Add gorgeous illumination to your favorite work of art with neopixels and Circuit Playground.   This guide includes arduino code for a flame effect, and you can easily modify or add your own code to illuminate paintings of landscapes, rainbows, oceans, muscle cars, or whatever suits your style.  

A small rosette serves as a capacitive touch on/off toggle switch.  Touch it gently and the painting will flare up.  Touch it again and the flames slowly fade to nothingness.

1 x Circuit Playground Classic
Circuit Playground Classic
1 x 144/m Neopixels
Neopixels -- Skinny or Regular
3 x Silicone Stranded Wire
26 awg stranded wire in at least 3 colors
1 x Screw Terminal
Female screw terminal
1 x Power Supply
5v 2a power supply
1 x Diode
1N4001 Diode

Additional Materials

  • Art Canvas that's at least 1" thick
  • Bristol board as wide as the canvas
  • Soldering Iron & Accessories
  • Clear packing tape
  • Hot glue
  • Solid, uncoated metal jewelry finding or button

Tips & Tricks

I used a canvas from a local craft store that's around 1 1/4 inch thick on the sides, and painted with regular acrylic paint.  The thickness of the canvas creates space behind the painting that allows the light from the LEDs to diffuse beautifully.  I'm using super high density 144/m neopixels because they give me a gorgeous, buttery smooth animation.  

I created a painting that has both light and dark areas.  The dark acrylic paint blocks the light and the lighter areas let the light through.  You'll have best success if you match the paint colors to the neopixel colors -- they do get filtered through the paint color.

I used a small metal rosette with a sewable loop on the back for my capacitive touch on/off switch.  I got this at a jewelry store, and it's just right for the purpose -- the sewable hole allows me to solder a wire firmly to the back of the button, and it's small enough and low-profile enough that it adds to the overall look of the artwork.  You could also use artfully cut copper tape, a coin, or any other non-coated metal finding.  Look in the scrapbooking section or the jewelry section at your local craft store if you don't have anything like this.

Also, remember that this painting will need to be plugged in.  It's a good idea to think about how to get power to the painting's location without having to run ugly wires along your wall.  

This guide was first published on Mar 20, 2018. It was last updated on Jun 18, 2024.

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

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