Introduction: Neopixel Light Up Pocket Pendant
It’s the wearable tech fashion accessory that you can easily match your style or mood by switching out the faceplates.
Create custom skins for whatever your interests are. Collect one or collect them all…wait, you gotta make them.
Need a special badge for a convention or just want to rock out your new Arduino or Circuit Python programming skills? Make your own custom light up pocket pendant.
Step 1: A Few of My Favorite Things...
In this project I used the leftover piece of foamboard I had from making Custom Light Up Monsters Note that you can also use corrugated box cardboard just the same.
I had an Adafruit Circuit Playground board. It has a ring of onboard Neopixels which I am running the standard Strandtest code to cycle the Neopixel's color and run it through a few color morphing animations. Any Arduino or microcontroller driving LEDs or Neopixels will do. Fancy it up later to take advantage of Circuit Playground's onboard built in sensors. You can make the lights on the pendant react to sound or its own movement. Oh, my battery pack is permanently soldered to the circuit board battery connector jack. The wires ripped out of the special plug (JST-PH connector) from the heavy battery pack. It now has a blob of hot glue on the wires for strain relief at the jack and on the battery pack.
Trace out the Circuit Playground board to start making the back of the case for the pocket pendant. You can use a compass to mark the size for an outer ring which provides space to mount to the faceplate.
Step 2: Slice and Dice...
Be careful when you are using any kind of knife. This craft knife was extremely sharp and pointy. Make sure you have a suitable cutting surface on the bottom.
Foamboard is pretty nice to work with. It cuts like...paper. Slice away lightly at lines and then go in deeper to make the final cut to break the other side. Multiple cuts are better than one deep cut which can bind material under to snag the blade.
For the base holder I scooped out the foam with my fingers to provide a recess spot for the board. A second layer ring was glued on to bulk up the side depth. An opening was left for the wires to dangle through. I guess I could have made room for my external battery pack but it serves as the counterweight to put in the clothes pocket so you could dangle the pendant outside the pocket. You could adapt for using a small lipo battery and include that as part of the base too. Add a clip or pinback after all is finished to secure to a garment for wearing.
I found that paper towels makes a great material to use for it's light filtering/diffusion characteristic. You can glue them in place to be like stained-glass windows. Coat with glue to make them rigid. If you are gentle with handling the glue saturated paper towel pieces, it will retain its interesting texture when the glue dries.
You can shape the light panels somewhat when the glue has set up. I pushed out the Blade Runner eye a bit to give it that bulbous eye shape.
Step 3: Marker It Up...
So I had this multi-color set of magic markers...
which led to this...
but I digress...
Instead of using real paint to color in some of the pieces, I just went over them with magic marker. The pieces were again coated all over with glue to give it an even sheen and protective coating.
Graphics were printed out and decoupaged to the rings. I stiffened up Sparky the Blue Smoke Monster's eyes/mouth and the Starship Enterprise with a backer layer of paper peeled from one side of the foamboard. Cut out the detail pieces. Glue to the faceplates and coat with glue. If you watch the video close enough, you might be able to see some starlight on the Star Trek faceplate which is from tiny holes created by sticking a pin through the foamboard.
The detail of the Iron Man Arc Reactor and image of Ladyada were glued to the back of the light panels. You could also glue the graphic on the front face of the light panel. It's all the effect you want when you light it up. If you want it to mysteriously appear when lit and obscured when there is no light, glue it on the back.
The last step is to stick on some adhesive-backed velcro around the rings so that you can mount or change out the faceplates. Cut small pieces to apply around the perimeter of the ring. Exact placement isn't really necessary as a little contact will be strong enough to keep the lightweight pieces stuck together.
So make one or many. Wear it.