holder/pedestal are much easier to come by.  I'd purchased a clear plastic, light-up castle ornament during a visit to one of the theme parks.  That seemed to fit nicely on top of the WOC base.  So that's what I used here.  Remember, how tall your dome needs to be will be directly dependent upon what you choose as your featured center piece.  The dimensions for your dome may be different from mine, depending upon what you choose to feature inside your dome.

The piece to cap the opening in the top of the dome vexed me until I realized that it is roughly the same size as the top of an oversized Dollar Tree ornament.  Testing the fit confirmed it's a perfect match.

To give the scene a snowy aspect, I settled upon using cornstarch.  I've tried some of the synthetic snow stuff available but found the 'flakes' to be either too big and/or too susceptible to static charge.  Powdered sugar is out as there always ants in the vicinity.

Do the preps

prepared elements ready for assemblyThe info for how to remove the WOC Sipper Cup's base can be found in a previous post.  Follow that link if you need help figuring out how to do that.

Hints on how to prepare the 2 liter bottle are in the video mentioned above.  I used hot soapy water to help remove the label remnants and used nail polish remover to take off the printed date stuff. 

The castle ornament came in at 4" tall.  Cutting the bottle to give a 6" high dome appeared to be about right.  Removing the ornament cap from the Dollar Tree ornament was easy and straightforward.  The blue ribbon that came tied to the castle ornament was removed and transferred to the ornament cap.

Putting it together

assembled dome - no snowNow all that remains is to settle upon how you want all this to go together.  My insert is a light-up ornament that runs off LR44 batteries.  The WOC base runs on AAA batteries.  The overall look is best when the inner ornament lights up, too, but it's a pain to stock and change two different types of batteries.  Rechargeable AAA batteries are readily available.  So I don't mind changing those so much.  But those LR44s have got to go.  Fortunately, the ornament runs fine powered by the same batteries powering the WOC base and there are some convenient holes in the WOC base that accomodate some thin wires.  All that remains is to wire it up.

It began by making a dummy battery to replace the stack of LR44 batteries.  Search the 'net for ideas for how to do this.  The concept is mentioned in this forum post: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/how-to-best-make-ag13-(lr44)-dum…; I used a hunk of hot glue, a metal tack and short brad and wrapped both shanks with solid core wires stripped out of a telephone extension cord.  Didn't need to solder anything, though a little solder would make it more sturdy and probably more dependable.

The wires from the dummy battery are passed through two of the three holes in the top of the WOC base where the screws normally go through to connect to the upper part of the sipper.  Leave enough extra wire such that the insert can be tilted back and the on/off switch accessed.  Once the wires connect to the batteries, the insert LED will run until the switch is turned off or the batteries run down.

insert wiringNext, feed the wires through the slits directly above the battery terminals and bend the wires such that they may be pushed in between the terminals and the batteries.  Check your handiwork to see if both the insert and WOC unit light up.  If so, you're now running both units with AAA batteries.  Rechargeables work just fine and are highly recommended.

Running on batteries and with a couple on/off switches to manipulate, the assembly will need to be taken apart on a regular basis.  So the WOC base unit/insert is simply set upon the top of the glass candle holder and then the dome is positioned onto the base unit.  The dome doesn't actually fit completely over the base unit.  It has to be balanced on top of it.  I use a piece of tape on the backside of the dome to help hold it in place. 

Let it snow?

Because the setup needs to be taken apart regularly, adding some form of synthetic 'snow' will be messy business.  The main reason to add some snow effect is to make this look a bit more interesting during the daytime.  Ultimately, I wasn't able to make it work for me.  Some sort of very fine white plastic would be ideal.  That would add some diffusion to the light and look nice.  I could see going with something like that and using some spray adhesive to keep it in place.  But the plastic snow I came across was always too large of a flake to blend with the scale of the castle.  The closest I came was using cornstarch.  But it is opaque and doesn't look great when the lights are on.  So I'll pass for now.

And finally...

If you can live with seeing some wires dangling out the back, adding some dummy batteries to the WOC battery holder will allow running the whole setup off of a 3.3V DC source.  The WOC unit can handle voltages up to 5V but the ornament LED would likely need a resistor to keep from burning it out.  Dunno for sure.  Didn't risk it.  But I have tried running off 3.3V and it seems to work fine and it's really nice to not have to mess with batteries.