Art, Arduino, Sound Sensors, LEDs, and Star Wars!

Regular drawing and painting just didn’t seem to fit the bill of a creative outlet for me, so I decided to design my own mix of art, Arduino, LEDs, sound sensors and star wars all sprinkled with a little computer code.  The end product is a MASSIVE (4’x5′) Star Wars art piece with lights that wirelessly dance to the beat of the music.  I hope this inspires you to build your own.

The list of supplies:

For the tech side:


I got all the tech working by compiling an uploading the following code to the Arduino:

#define REDPIN 5
#define GREENPIN 6
#define BLUEPIN 3

int redNow;
int blueNow;
int greenNow;
int redNew;
int blueNew;
int greenNew;

void setup()
pinMode(7,INPUT); //SIG of the Parallax Sound Impact Sensor connected to Digital Pin 7
redNow = random(255);
blueNow = random(255);
greenNow = random(255);
redNew = redNow;
blueNew = blueNow;
greenNew = greenNow;


#define fade(x,y) if (x>y) x–; else if (x<y) x++;

void loop()
boolean soundstate = digitalRead(7);
if (soundstate == 1) {
analogWrite(BLUEPIN, blueNow);
analogWrite(REDPIN, redNow);
analogWrite(GREENPIN, greenNow);
redNew = random(255);
blueNew = random(255);
greenNew = random(255);
// fade to new colors
while ((redNow != redNew) ||
(blueNow != blueNew) ||
(greenNow != greenNew))
analogWrite(BLUEPIN, blueNow);
analogWrite(REDPIN, redNow);
analogWrite(GREENPIN, greenNow);

Then I put all the wiring together using this schematic.


I started by tracing out Darth Vadar using a projector onto the floor under layment board.


Cut out everything that was white.

IMG_0143 IMG_0142

Glue and fixed everything I broke.

IMG_0145 IMG_0146 IMG_0147

and because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, weeks and weeks of sanding, filling, sanding, cutting (again), more sanding, and fine tooth filing with a jewelers file

IMG_0177 IMG_0169 IMG_0168 IMG_0170IMG_0207 IMG_0210

Then more cutting… this time it’s the backing plate (the MDF sheet):


This holds the LEDs, hides the wires, and provides structural support for the artistic front which we glue to next.


Now paint the back side with the chrome paint to reflect light.


LEDs were double sided taped around the outside of where I cut it out (see pic above). Paint the front with the flat black paint (I seem to have forgotten to take a pic.)  The wiring comes next following this schematic and the Arduino, sound sensor, and one of the bread boards glued to the front.  You can see I hid the wires by using a small router on the backing plate .


Then all that left is attaching the picture hangers and cleaning up.




26 thoughts on “Art, Arduino, Sound Sensors, LEDs, and Star Wars!

  1. Man that’s just awesome. I have millions of artwork that run across my mind that i can do with this, i’ve got to start sourcing for materials.

  2. This is a very interesting project. The one thing that bugs me is that it runs off of 8 AA batteries — is there any way to adapt it to plug into the wall? In particular, how could the light strip be run from a wall outlet? (preferably along with the arduino, but that could be run from a USB port otherwise, I imagine)

    1. All you’d need to do is replace battery pack with 12v power supply.
      12V DC Power Adapter Supply 2.1mm 1A, CCTV

      It would run to the same vin and ground port powering the arduino and led. I used the battery because I hate visible wires and I really only turbot on for parties. Another option would be a rechargeable battery pack that would give youthe best of both worlds

      Talentcell 12V DC Output Lithium Ion Battery Pack For LED Strip/Light/Panel/Amplifier And CCTV Camera With Charger, Multi-led indicator Black (3000mAh)

  3. Hey, I’m wondering if anyone can fill me in with a elementary dummed down version of how to connect everything in the schematic… My son is attempting to build something similar, but he doesn’t understand the schematic connections. The only thing I can’t seem to interpret for him are how the nodes work with multiple connections as shown in the diagram. He is building it as a gift for a friend.Where the node connections are, is it as simple as creating the node with 3 separate wires, soldering all of them together? Apoligies for the vague question – hopefully someone can interpret my concerns… Any takers??? It would be very much appreciated to help him perceive and achieve this creative project. Thanks!

  4. I have some problems with compiling the code in Arduino. There is always problem with the lines fade(redNow,redNew)

    can you give me some help? thank you for this great project!

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