What you need:
1 - Breadboard
1 - Power Source - 7805 or some other 5v source
1 - ATtiny13 and a way to program it ( I'm using the AVRISP mkII with AVRStudio 4.17 w/ WinAVR)
1 - 74HC595 Shift Register
1 - 100uF cap
1 - 0.1uF cap
1 - 10K resistor
8 - LEDs
8 - 470ohm resistors
~15 - hookup wires
What is a Shift Register?
Serial to Parallel Shift Registers are ICs that allow "serial" data to be clocked in on 1 pin and stack up in a register which is output on 8 parallel pins (in the case of a 8-bit shift register). As data is clocked in, it shifts all the other bits over one position with the end one falling off. Common shift registers are 74HC164 and 74HC595.
There's a couple of good online tutorials about these with animations.
The 595 has another feature which is cool. It's called a latch. It allows the outputs to show the current bits which have been latched in the Latch Register while new data is shifted into the Shift Register. Then toggle the latch pin and the new data is copied into the Latch Register.
Here's a link to the 74HC595 Datasheet:
Check Out a Youtube Video of the Circuit in Action
Step 1: Get Familiar with the 595
The pin out goes like this:
Pin 1 - Output B - source for LED (+)
Pin 2 - Output C - source for LED (+)
Pin 3 - Output D - source for LED (+)
Pin 4 - Output E - source for LED (+)
Pin 5 - Output F - source for LED (+)
Pin 6 - Output G - source for LED (+)
Pin 7 - Output H - source for LED (+)
Pin 8 - GND
Pin 9 - Serial Output - Carries Value from Output H to Data Pin (pin 14) of another 74HC595 to create a chain of SR's.
Pin 10 - Shift Register RESET - Active LOW clears data in Shift Register, Latch Register is no affected.
Pin 11 - Shift Clock - LOW to HI transition shifts in data (0 or 1) from the Data Pin (pin 14). This can be toggled very fast in applications where you want a fast refresh rate like displays. I think you can toggle it on the order of 1000Hz +
Pin 12 - Latch Clock - LOW to HI transition latches the SR data to the outputs - The latch in our case will be triggered after every 8th bit is shifted in.
Pin 13 - Output Enable - Active LOW - Allows data in the Latch Register to show on the display. Typically this will be kept low, so you could just hard-wire it, but I have the AVR setup to control it.
Pin 14 - Serial Data In (Data Pin) - Don't be scared by the word "serial". It just means digital 1 or 0 on a single pin. This is where the AVR will feed in the bits
Pin 15 - Output A - source for LED (+) - It's a weird spot for it but it works
Pin 16 - VCC 2.0-7.0 VDC