Introduction: Lightning Storm Box

About: A rgraduate of Strayer University now holding a Bachelor's in Computer Science and Information Systems . I am currently looking for something in the field of computer science. Meanwhile my second interest is i…

Inspired by the various paper "Dream Boxes" or "Light Boxes" that display various images. I thought it be cool to add dynamic lightning by simulating a thunderstorm, using the arduino and neopixels.

Step 1: Materials

2pc 30cm pieces of wood brought from Michaels.

2pc 30cm pieces also from Michaels

Two long dowels to be cut to 4 28cm sections

One 2cm x 25cm long back board also from Michaels

One long dowel to be cut to 1cm thick, 11 1/2 deep sections.

Arduino Gemma

Four Neopixels

Red, Green and Black wires

Blue LED Strip Lights




X-acto knife


4 x screws

3/16 drill

optional 28cm piece of glass to fit into the frame if wanted

Step 2: The Wooden Box

Let's start with the basic box. The plans here will show the dimensions and depth. Feel free to add to or subtract from the plans.

If you can't read the plans, the box's dimensions are

30cm Length X 30cm Height

14 1/2 cm deep

1 cm should be dedicated to the electronics and light.

I suggest using natural wood so it brings out the lightning.

Four sections of 1 1/2 cm thick, 11 1/2 deep columns should be cut

a frame of 28 cm equal pieces of wood will be put at the front.

Step 3: Box Construction

Whether you made them from large pieces of wood, or bought them. Glue the 30 cm pieces together using glue, I recommend wood glue or hot glue. Let it sit for up to a day to give it time to set

Step 4: Inserting Frame

Cut four 28cm pieces from a large dowel and glue it about 1 1/2 inches from the opening. Let it set and cut four 11 1/2 inch dowel pieces with 1cm thickness. Glue those into the vertically in the corners. It should look as it does here.

Step 5: The Back

Get your 30 cm back piece and fit it onto the dowels. Drill four holes into the corners, that will be the screw holes.

Step 6: The Foam Pieces

Cut eight pieces of foam all 11 inches long and fit them behind the frame. This will hold the paper art. They should be a half a cm apart so they don't bunch up and you could have depth.

Step 7: The Paper Art

What you like to include if up to you. I myself wanted a hilly scene so it could be accented by light. Draw out your template on paper, using your x-acto knife. Cut along the lines until you get individual pieces. There are other instructables for this part for more details so I won't reiterate it.

Step 8: Mounting Your Paper Pieces.

Mount your paper pieces on top of the foam. Be sure there is a half CM seperation gap between them, so there could be depth in your art. I would use four pieces to start off. I put hills in the back, clouds in front, on top. Trees in the front then continued on until I had a house at front and center. You can add more if you like.

Step 9: The Clouds

First mount a large piece of paper behind the hills to cover up the opening. It should be two cms from the back panel. Paper diffuses the light giving the ambience and sense of awe you like. Now using glue, put the cotton balls at random intervers. Spacing them so it doesn't look bunched up and reveal white paper. This give the sense of distance.

Step 10: Now for the Magic. the Lights!!

We will use two lights. For the accent we will use 12v blue car LED strips to light it a night-time blue. Stick the strip to the bottom of the back piece. Now mount the batteries above. I suggest making foam containers so the batteries won't fall out.

I put a switch between the battery and the positive lead of the light. Now to mount the switch, drill a small hole in the side and extend the wire.

Step 11: And the Lightning!

For this one, we will use the Arduino Gemma and the Neopixels.

Upload the code from by

At the end of the void loop

delay(150) so the lightning would strike more often.

Now drill two small hole in the side for the arduino switch.

Step 12: Now Close It Up.

Close it up and drill four holes in the corners, where the screws will be mounted. Now screw it in.

Step 13: Now We Have a Scene

Step 14: Look It's a Storm!

I'm going inside! It's raining cats and dogs.

I am thinking of adding the sound of lightning and rain using a mp3 shield.

Step 15: