Overview

Whether it's crawling across the floor, popping out of a grave, or snapping its fingers to a catchy tune, the disembodied hand is a scary movie staple. It's also the perfect prop for your Halloween display -- especially when you add flashing lights and eerie music!

This version is quick to make and easy enough for kids to do themselves (or with a little adult help). The hand itself is made completely of masking tape. Inside is a circuit made with peel-and-stick fabric conductive tape. The lights in the fingers are Adafruit LED Sequins, but you could even use ordinary LEDs. And the palm lights and the coding are all done in simple to use, block-based Microsoft MakeCode on the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express (CPX for short).

Feeling fancy? Instead of Sequins, this guide also shows you a solder-free way to attach an Adafruit NeoPixel LED Dots Strand, and run pre-made animations or control each individual color-changing light with MakeCode.

Ready to pay a call on this disembodied hand? Let's get started!

Parts List -- Electronics

The Circuit Playground Express lets you create your own light sequence and add music to your creepy, kooky creation! You will need one for both versions of this project. The base kit also includes a USB cable for programming the board, plus batteries and a battery holder to make the project portable.

Circuit Playground Express - Base Kit

PRODUCT ID: 3517
It's the Circuit Playground Express Base Kit! It provides the few things you'll need to get started with the new
$29.95
IN STOCK

Here is what you'll need to make the version using non-programmable LEDs.

Conductive Nylon Fabric Tape - 8mm Wide x 10 meters long

PRODUCT ID: 3960
With our fun assortment of conductive materials,
$3.95
IN STOCK

Adafruit LED Sequins - Multicolor Pack of 5

PRODUCT ID: 3377
Sew a little sparkle into your wearable project with an Adafruit LED Sequin. These are the kid-sister to our popular Flora NeoPixel,...
$3.95
IN STOCK

Or, to make the version with programmable lights throughout, this is what to get:

Adafruit NeoPixel LED Dots Strand - 20 LEDs at 2" Pitch

PRODUCT ID: 3630
Attaching NeoPixel strips to your costume can be a struggle as the flexible PCBs can crack when bent too much. So how to add little dots of color? Use these stranded NeoPixel dots!...
$27.50
IN STOCK

Bolt-On Kit for Circuit Playground, micro:bit, Flora or Gemma

PRODUCT ID: 4103
You have a Circuit Playground Express, and want to connect some wires to it for adding LEDs or sensors or speakers? You can use our...
$1.50
IN STOCK

Tools

For both versions of this project you will need scissors.

For the NeoPixel LED Dots Strand version you will also need:

  • small Phillips head screwdriver
  • wire stripper, like the one below

Hakko Professional Quality 20-30 AWG Wire Strippers

PRODUCT ID: 527
These are the finest wire strippers we have used, and if you have to do a lot of wiring, you will agree! They have soft rounded grips - very comfortable to use, and precision ground...
$14.95
IN STOCK

Materials List -- Household and Crafts Supplies

Other supplies you will need are:

  • masking tape
  • cardstock or other heavy paper
  • disposible straw, tongue depressor, or stiff paper rolled up into a straw-shaped tube
  • (optional) craft stick or coffee stirrer
  • (optional) clear tape
  • thin adhesive dots or double-sided tape, preferably removable
This guide was first published on Oct 28, 2019. It was last updated on Oct 28, 2019. This page (Overview) was last updated on Nov 04, 2019.