Introduction: LED Strip Message Board

This instructable will walk you through the process of creating a message board out of individually addressable NeoPixel LED strips. This project is an adapted version of a sign produced by Josh Levine, which can be found at

This project began as most do, with an ambitious goal and a tight deadline. As a graduate student studying Architecture, I too was surprised to find myself enrolled in a programming class. The original goal for this project was to create an automated message board that could display real time updates for any subway station in the city of Boston. As reality set in and Covid-19 took over the world, I was forced to lower my expectations of this project. After spending hours upon hours of time working on this project it became clear that I was not going to be able to reach all of my goals in this project. The final version of the sign may not have met the original goal I had in mind, but it taught me many lessons along the way.

Enjoy the step-by-step break down of my programmable LED message board.


(1) Arduino Nano (or knock-off equivalent board)

(1) 5v 15a Power Supply w/ Female adapter plug

(1) PCB board

(15 meters) NeoPixel individually addressable LED strips

(1) Board

(2) Aluminum Angle Iron

Additional wire

Step 1: Assembly

Assembly is pretty straight forward. I ripped my board down to fit the LED strips perfectly within the center between my angled aluminum brackets. Some of the strips needed to be desoldered to align the LED lights perfectly. To adhere the lights I just used the adhesive backing provided on the strips and made sure to clean the board before applying.

Step 2: Wiring

In order to achieve fast refresh rates, the code is written to write to the Arduino Nano's port D. Attaching the data wires from the Neopixel strips to the Digital pins 1-7 on the Nano will allow them to be written simultaneously. The code to test the sign is attached to this step.

Step 3: Finishing Touches

After finishing the wiring and testing the sign, I used a hand saw to cut down my aluminum angle brackets to finish everything off. I simply used a two part epoxy to adhere the aluminum to the wood and set aside to dry for 24 hours.