I know how the birds fly, how the fishes swim, how animals run. But there is the Dragon. I cannot tell how it mounts on the winds through the clouds and flies through heaven. Today I have seen the Dragon.

-Confucius

Chinese dragons are iconic symbols of Chinese culture and festivals, with their vibrant colors and intricate designs. This tutorial will show you how to turn an inexpensive Chinese dragon decoration into an animated stick puppet, and then how to take your dragon puppet to the next level, adding motion-reactive flame lights that create a stunning visual effect to mesmerize your audience.

This is an easy beginner-level project that involves a little bit of soldering. You can download our code sample, or learn to make your own flame effects using MakeCode, Microsoft's drag-and-drop code editor. This is a fantastic project to do with kids.

Parts

A Black woman's manicured hand holds a round microcontroller with lit up LEDs.
Circuit Playground Express is the next step towards a perfect introduction to electronics and programming. We've taken the original Circuit Playground Classic and...
$24.95
In Stock
USB cable - USB A to Micro-B - 3 foot long
This here is your standard A to micro-B USB cable, for USB 1.1 or 2.0. Perfect for connecting a PC to your Metro, Feather, Raspberry Pi or other dev-board or...
$2.95
In Stock
Adafruit NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Strip reel wired to a microcontroller, with all the LEDs in a rainbow
You thought it couldn't get better than our world-famous 32-LED-per-meter Digital LED strip but we will prove you wrong! You wanted...
$99.80
In Stock
1 x On/Off Switch
JST 2-pin Extension Cable with On/Off Switch - JST PH2
1 x Battery
Lithium Ion Polymer Battery - 3.7v 500mAh
1 x Battery Charger
Switched JST-PH 2-Pin SMT Right Angle Breakout Board
1 x Silicone Wire Cable
Silicone Cover Stranded-Core Ribbon Cable - 4 Wires 1 Meter Long - 26AWG Black
1 x Heat Shrink
Food-Grade Heat Shrink - 3/8" diameter 12" long

Additional Tools & Materials

  • Chinese Dragon Decoration: I used this one from Amazon.
  • Soldering iron & accessories
  • Hot Glue gun
  • Zip ties
  • Two wooden dowels for control rods
  • A handful of fiberfill pillow stuffing for diffusion

This guide was first published on Mar 14, 2023. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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