We love light painting and over the years we have created a number of Learn Guides on the topic, ranging from simple to highly sophisticated.

With this project, painting with light in long exposure photographs has never been easier. You can explore this beautiful artform with a digital camera that has manual setting, or even a smart phone with an app, and build your own Light Paintstick to draw bitmapped images in midair!

Look below each light painting photo in this guide to see the bitmap image that was running on the Light Paintstick.


1 x Adafruit HalloWing M0 Express
Skull-shaped ATSAMD21 board w 1.44" 128x128 TFT display
1 x NeoPixel Strip 0.5 Meter
with 3-pin JST connector

Alternative microcontroller and NeoPixel strip option:

1 x Circuit Playground Express
Round, Awesome Microcontroller Board
1 x NeoPixel LED Strip w/ Alligator Clips
60 LED/m - 0.5 Meter Long - Black Flex


In addition to the parts listed above, you'll need the following materials:

  • Wooden yardstick (available at any hardware store)
  • Zip ties
  • Optional saw to cut the yardstick length down a bit
  • Optional sandpaper for shaping the yardstick handle
  • Optional matte gray spray paint for the yardstick

And, a camera with manual control of shutter speed and exposure aperture, or a long exposure/"light trails" application for your smart phone, as well as a tripod or other way to secure your camera. It helps (and is lots of fun!) to have a friend to help you out during photo shoots.

This guide was first published on Aug 24, 2018. It was last updated on Nov 27, 2023.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Aug 19, 2018.

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