This is a perfect DIY Christmas Tree for small homes, apartments or an office where you don't want a real tree and do want a little Christmas spirit.
You can go simple or complex with the design here but I chose to go pretty simple with some this redwood shelves for branches and LED strip lights for typical Christmas lights.
Step 1: DIY Tree and Components
- Wood, (I used redwood, but branches work very well)
- A plywood board
- Paint, I used white, but any color will do
- LED Strip lights
- 8 AA Batteries or 12v AC Adapter
- 5 TIP31 Transistors
- 5 1k Ohm Resistors
- Hookup wires
- Soldering Iron
- Arduino Uno
On a 2 x 3 foot plywood board layout your branches or cut wood and either glue, screw or nail the wood to the board in a pattern mimicking a Christmas tree structure. I painted the board but you could leave it natural. Once the boards are attached you can use your scissors to cut the LED lights into a star pattern and solder them together, making sure red goes to red and black to black. Peel the tape off and stick them to the board.
Cut strips of lights to fit the wood for each branch and wire them to a lead, drilling a hole near the branch to run the line out the back of the board.
I then created a small shelf made of plywood on the side of the board to hold all the components. I placed the Arduino, batteries, breadboards and all the wiring on the shelf, connected all the wires and uploaded the program to the Arduino.
Of course you can create any light sequence you want, but I tried to replicate a little of Darth Vader's Theme from Star Wars.
To create each circuit I used a TIP31 transistor in the following fashion. From the Base connect a 1k ohm resistor to the pin of the Arduino, ground the Emitter and connect the Collector to the negative of the LED, while giving the red lead a 12 volt power supply. The power on the Arduino is not great enough to power the LED alone so you must use something with more power, like a battery.
If you want the lights on all the time, especially the star and the trunk just connect them right to the 12v supply and not to the Arduino.
If you intend to make this permanent you might want to construct a better box to house everything.
Step 2: See Video for More Info
I hope this gives you some ideas about how to create your own tree lighting pattern, or just how to create a tree for a small space with regular Christmas lights. For more a more in depth view, watch the video.