Arduino Powered Homecoming Mum

Introduction: Arduino Powered Homecoming Mum

Living in Texas, you can't escape the craziness around the Homecoming Mum tradition. The tradition started in the 1960's with boys giving their homecoming dates chrysanthemums lightly decorated with ribbons. However, as with all things in Texas, the bigger the better. Our son is a freshman now and it's our turn to partake in the Mum tradition. Being a maker, I wanted to do a little more than simply combine silk flowers and ribbon. I wanted to make the Mum shine. Shine... Arduino and RGB LEDS! Challenge accepted.

Step 1: Parts List

The base of the Mum is simple and straight forward. Go to your local craft store during Homecoming season and they should have all of your Mum parts and school themed ribbon. Our Michaels even had ribbon with our high school name and mascot printed on it.

Parts List

  • Mum
    • Silk Mum flower
    • Cardboard backing
    • Lots of ribbon of various colors, sizes, and prints
  • 1x Arduino Leonardo Micro Pro
  • 1x NeoPixel Ring (comes in 1/4 sections so make sure you order 4 of them)
  • 2x NeoPixel Strip (comes in 60 LED per 1m so make sure you order 2 of them)
  • 1x Battery Pack
  • Bits of wire

Step 2: Wire It Up

Wiring the Arduino to the LEDs was fairly straight forward. Because I wasn't planning on powering ALL of the lights at once, I was able to power the three strips and the ring from the power pins on the Arduino. I also wanted to animate the lights simultaneously. To do that I put each RGB LED connection on its own pin.

Step 3: Load the Code

Once you have everything wired up and functional, you are ready to load the code. You can download the sketch I built here.

Because I wanted to execute different animations, randomly, simultaneously on both the NeoPixel Ring and the Strips, none of the examples with function calls within the loop() section would work. As a result, I ended up moving the animation logic into the loop, pushing functions down to each of the LED strips at the same time.

As you look over the code, you will see I've built quite a bit of "randomness" into it. Each animation and color is randomly chosen, creating a new and exciting effect each loop.

Step 4: Integrate Mum With Lights

Once you have your code and lights working, its time to integrate the Mum and electronics. I used a healthy amount of hot glue to hold everything together. The Arduino is sandwiched between the poster board circles. The battery pack was then glued to the back of the Mum.

Step 5: Add Batteries!

At this point, you should have your LEDs integrated with the Mum. All you have to do is add batteries and turn it on!

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    6 years ago

    That's not the Arduino Leonardo Micro Pro, is it? It looks like the Pro Micro. Is it 3.3v or 5v?

    Would the Adafruit Pro Trinket 3v work, too?

    Wow! That is quite an impressive corsage! I would love to know if this was the most elaborate one and how it was received by both the young lady who wore it and the general public. Texas certainly knows how to do things with style. Your son is lucky to have your support for the craziness of youth :)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. In regards to size, it ranked medium. In regards to cool, it had tons of attention and my son's date had a great time showing it off. It just so happened the theme for the dance was "lights out" so that made it so much cooler!