Bluetooth Back-lit Display Shelf




Introduction: Bluetooth Back-lit Display Shelf

This shelf features 2 glass shelves, behind which lay strips of LEDs that can be controlled using an android phone and the app I wrote. They can be set to any RGB color combination, as well as several moving color patterns. I'm a complete novice when it comes to wood working and arduino, but I recently became extremely interested in both, so I decided to do this as a first project to try out both both!

Step 1: Materials

3/4 inch melamine board:
1 * 30.5" X 15" for the back

2 * 30.5" X 7.5" for the sides

2 * 15" X 8.25" for the top and bottom

Iron on melamine veneer for fixing cut edges ~10'

12 * #6 1 1/2" screws


2 * 7.5" X 14" X 1/4" for the shelves (ordered from a local glass shop)


Arduino Uno R3

HC-05 Bluetooth Serial Pass-through Module

WS2812B LED Strip Lights



Step 2: Tools

Soldering Iron + Solder

Router with 1/4" strait bit

Some sort of saw that can make long strait cuts through wood(I used a small circular saw)

Drill/Driver with 9/64" bit and 5/16" bit


Clothes Iron


Hot Glue Gun

Step 3: Cutting the Melamine

I purchased my melamine in a single board that was 15.5" X 8' so it needed to be cut down to size

Cut the back board entirely down to size of 30.5" X 15"

Cut the top and bottom boards down to size of 15" X 8.5"

For the side pieces cut a board to the proper height of 30.5". But keep the width a bit more than double the final width. ~15.5" is good.

Step 4: Routing the Shelf Channels

Before cutting the board that will become the two side pieces measure up 10" from the bottom and mark a line across the width of the board, and then measure 10" from the top of the board and mark another line across the width. These will be where the shelf grooves go.

Insert your 1/4" strait bit into your router at a depth of 1/4" (or up to 1/2" to give your shelves a little bit of wiggle room if you don't trust your precision perfectly)

In order to ensure a strait cut measure the radius of the base of your router, and clamp a strait guide across the board that distance from the line where you are going to rout.

When you actually do go to rout, keep the channel you cut on the side of the line you marked that is further away from the edge you measured it from, this will keep each shelf the same height.

Once you have routed the channels for the shelves, cut the side pieces to their proper width of 7.5"

Step 5: Assembling the Shelf

The first thing to do at this stage is make sure that your glass fits in the channels you've cut properly. Once you have that confirmed you can move on

I had help holding the sides up while I attached them to the back, but there do exist corner clamps that probably do a better job.

Line up one of the side pieces with the back piece, and using the 9/64" bit drill a hole through the back into the side piece near the top, then use the 5/16" bit to drill a shallow countersink over your existing hole for the screw head.

---Make sure you leave enough space to be able to sink in a screw from above when you add the top---

Then attach the two with a screw, continue this for on the bottom, and for the other side piece. Obviously make sure that the channels for the shelves are facing inward.

I actually kept the glass inserted while attaching the back to the side pieces so I could be 100% sure that I wouldn't accidentally angle them in such a way that the glass wouldn't fit.

The top and bottom can be added on the same way as the sides.

If you want you can cover the screws with screw caps or paint. I haven't gotten around to doing so for mine yet

Step 6: Fixing the Edges

Follow the instructions on the melamine veneer to cover the edges you cut

Once the veneer is applied use a razor to trim the edges, and cut out the veneer covering the ends of the shelf channels.

Step 7: Adding the LEDs

With the strip of LEDs I bought, I could fit a strip of 20 along the width, this could vary if you buy an LED strip with a different density (mine was 60LEDs per meter)

After verifying the length there is a decision to make, where you want to run your wires.

I chose to run my wires along the sides because I wanted to be able to put this piece flush against a wall, and I didn't want them visible inside the shelf.

If you plan to run your wires along the outside as I did then drill a hole at the base of the shelf channels on one side side board.

Look carefully at your top LED strip, and on the input side(note the direction of the arrow on the LED), solder wires to the connections for Ground, Data, and +5V. Then run those wires out the hole in the top groove and into the hole in the bottom groove and solder them to the output of the bottom LED strip.

Drill another hole by the input of the bottom LED strip and feed through wires to solder to the input side, same as on the top strip, but these wires will go to the Arduino.

Once all soldering is done, use hot glue to attach the LED strips to the back board.

I used white electrical tape to conceal the wires. I'll be exploring more permanent solutions in the future.

Step 8: The Full Assembly

Veneer applied and LEDs glued in. With and without the shelves inserted.

Step 9: Setting Up the Arduino

Wire the Arduino as in the diagram I've included.

If you're using a different amount of LEDs than the 40 I used, you'll need to modify the arduino sketch. At the beginning is a line "#define NUM_LEDS 40" simply change that number to the number you're using.

Some things of note: Make sure when connecting the Arduino and bluetooth module that the TX of one goes to the RX of the other, and vice-versa.

You can't upload sketches to the Arduino while the bluetooth module is plugged in, so you'll have to disconnect it while uploading.

When Connecting to the bluetooth module with your phone the default password is 1234

If you decide to modify this project and add more LEDs keep in mind you may need to add an external power supply to power them beyond the USB powering the Arduino.

I've included the files here for the Arduino sketch, and the apk for the android app that will control it, and the MIT App Inventor file, so you can modify the App if you want. The app is one that I greatly modified from one made by Dejan Nedelkovski. Credit to him for the original, found HERE

I haven't yet made an enclosure for the arduino, since I plan on adding more features, so I just have it sitting beside the shelf. I intend to eventually make a small enclosure for it that will sit on the bottom shelf in the corner.

Step 10: Completion!

You now have an awesome shelf!

If you liked the project I'd appreciate it if you'd be willing to vote for it in the Colors of the Rainbow Contest.


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    4 years ago on Introduction

    It is amazing enough to be able to build this LED lighted storage shelves from scratch, but to be able to write your own program to control its lighting is simply outstanding! I can just imagine the different knick-knacks I can display on this extraordinary showcase which are bound to be the center of attention.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Glad to see you liked it!