Picture of Your Image on an Arduino! - TFT LCD Screen Guide
Have you ever heard of TFT LCD screens?  They are great ways to display information from your Arduino, or display pictures.  The Arduino team just released an official TFT LCD screen with their new Robot at Maker Faire 2013.  It's very easy to get started with!!  This tutorial will show you how to get the LCD up and running, load information from the SD card, and make a few simple projects.

The TFT LCD screen is a great way to detach your computer, and have the Arduino relay information that you need to know onto the LCD.  A great part of the LCD is that it has a built in microSD card socket.  You can store images on the microSD card socket, and even some text!

If you like this Instructable, please vote for me in the Arduino contest by clicking the orange ribbon in the upper right hand corner, then vote!!!

Step 1: Parts & Tools

Picture of Parts & Tools
To make the project, you will need the following:


Arduino UNO (Amazon, $22)
Arduino TFT LCD Screen (Arduino Store, ~$28)
ArduSensor Pot (Qtechknow, $8)
Half Sized Breadboard (Amazon, $5.50)
microSD Card 2GB (optional, Amazon, ~$6)
Jumper Wires


USB-B Cable
microSD Card Adapter & USB SD card reader
As usual , great job Qtechknow ! I always look forward to reading your posts .
Qtechknow (author)  Build_it_Bob2 years ago
Thank you!!!
solderface2 years ago
This is a great instructable! I can't wait to get a screen and get it set up!
Qtechknow (author)  solderface2 years ago
nerd74732 years ago

Thanks for the tutorial!

I wonder if you happen to know if it is easy to have sensor input and image output. For example, a moisture sensor has a HIGH input, and the screen shows a bitmap image that is stored in the SD card. Thanks!

AkshayM27 months ago
Once again a brilliant project. Please check out my instructables too Qtechknow!

can i use

2.8" TFT Touch Shield for Arduino - 2.8

in the same project ? to display same things and same stuff?

saymowan11 months ago

Amazing! Thanks for sharing it! :-)

gusgus_22 years ago
sorry im relatively new to all this but would it be possible to display time on this tiny thing? like a bedside clock of some sort? thanks guys

I'm sure in ten months you found this but arduino has a nice library for this.

Check out


skaar gusgus_21 year ago
sure, but without an rtc chip it might vary a bit.
I want my image to rotate a certain number of degrees based on the signal input. How would I go about doing this? Thanks for the awesome instructable!
Qtechknow (author)  paultnylund1 year ago

You can replace the image every time the signal input changes - use the map() function to 'map' the number of degrees with the signal input, and just set the screen with a the same image, but rotated. Hope that helps!

dankaraji1 year ago
great tutorial...im trying to use this screen as a picture display,going through different picture every three to five seconds.but cant really figure out the code...can u tell me what to do
Qtechknow (author)  dankaraji1 year ago

I think that the easiest way of doing this would be to display a picture, erase it, and delay. I would make a cycle of pictures, and then display them one at a time and erase them one at a time.

saw your article in popular science
brunoip2 years ago
It seems that the white board of the screen is not aligned with the screen, is this right?
Qtechknow (author)  brunoip1 year ago
Yes, I'm not sure why though.
Can this play video?
Qtechknow (author)  hunterakagman1 year ago
Not yet, but if you sequence images quickly, you can create a cool 'animation' effect!
pabhilash2 years ago
Actual Arduino board = $22
TFT screen = $28 :(
Not necesary, i use this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/130906317995?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649
Is cheaper and functional. And i found information right here :http://blog.simtronyx.de/en/a-1-8-inch-tft-color-display-hy-1-8-spi-and-an-arduino/
tesla0000002 years ago
OH MY GOD!!! I am about to turn 12 and i KNow what i want for Christmas.

I am a 11 year old boy and I love enginnering and i just found out about ardino in the summer time! I saw you in popular science and I thought that was epic!!! I am going to begin using ardino . Keep up the epicnesss-Tesla
Qtechknow (author)  tesla0000001 year ago
Thanks!!!! Hope you like your Arduino! Post what you make!
Project 232 years ago
rhess12 years ago
A Very good explanation. I do notice this ties up quite a few pins (thus reducing capability for other functions) I wonder if an i2C shift register could reduce the pin load...
zwilson52 years ago
Is there a way to switch between the displayed image files manually? I would love to be able to throw a rotary switch on there to switch the pics
Qtechknow (author)  zwilson52 years ago
I don't believe that you can hook up a potentiometer up to the TFT LCD directly, but you can attach it to the Arduino, and switch the pictures!
billbillt2 years ago
Can you use the LCD to show animated files like animated .GIFs, .AVI movies, ect.?
Probably, but I'm not sure. I think that you would have to split up all of the individual images on the .GIF, and then convert them to bitmaps to show them.
agis682 years ago
I guess you can do this with any lcd screen even with a nokia screen (lower resolution but very cheap)
Qtechknow (author)  agis682 years ago
I believe so, but you would have to make sure that the screen works with SPI (what the Arduino TFT library uses).