Lighting Book Nooks with LED Lights

by Brynna Jamison

What is a Book Nook?

Book nooks are a relatively new type of hobby project that has just recently gained popularity in the modeler community. A book nook is a shadowbox about the size and width of a standard book that is meant to fit into a bookshelf between other books on the shelf. Although sizes can vary, the standard book nook is 10” tall x 8” deep x 5” wide. The box can be made from chipboard, wood, or even cardboard.

This box is then decorated in such a way that it gives the effect of a miniature world hidden behind your bookshelves. Alleyways are popular themes for book nooks, such as the customer creation we have pictured right. Themed book nooks are also popular, to match the theme or series of books on the shelf next to the book nook. The options are endless though, if you can imagine it, you can model it. With mini LED lights from Evan Designs, lighting your book nook has never been easier.

History of The Book Nook

The history of book nooks is a short one. Book nooks first rose to popularity in 2018, with the Japanese artist and modeler Monde. Monde was from Tokyo and he exhibited a book spacer at Design Fiesta, an international art competition held in Japan. Monde’s book nook featured the winding back alleys of Japan in a mini book-sized display. The idea took off and now is popular with modelers across the world to decorate their home bookshelves.

Lighting your Book Nook with Mini LEDs

Now that you know a little more about book nooks and the history behind these miniature models, you're probably ready to create your very own book nook. Make sure you visit Evan Design’s Gallery to find inspiration from other modelers on creating stunning micro LED lighted book nooks.

The best way to light your new book nook is with Evan Designs Mini LED lights. Hobby LED lights do not get hot like incandescents, so they will not damage the small components of your model dioramas. Additionally, Evan Designs battery powered LED lights have a low power draw, meaning they can be run for many hours off a small battery hidden in your book nook.

Finally, installing small LEDs is not difficult and with this guide, even first time modelers can light their miniature world with Evan Designs LEDs.

The Best LED options for your Book Nook

What are the best LED light kits to use in a book nook? We receive this question a lot and have the perfect recommendations for any style book nook. As mentioned previously, book nooks have a standard size, and thus a standard scale, unlike many other models.

Bulb Style LEDs

The most popular choice for book nook modelers is the warm white Chip Size LED. This Flat format LED can be installed at the top of the box to cast a warm glow over the whole scene. If modeling an alleyway, 1.8 mm warm white bulb LEDs can be installed behind windows to mimic the glow of incandescent lamps shining out of houses or shops.

Bulb Style LEDs

Miniature Wall Lamps

Miniature Wall Lamps

Another great option from Evan Designs for book nook modelers is the classic coach lamp. This classic style lamp is modeled after old oil lamps traditionally found in streets and alleyways of cities, making it perfect for the miniature worlds of book nooks. The C size, the smallest size offered, is perfect for the book nook scale, and it measures 11.6 mm tall. A classic coach lamp will make a great addition to any book nook model.

Other Lights for Book Nooks

Above are the basic battery powered LEDs that we suggest for any book nook modeler. However, depending on the theme of your book nook, you may want to use other colors or styles of micro LEDs. Our bulb style LEDs come in 9 color options as well as solid and flashing options so the possibilities are endless. To the right one of our customers recreated a scene featuring Kvothe in The Archives from Wise Man's Fear using Evan Designs’ red chip LED lights.

Another popular option for book nook modelers is using the flickering fire kit or the fire kit from Evan Designs. The chip sized option for both of these kits is a great choice for book nook modelers. These options are great if you have a fireplace or campfire in your miniature book nook world.

Other Lights for Book Nooks

Choosing the right power source for your Book Nook

Now that you have the perfect model LEDs for your book nook it is time to choose a power source to power your mini LEDs. The power choice you choose for your micro LEDs depends on a variety of factors.

  1. How many hobby LEDs you will use in your model.
  2. If you plan to use both flashing and solid LEDs.
  3. What period of time your book nook will be lit per day.

Coin Cell Battery

The coin cell battery is our smallest power option and can be easily hidden in any book nook diorama. The drawback of this power source is that due to its small size it has a shorter battery life. Additionally, on a coin cell battery, steady and flashing LEDs can not be run together. This is because the flash will carry over and the non flashing LEDs will begin flashing. A coin cell battery can run up to 10 tiny LED lights at a time, but more typically customers use this type of battery with 1-4 LEDs. With 4 LEDs expect a run time of 12 hours if the miniature LEDs are left on.

3 Volt AAA battery Holders and 3 volt Battery Packs

Larger Battery holders and harder to hide in the book nook, however they can run more lights for a longer period of time. Our 3 volt AAA holder can run up to 50 LED. If you have wall power available you can use our 3 Volt Wall Adaptor. The 1 Amp version can run up to 50 LEDs. Evan Designs LEDs do not get hot, so it's fine to keep them on constantly.

Consider Using a Motion Sensor

Evan Designs Motion Sensor can make a perfect addition to any book nook. This mini motion sensor will turn the book nook on when motion is sensed, ie. when someone enters the room. This little sensor saves the battery life of your batteries, by only turning the project on when someone is nearby your book nook, and turns the LEDs off shortly after they walk away. This is also a great way to wow your friends, as your miniature world automatically comes to life when they view your project.

Evan Designs Motion Sensor

The motion sensor senses motion up to 3 feet away. The sensor keeps the lights on while there is motion. After motion stops, the lights remain on for up to 15 seconds. One motion sensor can run up to 30 of the brightest LEDs.

Installing LEDs in your Book Nook

Now that you have chosen your perfect micro LED and power combo, it is time to install your hobby LEDs in your book nook. This is a simple process, so don’t worry if this is your first time working with LED lights.

Suggested Materials

  • Glue or LED Holding Wax. To see what types of glue to use with Evan Designs LEDs, visit our article: Gluing Evan Designs LED Lights.
  • Shrink Tube or Electrical Tape
  • Wire Cutters (not needed for simple projects)
  • Drill or Dremel with small drill bit (If you need to make holes in wood)

Now you have your materials ready, it's time to start the installation process. If you are installing ceiling lights, consider using glue or Holding Wax to secure the lights to the ceiling of your book nook. If you want to install recessed model lighting, visit the article How to Install LEDs for recessed lighting tips. For lights behind shop windows or from within buildings, secure the lights to the diorama base with glue or Holding Wax then add the building layer on top to conceal the miniature LED wires.

Installing LEDs in your Book Nook

To install a coach lamp, such as the one pictured to the right, drill a hole in the wall that you wish to mount the light to. Add a small bit of glue to the base of the lamp and thread the wires through the hole in the wall.

Connecting Power

Once you have your LEDs in place and the glue has dried it is time to connect your LEDs to power. Take all the red wires from the LEDs in your project and twist them to the red wire coming from the power source. Cover the twisted wire connections with shrink tube or electrical tape. Repeat the same process with all the black wires from the LEDs in your project, connecting them to the black wire on your power source.

twisted wire connections with shrink tube

Congratulations! You have just installed micro hobby LEDs in your very own book nook. If you have any questions during the installation process that aren't covered in this article feel to email us at help@evandesigns.com for customer assistance. Don’t forget to share photos of your completed project with us by submitting to our gallery or tagging us on instagram or facebook. Comment below to share the theme of your current book nook and make sure to read our other blog posts to learn more about the mini LED lights we all love.


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