Cut out the Shapes

The first few clouds I made a few years back, I tried to make the base frame look more like a cloud thinking that it would make the outside of the cloud look more fluffy. No matter the shape of the frame, cloud is going to do what cloud will do. So I switched to just making an oval with a slightly flatter bottom and it looks just like all the other more complex ones. So keep things simple.

  1. Place the two speakers onto your foam core or cardboard so you can trace them out for later. Be sure to leave plenty of space for the outer shape of the cloud.
  2. Continue this for other parts of the frame, remembering to add holes for the button and wires to be strung through them.
  3. Use a cutting tool to cut out all of the layers for your cloud. Do not forget to cut holes for your wires and the speakers. Keep in mind that all of this will be covered with fluffy stuff to hide the crimes.

I did four layers for this cloud but you can make it as big or small as you like.

The First Layer

  1. You will want to install the button into the first layer so that it will end up on the bottom of the cloud for easy access.
  2. Use some of the cut-out pieces from your foam core or cardboard to make two pieces that can be added to the button.
  3. Glue these pieces to the button top so that it can extend further down through some of the cloud fluff to make it easy to press.
  4. Place the first layer onto the speakers and glue them in place with the button facing out.

The Second Layer

  1. Place the second layer down over the backs of the two speakers and down to the back of the button. Glue this to the speakers as well.
  2. Use double sided tape or a zip tie to hold the Metro M4 onto place between the speakers.
  3. Connect one end of the DC power cable splitter to the 2.1mm DC jack on the Metro M4.
  4. Connect the button wires to the following pins:
    1. Black wire to GND pin
    2. Yellow wire to A2 pin

The Third Layer

  1. Place part of the third layer about half way down over the Metro M4 power and USB connector.
  2. You may want to also connect a USB cable to the Metro M4 so that your can program it later.
  3. You can glue the stereo headphone jack down to make it easy to connect the audio cable later.
  4. Connect the 3.5mm headphone jack assembly wires to the following pins:
    1. Black wire to GND pin
    2. Blue wire to A0 pin
  5. Connect the Orange NeoPixel wire to the 2 Pin 
  6. Get all of the wires gathered towards the center and glue the other side of layer 3 to the speakers.
  7. Connect the power connector for the speakers to the other end of the DC Barrel Jack Splitter.
  8. Connect the speakers audio plug into the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Top Layer

  1. To make it easy to change the volume of the cloud, I cut a slot to fit part of the volume control through the fourth layer and glued it into place.
  2. Feed the end of the DC Barrel Jack Splitter through the hole in the fourth layer along with the NeoPixel strip and the USB cable if that you may have connected.
  3. Glue the fourth layer to the top of the speakers to hold it in place.

Adding LEDs

Now we will be wrapping the NeoPixel strip around the cloud. This cloud uses 150 NeoPixels but you could add more if you want it brighter or to make a larger cloud.

  1. Start at one end of the cloud and as best you can, wrap the NeoPixel strip securing it with zip ties.
  2. Continue wrapping the cloud with the LED strip trying to keep things as evenly spaced as you can securing with zip ties where needed.
  3. When you get to the other end of the cloud, use another zip tie to hold the end of the LED strip in place.
  4. You can use one final zip tie to make a loop that will let you hang the cloud up when finished.

Adding some fluffy stuff

Clouds are fluffy and so we will use some Poly-Fil polyester fiber and hot glue to make it happen. It is a good idea to go slow and use smaller pieces for this to ensure that everything holds together nicely.

The following video shows you how I put a bit of hot glue down on the cloud frame and apply a bit of the Poly-Fil over and over again.

I tend to leave a bit on the top without Poly-Fil just so I can access the volume control and the DC plug.

This guide was first published on Apr 08, 2020. It was last updated on Apr 08, 2020.
This page (Build the cloud) was last updated on Aug 30, 2020.