Introduction: PCB Circuit Wall

Picture of PCB Circuit Wall

Do you have lots of old electronic stuff and don't know what to do? Make a Circuit Wall.

This is my first instructable, hope you like it.

I had a storage room almost full with non working old computers, fax machines, monitors, TV's, photocopiers, printers, cellphones, cash registers, calculators, electronic typewriters, and all sort of electronic appliances from diferent years.

Sometimes I salvage some the parts for my projects, but it was a lot.

One option was to sell them all for $50 USD and get back my storage room for other purposes, but I couldn't just let go this precious stuff.

So I decided to make a mural, with only PCB's from all this devices.

Many of the PCB's have LED's so why not give them some power?

Materials list:

Lots of PCB's of various sizes with components

1/8" MDF boards (I used 36" x 24")

Thin Copper wire AWG 22

Insulated copper wire

Wall screws (Type of screw will depend on the type of wall to be mounted)

5V power supply (Cellphone charger, USB)

Power switch (Optional)


Drill and drill bits


Nose Pliers

Solder iron and solder


Step 1: Gather the PCB's

Picture of Gather the PCB's

First get as many PCB's as you can, many friends or neighbors, will be happy to donate old electronics for your wall. When you finish it, you can show them and say "look... this was the printer you gave me"

Spread them on the floor and arrange them by sizes so it can be easy to find the PCB you need.

Step 2: Make the Puzzle

Picture of Make the Puzzle

Meassure the size of the wall where your mural will be mounted, and divide that size in how many 36" x 24" MDF boards, you will need.

You can use any board size you want. I chose that size because its easy to handle and not so heavy to lift when all the PCB's are mounted on it. Also bought them in this size an Home Depot, so the can fit my car trunk.

Start with one MDF board and arrange PCB's on it so there are no gaps between them.

Some gaps may remain, but they can be filled later with spare electronic components.

Try to leave 4 1/2" x 1/2" gaps near the corners of the MDF board, so you can drill the holes for the wall screws. The holes I've made for this screws are 3/8"

You can leave some part of the PCB's to protrude out of the MDF board, just consider a space for them on the MDF board that will be next to them. This PCB's will occupy a space on 2 MDF boards.

The boards are just placed over the MDF to define it's final position.

When the board is full take a picture to remember the place of each PCB.

Check which PCB's have LED's that can be powered later.

Step 3: Drill 'em

Picture of Drill 'em

Drill two 1/16" holes on each of the corners of each PCB. The holes must be about 1/8" to 1/4" appart from each to other.

This will be the anchor point to hold the PCB on the MDF board.

I used a drill press, but they can be drilled with a hand drill. Just fix the PCB on a press or a clamp.

Make at least 4 anchor points on each PCB.

You can use more anchor points on larger PCB's like motherboards or TV boards with heavy flybacks or transformers.

Many PCB's have holes near corners, so you can make just another hole near this holes.

Step 4: Solder Wires for LED Power

Picture of Solder Wires for LED Power

If some of your PCB's have LED's, you can power them to add extra bling to your wall.

Analyze your PCB so you know where to solder the leds on the back of the PCB.

Most of the times the LED's are connected to a resistor to limit power and not blow the LED.

You can take advantage of this resistor and use it, or you can add extra resistor.

I've used the included LED resistor on the PCB almost on all the PCB's. On some PCB's I used a 100 ohm resistor that I had available.

Solder the wires, test your connections and power it. Be sure to place a mark on your positive/negative wire.

Step 5: Mark and Drill the Board

Picture of Mark and Drill the Board

Place the drilled PCB back on it's place over the MDF board and mark with a pencil through the anchor points holes so you can easily see where to drill the board.

This time I used a hand drill because my drill press is too small to allow drilling near the center of the board.

Drill the holes with a 1/16" to 1/8" drill bit.

The holes must be small enough so both anchor point holes don´t touch each other making one big hole.

Also remember to make an extra holes if that PCB have wires for powering the LED's.

Step 6: Fix the PCB's

Picture of Fix the PCB's

With the PCB's and board holes drilled, now you can fix the PCB using copper wire.

I´ve tryed fixing the PCB's with hot glue with no success, so chosed copper wire and worked great.

You can also fix them with bolts and nuts if you want.

Cut 1" or 1.5" wire pieces an bend them in "U" shape.

Place the PCB over the MDF board holes and pass the wire through the anchor holes.

If the PCB has LED wires, remember to pass them trough the center hole you've made.

Twist both wire ends with a nose pliers.

Make sure that is tight enough so the PCB don't move and not too tight to break the copper wire.

Connect all the LED wires on the back of the MDF board using aditional wire pieces.

Leave one positive and one negative wire on the bottom of each MDF board.

Step 7: Mount on the Wall

Picture of Mount on the Wall

With your boards complete, drill at least 4 holes near the corners of the MDF boards. I used a 3/8" drill bit.

These wil be your wall mount holes.

I used 1/4" screws with plugs on a brick and stucco wall, but it wil depend on the type of wall you're mounting the boards.

Screw the bolts at about 80% so they remain a bit out of the wall. The you can hang the boards on them.

Tight the remaining 20% of the bolt to leave the board well fixed.

You can fill the gaps between PCB boards, with spare components, these can be just glued on the MDF board.

Also you can hide the wall screws gluing some spare capacitor on it.

Solder the main wires of each board to a common positive and negative wire respectively and this common wires will be soldered to the power supply, in my case a 5v cellphone charger.

You can add a switch on the main power wire. Also you could use some switch of the PCB's board to act as power switch.

If the wall is near a computer you can solder a USB plug and connect it to your computer USB so the wall LED's will turn on whe your computer is powered on.

Hide the wires on the back lower side of the boards. I used white wire so it can not be easily seen on the white wall.

Power on and enjoy the view :)

Some friends said that this mural look like an aerial view of a big city, lots of buildings.


NancyGump (author)2016-12-30

WOW, Amazing wall!!

I want to make such a wall and I am gonna to make the boards from PCBGOGO to have this dream came true.

ohoilett (author)2016-06-29

I love this. Great job.

Chitlange Sahas (author)2016-06-23

That is the best use for my pile of circuit boards ! Well done:)

Miss Dee (author)2016-06-12

That is one of the coolest things I have ever seen, combining technology and art, .awesome woek!

claesbert made it! (author)2016-06-11

My take on this:

Shadyman (author)claesbert2016-06-11

Hmmm. Arcade game boards?

MikeT148 (author)claesbert2016-06-11

That's really cool too!

farsys (author)2016-06-11

is a dream come thru :D

oba fo (author)2016-06-11

My kind advice. Just stay with the photo, print it for a wallpaper. Arrange the led's and voila!

JaredDiS (author)2016-05-27

Only slightly cancerous.

MikB (author)JaredDiS2016-06-04

These are not the PCBs you are looking for :)

These are ...

Unless you grind down the PCBs and eat them, inhale them, and/or inject them, instead of nailing them to the wall. Then that might be bad.

lazzara55 (author)MikB2016-06-05

PCBs, (printed circuit boards) may contain up to 10 internationally recognized toxins:

  1. Lead (Pb)
  2. Mercury (Hg)
  3. Cadmium (Cd)
  4. Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
  5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  6. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)
  7. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  8. Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  9. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  10. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

HOWEVER #1: If the PCB is marked "RoHS" (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) it can be considered safe to handle.

HOWEVER #2: I like the artwork. Applying an acrylic spray will seal the PCBs and preclude particulates (toxic and otherwise) from being released into the air. Also keeps them out of landfills -- an environmental plus.

DmitryP2 (author)lazzara552016-06-05

It can be dangerous only if has high warming -- in home it can be in case of open flame or (much smaller) sunlight. I would not recommend to do this thing if you are afraid of toxic death on fire.

lazzara55 (author)DmitryP22016-06-11

These products cannot be sold in some places (e.g., California) without toxicity declarations, even if they aren't blazing, which itself is unlikely as most PCBs are happily UL-rated against flammability (UL-94V0). But the toxic generator isn't combustion -- it's oxidation. Oxides from the toxic metals release as dust into the air at room temperature. So, yes: Every living room has electronics, but not in this kind of concentration nor so-directly exposed to air flow. An acrylic spray would act as an air barrier to mitigate oxidation, add a pleasing aesthetic and make the Circuit Wall easier to vacuum.

SrečkoL (author)MikB2016-06-05

Sometimes I inhale some bits of them (really), but I never inject them, since I don't like needles. I tried cooking, but it doesn't soften them enough.

fashla (author)SrečkoL2016-06-06

Also tried cooking them :D Try microwave them

Diwiak (author)JaredDiS2016-06-05

agree, there are still some carcinogenic substances evaporating, I better prefer it for disposal. (is this right sentence for this??)

fashla (author)JaredDiS2016-05-30

I thought that too, but every electronic home device has this kind of PCB's inside, and they are not sealed

MarceloG19 (author)2016-06-10

It's nerdly beautifull!

I love it!

qewt (author)2016-06-10

genius idea!

Mark 42 (author)2016-06-09

This would make an interesting backsplash.

p_leriche (author)2016-06-05

Love it that you've even got a valve in there - you should light that up too! If you look up the designation you'll probably find the filament takes 300mA at 6.3V - drive it from a 5V supplu and it won't glow quite so brightly but will last a lot longer before burning out.

fashla (author)p_leriche2016-06-06

Thank you !!! I'll tried to light it up but didn't figured how. These is one of those valves that glow green and where used to indicate tunning on old radios. I'll make a sub-project to light it on.

p_leriche (author)fashla2016-06-06

I'd be interested to know the type number
of that valve. From your description it would seem to be a "magic-eye"
tuning indicator commonly used in valve VHF/FM radios in the '60s - see

had a DM70 wire-ended type which I used to play with in my teens
(goodness knows what happened to it) and I remember the EM34 (with a
plastic or bakelite 8-pin base) was commonly used - this looks like what it is. You should be able to work out from that link how to drive it. Find a 6V wall cube for the filament, then you'll just need some means of generating 150-200V at just a few mA for the HT supply - a boost switch-mode circuit should do the trick. To avoid the need for a negative supply for the grid, connect the grid to ground and put a 47k resistor (or 100K pot) between the cathode (pin 8) and ground.

fashla made it! (author)p_leriche2016-06-07

Thak you for the feedback. I've checket the valve on the wall and its not the "magic-eye" It's another kind of valve. I've stored the magic-eye with other valves and found 2 diferent magic-eye valves. One is EM34, I remember to wrote the model and brand with pen on the glass about 15 years ago when I found it. The smaller still have 6AF6 number on the glass. Lighted them up a few years ago using a Cockcroft ladder voltage multiplier, but it's a good idea to make a circuit to let them glow constantly.

lbrewer42 (author)2016-06-07

Great look! Hmm... now I am thinking about drop ceiling tiles...

chris_hammond (author)2016-06-05

Great idea for decoration!

I would assume you could use the same sort of idea for doors also (i mean using mdf onto the doors providing they are strong enough)

Now all i need is room

Found this on the instructables e-mail

Well done

WB333 (author)chris_hammond2016-06-06

most common household doors could easily handle the weight.

fashla (author)chris_hammond2016-06-06

Thank you !! You can cover virtually anything with this and it will look cool

EdwardL11 (author)2016-06-05

i had a idea like this around Christmas time. To keep green and brown boards and make the shape of a Christmas tree. Using the led lights as ornaments and a fan as the star. In fact I'm going to try putting one together soon. I thank this instructable has been one of my favorites. Great job brother.

fashla (author)EdwardL112016-06-06

Thank you !!! That's a great idea, you could control blinking LED's on the tree with arduino

EdwardL11 (author)fashla2016-06-06

I've no experience with ardiuno. I've keep seeing these amazing things that are being built using it. I'm eventually going to have to delve off into it. Enjoy your builds brother.

DmitryP2 (author)2016-06-05

Do you have video on this thing live LEDs blinking ?

fashla (author)DmitryP22016-06-06

Sorry no video, but the LED's that blink are only 3, so didn't made a video.

SrečkoL (author)2016-06-05

If I would have to use all the PCBs I'm tossing around, I could decorate a really big house :) I'm not sure, how would this be practical in a bathroom over time...

But nice job and really great instructable. Thanks for sharing.

fashla (author)SrečkoL2016-06-06

Thank you !!! PCB's can be gathered at a faster rate than some years ago. Maybe because new electronic devices don't last many years as old ones

uncle frogy (author)2016-06-05

I like it!

blowing the inevitable dust off great and a vacuum is also a pretty good idea cause there is no longer any need to worry about static damage. that assemblage would also reduce the effects of sound reflecting off the wall pretty effectively and would be good choice for a media room .

Yes the PCB's are made from toxic materials but I doubt they would be a lot worse then formaldehyde glue based MDF out-gassing . I would instead use 3/8 plywood it would be far superior at holding screws. after all the prep of drilling holes I would paint the front flat or mat black so as to minimize any visual gaps, the back could also be sealed.

I would also use a french cleat to hang it especially single handed.

gives me ideas of what to do with all those boards I can't seem to get rid of!

uncle frogy

fashla (author)uncle frogy2016-06-06

Thank you !!! french cleat is a great idea to hang them easilly , because some of them are a bit heavy.

lfoss (author)2016-06-05

This is awesome! Love it!!

Could you take a picture with somewhat dimmer room lighting so we can see the PCB LEDs better?

fashla (author)lfoss2016-06-06

Thank you !!! Just uploaded dark room pictures

WB333 (author)2016-06-05

Inspired...... now to find a way to find the same acceptance from my wife and to find a wall...... how about a glass top coffee table with the boards below..... could be larger as a dining table .... or a cube side table covered on five sides with a floating glass top.

Where to stop ....... this also has a place in the art world under found art collages... instead of a whole wall a single piece of plywood covered with boards in any size or shape.

Actually your wall treatment could be shown in the right gallery as an "Installation Piece"....... You have to get more images out to the eyes of the "right people.

fashla (author)WB3332016-06-06

Imagine a car covered with this PCB's !!

fashla (author)WB3332016-06-06

Thank you !!! wife acceptance was the most difficult part of the project :) I'll publish it on some online galleries and see what happen

ac-dc (author)2016-06-05

You forgot something. This is going to be a major PITA to dust, meaning it will start looking gross and become a dust mite breeding ground.

GreggS9 (author)ac-dc2016-06-05

It wouldn't be for me. I would simply use the air compressor that I clean computers out with. They come up shiny and good as new. Pity I took a load of computers to the dump a few weeks ago. :(

fashla (author)GreggS92016-06-06

Compressor is also a good idea, only that the dust goes to another place to be cleaned again. I preffer vacuum. Too bad for those computers :( I still have many PCB's I you want them, but im in Mexico City

fashla (author)ac-dc2016-06-06

Not so hard to clean. I take the vacuum with the brush accesory and long tube and it can be cleaned in 10 minutes

MartijnD (author)2016-05-29

Hello Fashla, cool idea, respect, unfortunately it came too late for me as I cleaned out all junk last year... Can you maybe upload some pictures with less ambient light to show how cool the LED's are? Thanks in advance, best regards, Matin

fashla (author)MartijnD2016-06-06

Thank you !! Just uploaded pictures with no ambient light, so you can see the LED's

MartijnD (author)fashla2016-06-06

Looks cool! Have you tried UV / blacklight already, some components and PCB's might light up, might be even cooler.

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