Introduction: Fabric Neopixel Clock

This is a fabric, torus shaped, Neopixel clock. I have designed and created this for a paper at CoCA Massey University with the resources and guidance of fablabwgtn.


  • Felt
  • Needle and thread
  • 3mm corrugated cardboard
  • 3mm clear acrylic
  • 3mm MDF
  • Hot glue gun
  • Arduino nano
  • male to male wires
  • RTC + battery

Step 1: Wire Up Your Neopixels and RTC

Here is a diagram of how to connect your Arduino, RTC and Neopixel strip. Solder these connections together with wires as shown. Your Arduino or RTC may differ from this one but the connections should remain the same.

Here is a very helpful link by Boian Mitov:

*Don't forget to put the battery into your RTC or the time will not remain correct after the power supply has been disconnected.

Step 2: Program the Neopixel Strip

Attached is the code I used for my clock. You will need to download the following libraries:

- Adafruit DMA Neopixel Library

- DS1307RTC

I also included the soft rtc library you can find in the pre-installed Arduino libraries.

Once the code has been verified and is done compiling you can upload it to your Arduino nano. The time will remain correct because of the battery in the RTC even after you unplug it from your computer and into another power source. This is the original code I used and edit slightly. So thank you antiElectron!

Step 3: Download These Illustrator Files and Laser Cut Them

Here are four illustrator files you will need to download along with pictures of the files. Each illustrator file name includes the material description and thickness. You can exchange materials for another of the same thickness if they are unavailable to you. You will then need to laser cut all of the components.

Step 4: Cutting the Fabric Pieces

Use the template to draw around and then cut out 12 pieces of felt.

Step 5: Lay Out the Pieces for the Shape Skeleton on the Cardboard Template.​

Make sure the flatter edges of the segmenters are facing inwards.

Step 6: Making the 12 Hours of the Clock

Firstly put a tiny bit of glue on both tabs on an acrylic insert. Then hold it in place between two MDF segmenting pieces while they sit in the cardboard template. This will ensure that it dries straight.

Centre the fabric pieces on each completed section. Glue along the two curved edges and adhere, pulling the fabric taught as you do.

You should have 12 completed segments for each hour on the clock.

Step 7: Sew the Pieces Together Into a Ring

Sew each segment together one by one. You will need 3 points of connection. Sew between two holes on teach end of the curve. Then sew between the two middle holes.

Go through each point of connection with the needle and thread multiple times to ensure a strong and tight connection.

Step 8: Thread Through the Neopixels.

Make small slits in the fabric right along the edge of the MDF segmenters as shown. This will be where you thread through the Neopixel strip. The strip should have the LED's facing inwards. When the entire Neopixel strip is threaded through there should be 5 LED's in each section.

I found it helpful to use tweezers.

Step 9: Inserting the Back of the Clock

Pop the inner piece of the clock back into place, it should fit snuggly. Make sure when you are joining on the back that there is a cut out over the section with electrical wiring, as you will thread this through the cutout so that it sits on the back and not inside the segment.

Step 10: Concealing the Wiring

Fold over the loose pieces of felt on the inside of the ring and adhere them neatly to the back piece of the clock. Tuck the wiring inside the felt carefully, leaving the female connector accessible.

With a scalpel, make small cross cuts in the felt over the cutouts. This will allow you to push the fabric back into place later, should it become dented or sunken.

Step 11: Finishing the Form

Pop in the outer back pieces of the clock. Make sure the piece with the hanging hole sits over the segment for 12 'o' clock so that the clock is positioned correctly when it is mounted on the wall.

Similar to before; fold over the loose pieces of felt on the outside of the ring and adhere them neatly to the back piece of the clock.

Step 12: Upload the Programming Via Arduino