Build Rose's shield from Steven Universe!

This shield lights up and makes sound effects when it takes a hit.

It’s about 20-inches in diameter and completely made from foam boards.

We used two 20x30 inch foam board to create this massive shield.

The handle and all of the components are detachable for easy travel! 

We used microsoft makecode to animate the LEDs with sound effects! Codeblocks makes it fun and easy to learn how to program hardware with the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express.

The electronics are press fitted into the center holder and the LED strip wraps around inside.

Alligator clips makes it easy to connect to the Circuit Playground Express!

We used a vinyl cutter to make the spiral vine thorn out of cardstock. You could also print out the templates and cut them yourself!

Craft Parts/ Tools

To build this project, all you need are some foam poster boards and art supplies. 

Prerequisite Guides

There's resources in these guides that go beyond what's covered in this tutorial. MakeCode guide is all about setting up your Circuit Playground Express board.

TheCircuit Playground Express introduction guide walks you through all of the pinouts, sensors and everything you need to know.

Parts List

This is an easy to copy + paste list of parts linked to their individual product pages.

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Circuit Diagram

This provides a visual reference for wiring of the components. They aren't true to scale, just meant to be used as reference.

Power Pack

The 3xAAA battery pack can supply ~4.5V which is suffice to power the Circuit Playground Express. The battery plugs directs into the JST connector. 

NeoPixel Strip + Extension Alligator Clips


The Alligator clip Neopixel strips connects to the pads on Circuit Playground Express. The wires on the Strip will need a small extension to reach around the shield. We used small Alligator clips to join the strip to the Circuit Playground.

Red connects to Vout

White connects to A1

Black connects to GND

MakeCode for Circuit Playground Express

MakeCode is this programming editor that runs in the Google Chrome web browser. It’s has an intuitive interface that’s both block based and text editor.

It works with Adafruit's Circuit Playground Express so you can make interactive projects with the on-board sensors and components. You can drag & drop blocks to make interactive programs using lights and sounds without having to solder or learning a new syntax.

You can alternatively upload code directly to the Circuit Playground Express with WebUSB, see the steps to do so here.

Setup Circuit Playground Express for MakeCode

To get started, we'll need to head over to the Adafruit MakeCode website and follow the steps below.

  1. Plug in your Circuit Playground Express with a USB Cable
  2. Press the RESET button. Green light means you're ready to MakeCode
  3. Download the UF2 file and drop it onto CPLAYBOOT.


Upload and Test Code

Once you have your CPX setup with the MakeCode UF2, try testing it out by uploading the code to the board.

Click the link below to open up the program in MakeCode. Click on the pink edit icon near the top of the title to open the code.

This will create a project in MakeCode and allow you to edit, modify and upload the code to the board.

on start block

when the CPX is turned on do the following

set strip

setup an external neopixel strip on the A1 pad of the circuit playground express

set brightness 

adjust the brightness of the LEDs on board the Circuit Playground

strip set  brightness 

adjust the brightness of the NeoPixel Strip 

forever block

Run these operations in a loop 

strip show animation

on the CPX, run an animation for specific time

on the strip, run an animation for specific time

on shake block

when a shake is detected, do the following

play tone 

play a tone for a specific time

set brightness 

adjust the brightness of the LEDs on board the Circuit Playground

strip set  brightness 

adjust the brightness of the NeoPixel Strip 

strip set  brightness 

adjust the brightness of the NeoPixel Strip 


clear CPX animation

clear strip animation

set brightness 

adjust the brightness of the LEDs on board the Circuit Playground

strip set  brightness 

adjust the brightness of the NeoPixel Strip 

Cut Templates

We'll start off by printing out all of our paper templates and then carefully cut out each shape. Next, trace the outlines on foam board and cut each copy. We used strips of blue tape to hold the templates in place.

We'll need:

(4) Circles used to mount the Circuit Playground Express

(2) Handles 

(6) Handle mounts

(17) Spacers 

(2) Battery - Large walls

(3) Battery - Small walls

Download the artwork below

Glue Layers

To create the bevel shape in our shield, we'll cut the foam board into four circles and them stack them on top of each other. 


Trace circles with the diameters of: 16cm, 34cm, 45cm and 51cm

You can use a  Rotape Tape Compass or just build one with string and split rings

After cutting out our circles, stack and carefully align each one so it sits right on top of the next layer. Carefully apply glue to the "back side" of the shield.


Glue Handles

Align the two handle halves and combine with hot glue.

Bevel Handle edges

Now we'll want to smooth our handle edges. We'll angle our hobby knife to around 45 degrees and  slowly cut away at the edges until smooth.

Don't add any bevels to the ends of the handle as it will lose tolerance needed to hold it in shield mounts.

Glue Circle CPX Mounts

Stack the four circular mounts on top of each other and then glue each layer together.

Glue Square Handle Mounts

We'll need to make two sets of the square handle mounts. Stack and glue three square mounts together.

Mark mounts

Next, we'll measure how much spacing we'll need for the handles.

Press fit the three copies on each handle and then use a pencil to trace the outlines. 

Mount and Mark Components 

After our glue dries, we'll test fit the components. Press fit the Circuit Playground Express into the circular mount.

LED Strip Mounts

Arrange the Neopixel strip around the center of the shield as shown in the picture. 

Next, we'll align the small square spacer to hold the led strip in place. Mark and glue each square piece.  

Battery holder

Lay the battery close to the "bottom" section of the shield. This will help distribute the weight of the battery. Mark and glue the battery "walls" as shown to allow the pack to press fit into place.

Allow the spacers and battery walls to dry.

Next, we'll remove each component and ready our area to painting!

Paint Shield


Now, we can mix our colors. We watered down white and pink acrylic paint. This helped to allow the LED lights the diffuse and illuminate the shield. Careful not to use too much water in the mixture as in will cause the shield to warp.

After the pink color dried, we mixed green, blue and white to make the teal color around the edge of the shield. 

Glue thorns 

To add the vine and thorn detail, cut out the template and then add the top red and spike layers. We used glue stick to adhere the small thorns to the vine. 

Back diffuser 

The diffuser on the back is made from the same 45cm diameter size from the main shape.

We'll trace the same spacings for the handles on the diffuser and then cut the mounting holes. 

The handle will fit through the diffuser and then into the mounts on the shield! 



Now we can experiment with different animations and sounds! We hope you continue to have fun building and crafting your shield!

This guide was first published on Feb 06, 2019. It was last updated on Feb 06, 2019.