Picture of Easy Programmable EL-Wire Wall Art Project with Cool-Neon
Blank space, what to do?, what to do?
Our hackerspace has a blank brick wall above the fireplace. It's been a cold winter so we've had a fair number of fires, but there is just something wrong about a blank brick wall. Well in this project I'll document how to create an animated, Arduino controlled, EL-Wire design mounted in a picture frame, sure to spiff up any lonely chunk of wall space. I'll go beyond just powering the lights and show how you can control up to 10 different segments of your picture using an a Cool-Neon Arudino Shield and a bit of open source software.

Supplies Needed
  • EL Wire - 4 5' segments of Cool Neon wire (High Bright Standard 2.6mm) 
  • Coolneon Arduino Shield - available on the CoolNeon website
  • Arduino Microcontroller - I used a Borderless Electronics Arduino Leo clone
  • Micro- USB Adapter / powersupply 
  • Old Picture Frame - from the attic
  • Black foam core poster board - from Hobby Lobby 
  • Fishing line or Magnet wire - to hold the EL wire to the board, I found the magnet wire (normally used to wind around for electric motors) worked better than the fishline neither blocked the glow of the EL-Wire (as bell wire would for example), but the magnet wire seemed to make it easier to hold the EL Wire in shape.
  • 1 Nail - to poke holes through the posterboard
  • Acrylic or glass to fit the picture frame
  • Translucent Glitter paint, - adds a special glow and hides imperfections in logo design.
  • Duct tape
  • Xacto knife
  • Computer projector, Overhead projector or a good artist - to transfer the logo design to the posterboard 
Here's a video of the Logo in action including a demo of how the shield can be dynamically customized to  power a different number of channels and or a different pattern and speed.

WrexonR7 months ago

Hmm, I am working on a El Wire costume design and as i am following along the steps on how it could work and i am stumped on turning it on and off and certain times in a song. I know i would have to program the timings but Arduino Uno is not compaitble. Do you know any sheilds that could help solve it?

mazzmn (author)  WrexonR7 months ago

Hi, why is an Arduino not compatible?

Another option to monogramming timings is to use a sound activated circuit, would that work for your project?

WrexonR mazzmn7 months ago

A sound activated circuit would work, but i would prefer programming the parts in myself. The reason Arduino Uno is not compaitble is it doesnt power the chord as well. However i still will look around, thank for answering!

Nice work!


amingle1 year ago

Thanks for the fabulous Instructable. We hope you do not mind that we shared it on the Cool Neon blog and Facebook Page.

mazzmn (author)  amingle1 year ago

Great, glad you liked it, thank you for sharing!