How to grow your own EL wire DNA helix lamp


[LucidMovement] was looking for some crystal-based artwork and just couldn’t seem to find anything that fit the bill, so he decided to build something himself.

The inspiration for his desk lamp came from something we’re all familiar with, a DNA double-helix. To grow the crystals he built a helix-shaped growing substrate out of nichrome and EL wires, submerging them in a warm alum solution. Once he had a nice set of crystals, he mounted it in an acrylic tube, filling the air space with clear silicone to seal off the display. He then mounted the silicone-filled tube on top of a rotating acrylic stand that he had cut for the project. The stand is made from several sheets of acrylic and contains both the gearing for movement as well as RGB LEDs to light the display from the bottom.

The lamp looks great when sitting idle, but when he powers it on it really shines (no pun intended). [LucidMovement] put a ton of work into the lamp, and offers up all sorts of tips, tricks, and considerations for anyone looking to build their own. Be sure to check out his writeup for plenty more details, and stick around to see a short video of the lamp in action.


  1. Jeremy says:

    Too cool. It looks like something out of a mad scientists laboratory in a scifi flick.

  2. Eirinn says:

    Awesome! I’d love one of these on my desk :D I would probably have filled it with clear resin though as kinetic force may harm the crystals… although very unlikely :)

  3. Andy Goth says:

    Looks like one of these guys:–181012.phtml

    though the EL wire and the hack factor make it infinitely cooler. ;^)

  4. Alankilian says:

    Excellent and very pretty.

    It would be 1% even more cool if the DNA helix was twisting the right way around.
    Left-handed DNA hall of fame

  5. DrPeterVenkman says: someone hack it into a bong :D

  6. Tim says:


  7. Masta Squidge says:

    Too bad he twisted it backwards.

  8. stranglove says:

    DrPeterVenkman says:
    December 22, 2011 at 9:07 am someone hack it into a bong :D

    Exactly. :D

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