Introduction: Light Up Heart

The purpose of this project was to learn how to program the LEDs/controller for a project that I actually bought them for. The symbol came from a tattoo my girl has on her foot, and I put it together just in time for her birthday party. It also gave me the fore-site to take picture during the build so I could create my first Instructable.

Step 1: Supplies

Supplies Needed:
  1. Foam Core white
  2. Foam Core Black
  3. Wax Paper
  4. Strand of 50 total control lighting pixels
  5. 1 Total control lighting controller
  6. Pushpins
  7. Spray adhesive or glue stick

Tools Needed:
  1. Box cutter
  2. Ruler
  3. Hot Glue Gun
  4. Cutting mat

Step 2: Design

The design consists of an outer box, Inside heart, and back lid.

The outer box will be made out of Black Foam-core. it will have the heart cut out on top and the wax paper glued into the inside. 

Inside heart will have boning around the symbol. I chose to make it out of white foam core, but you may want to use black and line the insides with aluminum foil (you can also use white and foil to increase the brightness, and maybe create a less pix-elated version.

In-between the heart, and the back lid will be the LEDs. This will let you sandwich the pixels instead of having to glue in each one.

The back lid will be made of black foam-core to give the outside an all black look.

To create the stencil I took the White symbol inverted the colors, and cut it in half. When cut in half it would nice print on a 11 X 17 sheet of paper. (I am not sure if the full symbol was the one I finally used.) 

Step 3: Cut Out Pieces

Once you figure out the design it's time to cut. 

Here are some tips:

For straight cuts- I use a metal ruler along a cutting mat. making sure that the ruler is straight with the guide lines.

For Clean edges- I cut 3 times. First cut is to score the first layer. Second cut is to get through the foam. Third cut is the bottom layer.

When measuring, take into account how the edging is going to be. (For example: The white rectangle peace is going inside the box so you will subtract the thickness of the foam core on all sides.)

Since I had floating pieces I kept tabs to keep it together until the end.

When it comes to the boning for the heart:

I cut out full length 2" wide pieces, I cut them to length during the assembling phase.

Step 4: Assemble Box

Assembly is a simple process of putting a puzzle together. 


When putting together the outer box I like to use pushpins first. make sure everything looks good, and then superglue the corners.

On the inter white piece, and the back cover, cut off the corners so that they easily slide in with the hot glue in place.

For the the boning, I...

Using the stencil I drew out my guidelines in the back side.
I than pushed the pins through the foam core and placed 2" pieces, cutting the side to allow for the bends, and then trimmed the extra length.

Wax paper will go on the back side of the box. I cut the sheet. I used the spray adhesive on the foam-core, and then layed it down.

Step 5: Install LEDs

You want to lay out the led path first. 

I than measured out how long the line was divided it by the pixels, and then measured it out with a pencil on the foam-core. Make sure you write down your path, and LED amounts in each area. You'll need this for the next step.

I adjusted the spots for awkward sections, and drilled out the holes. for the leds.

Next I put the lights into the box. Before closing I tested the LEDs with the controller. 

Cut a tab for the cable to exit, and if you hanging where there is going to be pulling on the cable I would add a strain relief. 

Finish off this step by installing the back.

Step 6: Program Controller

If you check on the Total Control lighting page, there  is a tutorial on how to use the programming software. For more information check for it on THIS page, and click on manuals.

Remember to zoom out when setting out the layout.
Don't worry about being to precise. 

Step 7: Enjoy

And that's it! 

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