In this Project, we’re building a rocket-themed NeoPixel lamp, using a Circuit Playground Express. The cardboard lamp will create a colourful ambient light most of the time, and when the button on the Circuit Playground Express is pressed, a light-and-sound countdown procedure will begin.

This would be a great project to do with kids - there’s no soldering required, and the most dangerous tool you’ll need is a craft knife or pair of sharp scissors. There are also lots of possible software or hardware extensions, so you can take the project wherever you like.

If you haven't worked with the Circuit Playground Express before, check out the introductory guide here. There's also the NeoPixel Überguide if you're new to NeoPixels. 

The Circuit Playground Express runs CircuitPython code to run the lights and make the sound. This project also features a 50cm long NeoPixel LED strip, which comes pre-soldered with alligator clip leads so you can clip ‘em right up to the Circuit Playground board. Handy!


1 x Adafruit Circuit Playground Express
The brains of the project
1 x Alligator Clip LED Strip - 60 LED/m 30cm
Lights up the inside of the rocket
1 x microUSB to USB cable
To download the code and (optionally) power the project
1 x Lithium Ion Polymer Battery - 3.7v 500mAh [optional]
Provides optional battery power to the project
1 x AA batteries, 3 pack
Alkaline AA batteries (LR6) - 3 pack
1 x 5V 2.5A Switching Power Supply with 20AWG MicroUSB Cable
An alternate, more permanent wall power supply, if desired
1 x Flat sheets of fluted cardboard
Forms the body of the rocket
1 x Roll of masking tape
Holds it all together!
1 x Sheet of tracing paper or printer paper
Forms the front of the rocket and diffuse the light


1 x Strong scissors
To cut the cardboard with
1 x Craft knife or box cutter
Good for cutting fiddly holes
1 x Cutting mat
Protect your table!
1 x Hot glue gun and glue sticks
To attach cardboard & components
1 x Printer or Laser Cutter
To make the template for cutting the rocket
1 x Makedo Cardboard Toolkit [optional]
This would be another, more kid-friendly way to build this project

This guide was first published on Mar 04, 2019. It was last updated on Nov 27, 2023.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Feb 22, 2019.

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