Introduction: Audio Visual Art....FOTC Style

Picture of Audio Visual Art....FOTC Style

This instructable is based on one I previously posted, Speaker Art and was made for my wife and as a tribute to the best folk parody duo, The Flight of the Conchords. If you have never heard of FOTC, please check them out below. I will show you how to integrate lighting and music into a personal painting. The theme is up to you, but I hope you enjoy this tutorial, and maybe become a fan of the Conchords, enjoy.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

The tools and materials for this instructable are straight forward, and you can improvise and substitute where needed.


Deep Canvas
Paint (acrylic, oil, water, etc) I used acrylic
Variety of brushes
MP3 Player
Slim portable speakers (I got mine for $10)
Coat hanger
PVA and Hot Glue
Electrical wire
LED(I used 5mm blue)
On/Off Switch
Power Supply (9v Battery)
4 small srews


Utility Knife
Wire Cutters
Soldering Iron
A little artistic talent and patience

Step 2: Lets Get Painting

Picture of Lets Get Painting

The First thing we need to do is create your painting. Choose whatever you like, but I think a music theme would be appropriate, but that is up to you. I chose to go for the Andy Warhol Pop Art style. This method is simple, limited in colours, and is very forgiving if you make mistakes.

Now I have been painting for some time, and find that using Photoshop to generate a template is the easiest way. You can find dozens of tutorials online giving the step by step process. If you have trouble, just message me, and I'll talk you through it.

Now you can either project the image on to the canvass with a projector, or do free hand like I did. Below are some progressive pictures of the painting, and the original screen shot I used as focus for the painting.

The painting took about two hours all together.

Step 3: Wire It Up...

Picture of Wire It Up...

Ok, time to wire up the painting. I used 6 blue LED's, 3 - 30 ohm resistors, a simple switch and a 9v battery.. I used to design the schematics and to find out which resistors to use. If you have never used LED's before, search Instructables, as you will find dozens of tutorials to help you out.

I wired everything before I installed it on the frame to make sure it all worked, since we will be gluing it to the frame, you will not be able to change it.

Once you are happy with everything, glue it into place. Make sure you leave some room with the leads to the LED's. This way you can adjust their position when you are finished to get the optimum effect.

Step 4: Let's Make Some Noise...

Picture of Let's Make Some Noise...

Now, take your speakers and position them in the center of the painting and glue them to the base. Make sure you can still access the power supply, whether its mains powered or battery. Make sure there is a gap between the front of the speakers and the canvas; this will help generate better sound quality. I used hot glue to keep them in place.

Step 5: Clean It Up, and Space It Out....

Picture of Clean It Up, and Space It Out....

Once everything is where you like it, paint the back of the canvas to give it that clean look. Once the paint has dried, place 4 screws near each corner. This will help generate a gap between the painting and the wall to increase the "glow" effect. The good thing about the screws is that you can adjust them till you find the perfect medium.

Step 6: Add Some Tunes....and a Cradle...

Picture of Add Some Tunes....and a Cradle...

Ok, we are almost done. Cut a piece from a coat hanger and bend (with pliers) to your desired shape, which will act as a cradle for the MP3 player at the front of the painting. Once you are happy with the shape, give it a coat of paint to match your artwork. When the paint is dry, glue it on to the bass (center of the painting).

Step 7: Enjoy...

Picture of Enjoy...

Ok, find a place on your wall to hang you new masterpiece, hook up the MP3 player, place in the cradle, hit the switch and enjoy. It took a couple of tries to get the desired glow I was looking for. I didn't want something that over powered the painting, but gave a subtle yet noticeable look. The speakers are 3 watts each, and really give off a good sound.

I hope you liked my instructable, and please leave a comment, suggestions for improvements, and pictures of the ones you made. Cheers.


homedogalex (author)2009-08-04

Pretty much finished my painting, took a lot longer than 2 hours though, more like a whole day whilst watching countless films! If you cant tell its Mohammed Ali vs Joe Frasier

Kimmyr0se (author)homedogalex2014-06-01


scooter76 (author)homedogalex2009-08-04

Dude, this rocks. freak'n sweet. well done

homedogalex (author)scooter762009-08-05

Cheers man, im just waiting on my speakers and leds to arrive. Also, where on earth can i find electrical wire? I live in the UK so theres no radioshack for me to go to, so my easiest option is online. What should i be searching for. And last thing, would it be possible to solder in lots of different colour leds and making them slowly change between the colours?

scooter76 (author)homedogalex2009-08-05

Hey, I'm in the uk as well. If I am making large orders, I use for parts, and the wire they sell is really cheap., I do salvage as much as I can, as its free. All the LED's in this project were from little flashlights people had thrown away. Colour changing LEDS would be cool, and I thought of this, but with the blue/black and white colouring of the painting, I stuck with just the blue LED's. I have never really wired colour changing LEDs, but there are instructable on how to do it. Also, ebay is great for large orders of LEDs. Good Luck

homedogalex (author)scooter762009-08-05

with electrical wire, what max amps would i need for like a average use. is 3A enough, or do i need something more like this

scooter76 (author)homedogalex2009-08-05

3A will be enough for this project. The large the core the lest resistance. So if you are buying more thicker core is better, but for LED and simmilar projects this will be fine.

Kimmyr0se (author)2014-06-01

Great job! Maybe you could make an "A" box canvas fram and then use a pendant light. That way you don't have to use a schematic for the LED light.

mayan guitarist (author)2009-12-24

is there any way to make templates without photoshop

Look into some photoshop alternatives. GIMP is completely free and very similar to PS, but it's in French. Paint.NET is a program that's not nearly as powerful, but also free and has every function you'll need for this.

adamazing (author)UberNoober2012-07-26

GIMP isn't "in French". Download the latest version here.

Well, there are some free programs out there such as Acorn (I think it's only for Mac OSX), or you could try the Pirate Bay.

kathrynmichelle (author)2010-05-27

I made this last December. I bought my LEDs on Ebay. like Christmas lights. So I just wrapped them around the inside of the canvas a few times. It worked pretty well.

I left out the music part though, just ran out of time.

roobz (author)2010-04-03

Hey was inspired by yours, a friend having a bday soon, so thought i would share my attempt!! my mate loves the blues brothers so here goes......!!

roobz (author)roobz2010-04-03

julpwel (author)2010-01-22

HEy! I sent a comment earlier but I can't see it posted....soooo TAKE 2!
I think your project is really awesome! Im a FOTC fan so im totally gonna make one for myself! I was wondering if you could send the pic you used (the photoshoped one)!??! It would be awesome!
THanks a lot!

julpwel (author)2010-01-22

WoW!! This is just great! Im a big fan of FOTC and Im totally gonna make one for myself! But please! Can you send the picture that you used? The photoshoped one? That would be awesome!!! Please!?!

KahlZun (author)2010-01-07

That is a -nice- effect!

samanella (author)2009-12-18

this is awesome! I'm going to try making it for my brother as a Christmas present

Pythous (author)2009-12-18

"Just gets into this ridiculous Russian doll situation"

106058 (author)2009-11-22

wow, that looks awesome. well doe.
i really like it

neverknowingwhy (author)2009-11-18

flight of the conchords are the 4th best folk parody duo lol

umursengul (author)2009-11-16

 Love it! Gonna make for my livingroom ASAP! :)

dickiejoe (author)2009-10-15

you could also use the rubber screw in feet as well that way the walldoesnt get tore up if someone were to bump in to it

mach594 (author)2009-09-06

im also pretty much finished with my painting. it took about 2 weeks for me go figure haha. great instructable! mine is a painting of kanye west

DEKAY_007 (author)2009-08-26

man this is a awesome Instructable......2 thumbs up to u.....i got really inspired so i am making one for a friend of mine will post pictures soon

homedogalex (author)2009-08-06

I cant believe how good your cradle is, i am having so much trouble with it and so far it looks like it has been run over or something its so wonky!

scooter76 (author)homedogalex2009-08-06

Do you have a vice? I just bent it around the vice with a pair of pliers.

kristina_fatale (author)2009-07-28

oh man i got inspired. i wan thinking about doing a piece like this but with the humans are dead.

Thanks, Post some pics when you are done. 00010011001100001110000

BoxOfAshes (author)2009-06-29

Wow, it's beautiful!

defenestr8or (author)2009-05-29

I loved this so much I used part of your pic as an inspiration for this clock for my friend's birthday. Thanks!

barry_allen7 (author)2009-04-17

This is so cool! I love FOTC! This is my friends favorite song. Maybe I'll make him one. Nice job and keep it up!

topherishel (author)2009-04-07

does anybody know how to make a lasagna? for one!!!!

Clayton H. (author)2009-03-20

FOTC's rocks! Right now I'm trying to score a Casio DG-20 Electric Guitar. set to electric mandolin, some drums, Yeah.

If confused with last sentence plese check out

arias (author)Clayton H.2009-04-04

That's my favorite part of the song =))
Wish Bret uses his Casio DG 20 Electric Guitar more often though :D

Clayton H. (author)arias2009-04-06

BOOM, BOOM! I'm The Boom King!

arias (author)2009-04-04

"There's a little bit of dust in my eye that's from the path that you made when you said your goodbye. I'm not weeping cause you won't be here to hold my hand, for your information there's an inflammation in my tear gland."

One of my favorite FotC songs and great work! When I have enough money, I'll make one... I just don't know what to paint =))

darinlwebb (author)2009-03-17

This is awesome, I'd really like to do something like this, but I have some questions. What I want is a black acrylic on white canvas, like yours, with backlighting to tint the blank canvas. How would I get a more even color distribution throughout the canvas? I don't want speakers, or the spacers to make a glow, just backlighting. The foil idea might work, but I'm terribly newbish, so any suggestions would be great!

Kcole93 (author)2009-02-05

Here is my rendition, a valentine's day gift for my girlfriend

cklehe (author)Kcole932009-02-09

Nice! Are you going to put some Leds... Red ones will really scream valentine!

Kcole93 (author)cklehe2009-02-09

Thanks! Yeah I put three red led's in the back but they aren't bright enough to capture in a picture. Also i've added a "Sansa Slotmusic player" which I found at best buy for $30 and $14 for a "slot music cd" which is preloaded with an album. I've added a paylist which essentially chronicles our relationship using songs we listened to at certain times. All that is left is finding some small but loud speakers!

cklehe (author)Kcole932009-02-10

I am sure she's going to love it! For speakers i am quite happy with some basic ipod foldable speaker that i found for around 20$. As when they unfold they are quite flat and straight. They stand perfectly on the bottom frame of the painting and deliver a clear sound. You'll see the result is pretty cool as you don't see where the sound is coming from; it really looks like the whole painting is a speaker.

Kcole93 (author)cklehe2009-02-10

what are the approximate dimensions of the speakers? My canvas is only 8x10 so I am looking for small enough speakers to fit into basically a 5x7 space.

cklehe (author)Kcole932009-02-10

they are like those ones Speaker
The two spekers are thin enough to stand on the frame using some strong adhesive (like kitchen, bathroom adhesive). The battery power part do stick out of the frame but it's perfect as it does provide a gap for the glow of the leds when the painting is hanged. Just put two screws on the two top corner to have the painting straight on the wall.
The on/off button is pretty easy to reach, and the jack cord is perfectly placed and of perfect lenght to connect to your MP3.
And they are small, so they will defenitly fit in your frame.
For more power they are also the same ones with four speakers, dunno if they do sound better;
i am for one happy by the sound of mine. You can take out the plastic dock thing protubering in front if you were wandering (by the way they are very generic speaker that exist like in 200 diferent brands, look and you might find them for pretty cheap)
Hope this helps

Kcole93 (author)cklehe2009-02-10

very helpful indeed! Thanks!

scooter76 (author)Kcole932009-02-07

Nice, well done

cklehe (author)2009-01-10

accidently deleted my own pics... smart boy...

MaxHedrm (author)cklehe2009-02-09

Nice ... I like the beams out to the sides. The eyes are a bit disturbing though. ;)

cklehe (author)MaxHedrm2009-02-09

yeah they bring a kind of a hellish look to it... But the two sets of leds are on different switch so i don't put on the eyes a lot.. It's more a novelty thing, used ultra bright 3mm led, which came out ultra strong.

About This Instructable




Bio: Jack of all trades, master of none. Father, husband, creator.
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