Final Assembly

I lined up the strip inside the frame, with the first pixel placed according to my layout plan. Remember, we're looking at it from the inside, so I had to flip it over in my head to be sure I had the correct corner.

Attach the LED strip to the inside corner of the outer frame using silicone adhesive. This kind from Devcon is my favorite silicone glue. You can't use E6000 or hot glue or just about any other kind of glue on the silicone LED shielding -- hardly anything sticks to silicone, so shell out for the right kind of glue.

I drilled a hole through the corner of my shoji screen so I could feed the wires through to the back of the project, to keep them out of sight.

I placed the outer frame onto the shoji screen and poked the NeoPixel wires through the hole. They were too short to reach the CLUE in the spot I'd planned to mount it, so I used solder seal connectors to lengthen all four wires, and made them long enough to reach the CLUE.

These connectors are really easy to use. Strip about 1/4 inch of shielding from the end of each wire. Twist the wires together firmly, to make a strong physical connection. They shouldn't come apart when you tug on them gently. 

Then, slide the heat shrink connector on so the middle gray ring is positioned right on top of your twisted bare wires. This bit has some metal solder in it -- the other two rings (red, in my case) have hot melt glue. 

Use a heat gun to shrink the connector. Hold it on there for a good 20-30 seconds until you see the solder ring melt and spread out a bit. Now you have a soldered, sealed, water-tight wire splice. Awesome!

Please be careful with craft knives and hot glue to prevent injury.

I decided where I wanted to mount the CLUE, and carefully cut through the paper from the back with a very sharp utility knife. Then, I mounted the CLUE in the hole using hot glue. Hot glue is a great choice for mounting electronics since it's really easy to remove -- 99% alcohol on a cotton swab will dissolve the sticking power of the glue completely without damaging the CLUE. This was lucky since I didn't get it centered in the hole the first time, and I was able to reposition it fairly easily.

Next, it was time to attach the frame to the shoji screen. Since there are electronics inside, I didn't want to glue it with wood glue or anything too permanent. If my LED strip fails at some point in the future I want to be able to fix it. Hot glue to the rescue again. I glued all four corners and pressed the frame into place, and it's staying very well.

Finally, it was time to add the moss! This was the most fun part. I arranged all the moss to get a lovely mix of textures and colors in each section of the frame. Once I was happy with the layout, I used hot glue on the back of each piece of moss to secure it to the paper. I packed the moss in fairly tightly so no white paper shows through, and trimmed along the small black separators to make the whole thing look tidy.

Finally, I added picture hanging hardware on the back of the frame, and hung it on the wall! Button A on the CLUE board turns the LEDs on and off, and button B turns just the screen on and off. 

The moss has a lovely smell, and a delightful touchable texture. I'm delighted with my weather-predicting vertical garden.

This guide was first published on May 06, 2020. It was last updated on May 06, 2020.
This page (Final Assembly) was last updated on May 06, 2020.