Introduction: Neopixel Light Up Dragon Eggs

Make these light up dragon eggs as a Spring project to celebrate that Winter is over. Summer is coming so prepare for more projects later on.

The magic of an Adafruit Circuit Playground board provides the lighting effects for the paper mache shell.

Step 1: Playing the Shell Game...

This is really just another application that uses a microcontroller to animate a string or ring of LED lights. Any arduino with a few Neopixels or LEDs will do. I used the Adafruit Circuit Playground I had already set up for

The dragon egg shaped diffuser is really another application of

I have discovered that other materials instead of newspaper print paper work well in paper mache. Plain paper towels make a great transluscent layer and the inherent fiber structure provides an interesting texture and look when the glue dries.

The paper mache process is pretty simple and staightforward.

1. Create an underlying support form in the shape of the final object. Bulk up the shape with various objects like plastic containers or just crumple up newspaper for volume. Use tape to get the shape fixed in place. The finished paper mache shell will be made strong enough to stand on its own with enough layers.

2. Wrap the form with plastic wrap to make it easier to remove from the paper mache shell when the glue is dried.

3. Start applying layers of material saturated with glue. You can dilute your glue to make it easier to work with. The matted object can be shaped when wet and pliable. Hand tear all the edges of the pieces of your layering material so that they will blend in better to form one continuous looking shell. Slightly overlap each piece as you glue it on.

Step 2: Crack It Open...

Add on textural details to the thin shell created for the base layer. At this point you can draw on lines for the scales, paste on printed artwork or paper mache on more pieces of paper towel for 3D texture. I used squares of toilet paper balled up and glued on to the surface. Toilet paper becomes a pulpy mass when saturated with glue and is easy to shape when applied. You can form into the dragon egg scales or just apply bumps in a pattern to give the egg a scaley texture.

When all is dried. Extract the contents used as filler for the paper mache egg...

The glue may still not be dry on the inside as you pull away all the filler and the plastic wrap layer. The shell may also be flimsy or dented where you tried to hold it so smooth out the shape as necessary and let dry completely.

You can then coat all over with another layer of glue make it more durable and easier to handle.

After that is dried, you can mount the electronics back in the plastic container to be placed into the egg shell.

Turn the lights on and enjoy!

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