Build the Interactive Painting

Let's build the interactive painting! First, download the image below and print two copies of it on a color printer.

Create the Moving Head

  • Use a hobby knife or scissors to cut out the head from one of the prints
  • To strengthen the head, we'll glue it to a piece of cardstock. Trace the head onto a piece of cardstock and cut it out
  • Glue the head to the cardstock
  • Use hot melt glue to attach a servo horn to the back of the head

Prepare the Background

The second print will be the background of our interactive painting. Let's prep it for use.

  • Measure and mark the print's dimensions onto a piece of thin cardboard, a.k.a. chipboard, using a straight edge and pencil
  • Cut out the cardboard with a hobby knife and straight edge or scissors
  • Use a glue stick to adhere the backside of the print to the chipboard
  • Smooth out the print to avoid any bubbles
  • Center the print on the cardboard backing that came with the frame, then affix it with a strip of tape at the top (the mat will hide this)
  • Center the head and servo horn over the background head, then press down a bit to make an impression -- you'll use this mark as a guide for cutting out a hole to allow the horn to fit. The servo will be on the other side of the cardboard
  • Cut out the hole using a hobby knife or awl so that the collar of the servo horn fits in place. Make sure the hole goes all the way through so we can connect the servo on the other side

Mount the Servo

Now, we'll attach the servo to the cardboard frame backing.

  • Increase the size of the hole a bit so the servo's keyed circular portion fits. The flat housing will lie flush with the cardboard
  • Put the servo in place
  • Use hot glue to secure the servo

Mount and Frame Backing

Now that the servo is mounted to the frame backing, with the print on the front, we can place it all inside the frame. Lay the mat into the frame, and then place the cardboard.

You can then fold down the metal tabs and get ready to mount the rest of the hardware.

Mount and Wire the Crickit

  • Use four nylon M2.5 standoffs to mount the Crickit. You can attach four of them to the Crickit's mounting holes with four nylon M2.5 screws to get the position right, then glue them in place with hot glue
  • You can leave the Crickit attached -- it is shown here detached so you can see the mounted standoffs

For the remaining parts:

  • Use hot glue to affix the battery pack in place next to the Crickit so it can plug into the power jack
  • Connect the two speaker wires to the Crickit's speaker port and screw them in place, then tape the speaker to the cardboard as shown. This provides good resonance for the sound and it will be plenty loud!
  • Plug the micro servo into the Crickit's Servo 1 port with the yellow signal wire nearest the outside edge of the board

The circuit is complete!

Add Frame Standoffs

You'll notice that the parts on the back of our painting will prevent the frame from hanging normally. So, we'll attach some scrap wood to push the frame out away from the wall a bit and provide clearance.

Wood Blocks

 

I used a couple of piece of scrap 1/2" thick plywood roughly 1-1/2" x 6". The 1-1/2" height is enough to allow all of the parts to clear the wall when hung

 

I glued them in place with high temperature hot melt glue, which works well -- an even stronger method would be to use wood glue and clamps.

 

I also added a small block of wood for extra support at the top as I used the top piece for hanging.

While the glue cures, let's program the Circuit Playground Express using CircuitPython!

This guide was first published on Jul 30, 2018. It was last updated on Jul 30, 2018. This page (Build the Interactive Painting) was last updated on Sep 15, 2019.