The Oxford English Dictionary added the word "selfie" in 2013, but its usage is documented as early as 2002. It's one of the most popular uses of the modern smart phone. And let's face it - people love taking selfies. 

More and more businesses and events are taking note of this fact and building in locations where people can stand and get a really great selfie for Instagram or Facebook, or a unique and fun video for TikTok. And with the Zoom Boom happening thanks to Covid 19, people want interesting backdrops in their homes as well. 

This guide will show you how to build your own custom selfie spot out of LED Neon. It's easy to assemble, it's mobile, and it's also easy to take apart and re-configure, when you decide you're ready for a change of scenery.

There's no coding required. Just choose the colors you want, lay them out, and plug them in to get a magical glowing wall of selfie goodness.

Difficulty Level

This is an easy beginner project that doesn't require soldering. I did do a bit of soldering on mine because I wanted to neaten up the wires on the back, but it's absolutely possible to build this without touching a soldering iron. You just need a pair of wire snips and a screwdriver.

Materials

Flexible Silicone Neon-Like LED Strip - 1 Meter

PRODUCT ID: 3860
Here at Adafruit we love discovering new and exotic glowing things. Like moths to the flame, we were intrigued by these fresh Flexible Silicone Neon-Like LED...
$13.95
IN STOCK

First, you'll need some LED neon. It comes in most of the colors of the rainbow. Each strip is 1 meter long, and it is definitely possible to solder them together into longer lengths or cut them to shorter lengths. How much you need and what color will depend on your design.

Note: There is also color-changing RGB Neon available, but that kind requires a microcontroller and some code to tell it what color to be. You can most definitely incorporate that into your project, but it's beyond the scope of this guide. We're keeping it simple with solid colors.

12V 5A switching power supply

PRODUCT ID: 352
This is a beefy switching supply, for when you need a lot of power! It can supply 12V DC up to 5 Amps, running from 110V or 220V power (the plug it comes with is for US/Canada/Japan...
$24.95
IN STOCK

You will also need a 12v power supply. My project uses 6 1-meter strips, and this power supply works great for that. 

Female DC Power adapter - 2.1mm jack to screw terminal block

PRODUCT ID: 368
If you need to connect a DC power wall wart to a board that doesn't have a DC jack - this adapter will come in very handy! There is a 2.1mm DC jack on one end, and a screw terminal...
$2.00
IN STOCK

Finally, you need a screw terminal to connect from the Neon strip to the power supply. Order a few of these! They're inexpensive and can sometimes break, so it's great to have a couple extras on hand. Also, having a handful of these will give you much more flexibility with your wire management.

Additional Parts You May Need

Depending on your setup, you may want to get some splitters or some additional wire to help with connecting power to all your neon strips. I also recommend getting an inline power switch so you can turn your project on and off without unplugging.

1 x Power Switch
In-line power switch for 2.1mm barrel jack
1 x 2-way Splitter
2-Way 2.1mm DC Barrel Jack Splitter Squid
1 x 4-way Splitter
4-Way 2.1mm DC Barrel Jack Splitter
1 x Red Wire
Silicone Cover Stranded-Core Wire - 25ft 26AWG - Red
1 x Black Wire
Silicone Cover Stranded-Core Wire - 25ft 26AWG - Black
1 x Heat Shrink
Heat Shrink Pack

Frame Materials

This design uses a window screen kit from the hardware store as the frame. We'll wire the neon to the screen using bits of thin craft wire. Window screen kits are affordable (mine was less than $25 all inclusive) and are designed to be built into custom sizes and shapes.

Check your local hardware store, or look online for window screen kits, and don't forget the installation tool. 

You'll also need some thin craft wire to wire the neon to the screen. Look for around 22g, it's easy to find either online or at your local craft store. I'm sure most hardware stores will carry it also.

This guide was first published on Oct 14, 2020. It was last updated on 2020-10-14 11:37:01 -0400.
This page (Overview) was last updated on Oct 21, 2020.