Feather Setup

The hardware build for this project is fairly simple and straightforward.  The software part is a little trickier and requires a bit of setup.

If you're a newbie to Arduino, start with this guide.

If you have never used a Feather, start with this guide.

If you're not comfortable installing libraries, here's the guide for you.

Be sure you have the Feather boards set up and working (be sure you can run the "Blink" sketch) before proceeding.

Pixel Testing Setup

Whenever you work with neopixels, testing at each step means you'll catch any shorts or mistakes early.  Plus you get to see your lights come on right away which makes the whole process much more fun and satisfying.

My favorite way to test neopixels is using a Gemma microcontroller and some alligator clips.  The Gemma is inexpensive and really easy to use for prototyping.  You can test any combination of wires without soldering or mucking about with breadboards and headers.  

You'll need to make sure you have Adafruit's board support installed as well as the Adafruit Neopixel library.

Plug your Gemma in to your computer using its USB port.  Open your Arduino IDE and select Adafruit Gemma from your Boards menu.

Go to File > Examples > Adafruit_Neopixel > strandtest and open the strandtest code.  Find this line at the top:

Download: file
#define PIN 6

Change PIN to 1 instead of 6.

Press the Reset button on the Gemma to get it into bootloader mode, and then immediately press the upload button in Arduino to upload the code.

Then, get your alligator clips out and hook them up thusly:

Wire Color

Gemma Pin

NeoPixel Pin

Black

G

Red

Vout

+

Yellow

D1

Arrow pointing toward LED

The clips' colors will correspond to the wire colors used in the rest of this project.   You can power the Gemma from the USB port or plug a battery in to the JST connector.  As you're soldering pixels together, hook each one up to the Gemma to be sure it comes on and shows all the colors.

Tip: if testing NeoPixels on a “live” circuit, always connect the ground (black) wire first, and disconnect it last. There's a small chance of damaging a NeoPixel otherwise.

Flower Setup

If you're working with silk or latex flowers, your job is easy.  Choose the ones you like.  Remember that silk flowers go "out of season" at local craft stores just like real flowers do, so give yourself time to order online if you want specific flowers. 

A good search term is "Real Nature Touch" -- these are good quality latex flowers that feel and look almost like the real thing.

I used real flowers, but still picked up a few latex ones just to experiment on.

Calla lilies are wonderful at hiding neopixels.  I ordered my flowers from CalCallas.com.  Plan to have your flowers delivered a couple days before your event -- fresh, quality flowers will open up just a little more in those last few days and your bouquet will be at its peak.  And remember, you don't want to be rushing to finish it on the day of the wedding.  

I ordered over the phone and they put together a custom 20-flower order for me with Picaso purple, white and yellow flowers, for a lot less money than ordering a pre-assembled bouquet.  My finished bouquet had 17 flowers, leaving one for the boutonniere and two for a Mother-of-the-Groom boutonniere.

This guide was first published on Sep 02, 2016. It was last updated on Sep 02, 2016.
This page (Planning and Testing) was last updated on Feb 23, 2020.