There is a castle on a cloud
I like to go there in my sleep
Aren't any floors for me to sweep
Not in my castle on a cloud

- Castle On A Cloud, from Les Miserables / Claude-Michel Schönberg

Build your own castle-on-a-cloud from recycled glass bottles and make it glow with NeoPixels. Each bottle is topped with a whimsical, electrically conductive clay sculpture. We've wired all the sculptures to a capacitive touch pad sensor and speaker, so each bottle lights up and sounds a pretty tone when it's touched. You can play this castle like a musical instrument! And if you touch the small bottle near the entry, the castle will play a song for you, with a lovely LED animation accompanying it.

The full build is fairly complicated, with a lot of wires and soldering and fiddling, but the end result is absolutely breathtaking. Get ready to dig in and become a song castle virtuoso.

If you love the idea but aren't a musician, we've also included instructions for a simplified lights-only version that's really easy to assemble. It's not interactive, but it's still going to show off your bottle artwork beautifully.

Adafruit Products Needed

Circuit Playground Bluefruit - Bluetooth Low Energy

PRODUCT ID: 4333
Circuit Playground Bluefruit is our third board in the Circuit Playground series, another step towards a perfect introduction to electronics and programming. We've...
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2 x Side-Light NeoPixels
Adafruit NeoPixel LED Side Light Strip - Black 90 LED
1 x Power Terminal
Female DC Power adapter - 2.1mm jack to screw terminal block
1 x Power Supply
5V 4A (4000mA) switching power supply - UL Listed
1 x Bolt-on Kit (for no-solder version)
Bolt-On Kit for Circuit Playground, micro:bit, Flora or Gemma (Optional)

If you're making the capacitive touch musical version you'll also need:

1 x Capacitive Touch Breakout
Adafruit 12-Key Capacitive Touch Sensor Breakout - MPR121
2 x Speaker
Adafruit STEMMA Speaker - Plug and Play Audio Amplifier
1 x Speaker Cable
JST PH 3-pin Plug-Plug Cable - 100mm long
3 x Wire
Silicone Cover Stranded-Core Wire - 25ft 26AWG, in red, black, and white

Additional Materials

  • Glass bottles in varying sizes - my castle has 11 bottles
  • 1/8" or thicker acrylic or polycarbonate sheet for the base. Mine is 6.5" x 35"
  • Base frame material - I used leftover wood siding
  • Air-dry clay - you can find this at any craft store or online
  • Powdered graphite - often available at art / craft stores, or online
  • Metallic gold paint and/or metallic gold spray paint
  • Mirror Spray Paint by Rustoleum
  • Colored glass, shells, jewels, cellophane wrap, shiny vinyl, or other decorative findings
  • Clear packing tape - 2" wide
  • Zip ties
  • E6000 Glue

Tools Needed

To make the lights-only version, you'll need a screw driver and wire cutters / strippers.

For the capacitive touch version, you'll also need a soldering iron and accessories. 

You may also find it helpful to have a heat gun, a hot glue gun, and a saw or woodworking tools for building the frame. 

This guide was first published on Jul 15, 2020. It was last updated on Jul 15, 2020.
This page (Overview) was last updated on Aug 02, 2020.