Overview

Add animated lights to all your pet beasties with NeoPixels and Circuit Playground. 

This guide will detail how I added lights to a hand-made paper mache dragon. The same techniques will work any sculpted or paper-crafted hollow beastie, dragon, unicorn, or monster. You could also add lights to a pre-made halloween mask or decoration. Circuit Playground makes it easy to bring all your monster friends to life.

Parts & Materials

This dragon is powered by a Circuit Playground Express. It has two different kinds of lights: a 30/m NeoPixel strip, and a 4" pitch NeoPixel strand. 

Power is provided by a 5v power supply that plugs directly into the Circuit Playground's USB port. I've added JST connectors between the Circuit Playground and the NeoPixels to make it easy to mount and adjust the dragon. And it has a capacitive touch on/off switch made from copper tape.

1 x Circuit Playground Express
Circuit Playground Express
1 x NeoPixel Strip
30/m NeoPixel Strip, for Spines
1 x NeoPixel Strand
4" Pitch NeoPixel Strand
1 x 26 awg Wire
Silicone Stranded Wire in various colors
1 x Power Supply
5V USB Power Supply
2 x 3-Pin Connectors
JST Connectors
1 x Copper Tape
Copper Foil Tape for On/Off Switch

Materials Needed for a Paper Mache Dragon

  • Newspaper and masking tape
  • Cotton cloth (an old pillowcase or bed sheet works great)
  • White flour and white glue
  • 16 g wire (coat hanger wire)
  • Hot glue
  • Acrylic paints
  • Polymer clay for the claws & teeth
  • Mounting board
  • Ostrich egg shell

I also used an assortment of tools including:

  • Soldering iron & accessories
  • Wire cutters
  • Dremel / rotary tool
  • Miter saw for making the mounting board
  • Drill with 1/2 inch drill bit
This guide was first published on Apr 02, 2019. It was last updated on Apr 02, 2019. This page (Overview) was last updated on Aug 12, 2019.