Prepare the NeoPixel Strip

The NeoPixel Strip comes in a protective plastic sheathing. When you curve it around to fit inside the heart, it makes a handy ledge to rest the inner mirror on. However -- fun fact! -- glue won't stick to the silicone it is made out of.

Instead, to keep the NeoPixel strip in place, you will use mini zip-ties to connect it to itself, and to attach strips of cardstock which you can then glue to the inside of the box.

Fasten the Ends Together

With the LEDs facing inwards, pinch the ends of the strip together to make a heart shape. Wrap a mini zip-tie around the ends at a spot where it is not covering any LEDs and pull tightly. Snip off the extra with scissors.

Attach Glue Tabs

Add a few more zip ties around the strip where you would like to secure it to the inside of the box. Before you tighten it all the way, insert a thin strip of cardstock under the zip tie on the outside of the light strip.

To attach a strip of cardstock to the indent at the top of the heart, take a zip tie and fasten it loosely to make a loop. Then take another zip tie and use it to attach the loop above the ends of the LED strip, as shown.

Insert a strip of cardstock into the second zip-tie, then tighten both zip ties to hold the cardstock in place.

If you want to trace around your NeoPixel strip to mark the opening in the lid, do that now.

Connect the NeoPixel Strip to the Gemma M0 Board

Before you glue your NeoPixel strip in place, connect it to the microcontroller board so you can test out your code as you write it.

The NeoPixel Strip has three alligator clip wires you can attach right to the pins (numbered holes) on the Gemma M0.

  • The black wire is ground. Attach it to the pin marked GND.
  • The white wire is the signal. This connects to the pin you will program to tell the lights what to do. For this project, attach it to pin D1.
  • The red wire is power. Attach it to the pin marked VOUT (which stands for Voltage Output).

Connect the Battery Holder

The battery holder can plug right into the board using the JST connector. Leave it turned off until you're ready to attach the whole thing to the candy box. The Gemma can run off the computer while you're programming it.

Now go to the next page to find out how to program your board and lights in MakeCode!

This guide was first published on Feb 05, 2019. It was last updated on Feb 05, 2019. This page (Prepare the NeoPixel Strip) was last updated on May 10, 2019.