Introduction: DJ Christmas Tree

About: Designer / Electrical Engineer specializing in Lighting

With the upcoming holiday season on its way, we decided we would make a Christmas tree to party with. This led to our 100 RGB LED, Arduino driven, Bluetooth, music responsive DJ Christmas Tree. In summary, the DJ Christmas Tree works by streaming pixel data via Bluetooth to the Arduino using LED matrix software on your computer. Allowing you to create your own animations, synchronize it with the music and much more. This way instead of having boring single color strands of lights on your tree you can have one single strand capable of 16 million different colors and adjustable brightness. What more could you want?

Skip to the end to see the DJ Christmas Tree in action.

Step 1: The Materials


  • Arudino Uno
  • WS2801 RGB LED's
    • I Used 100 LED's but yours may be different depending on the size of your tree.
      • Note: You can find these LED's cheaper if your willing to buy in bulk, I personally buy all mine from AliExpress.

Thankfully due to my other projects I had all of these materials lying around the house, buying everything brand new will cost around 100$ for the entire build.

Step 2: The Build

For this build I decided to keep everything sort of plug-and-play style. That way after Christmas it can all be easily dissembled again.

  1. Build the Arduino Circuit
    1. Refer to the attached diagram.
    2. Be Sure that Rx from your Arduino goes to Tx on the Bluefruit and Tx from the Arduino goes to Rx on the Bluefruit.
    3. Also make sure you connect the DTR Pin from the Bluefruit through the 1uF capacitor to RESET on the Arduino, despite what the diagram looks like Ground on the Capacitor goes toward the Bluefruit Module.
    4. DO NOT power the LED's from the 5v pin on the arduino. Be sure to power your LED's directly from the 5v power source.
  2. Powering your LED's
    1. Simply powering all LED's from the first LED will NOT WORK, you will have power loss as you go further up the string and your colors will not be what they are supposed to. In order to fix this you have to run a new power line AT LEAST every 50 LED's, every 25 would be ideal but for a Christmas tree every 50 works just fine.
    2. I've highlighted an example of me running new power lines in the pictures above. As you can see in the pictures I simply used wire ties to run the communication and power lines, I wanted to keep the setup as temporary as possible so it can be taken down easily.
  3. Wrap the Christmas Tree
    1. I simply started at the bottom of the tree with the strand of LED's and spiraled up from there.

Step 3: The Software

For the software side of this operation were going to do basically the same thing from my Pixel Drop Ceiling Instructable. You're going to need the software listed below in order to control the LED's, There are many different LED matrix control software on the market but Jinx I found to be the most user friendly.

PC Software

Arduino Software

  • WS2801_100strip (Select the file I have attached)
    • This is a modified version of Glediator's WS2801 Matrix Control
    • The file attached is set up for a 100 strip of 12mm WS2801 LED's

First you must download Jinx and the software for the Arduino. If your lights are not exactly 100 LED's long you will have to modify the Arduino code. First you must download the Arduino software and upload it to your device. All that's left to do now is to sync your Bluetooth device to your computer and configure Jinx for your setup, be sure you disconnect the USB cord used to program the Arduino first. Follow the instructions given in the above pictures to connect your Bluetooth and configure Jinx.

Step 4: The DJ Christmas Tree

Your DJ Christmas Tree should now be fully operational!

If you're a fan please vote for us in the Make It Glow contest here on Instructables!

More Tutorials to come very soon!

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