Introduction: Peep-Show Box With LEDs

About: Hi, I am Nuriya! Game Art student at the University of the Arts Utrecht

You have probably seen one of these somewhere or made one as a child. We are talking about a Peep-Show Box. This is not a regular one though. In this instructable I'm going to explain how to make a Peep-Show Box with LEDs with a different kind of design.
I chose a Victorian Britain theme for the box, but of course it can be any theme you like.

This project is fun to make and the electronic part is not too hard to understand.

Let's get started!

Step 1: The LEDs

In this first step I'm going to explain how the electronics can be set up.
(this is an informational step. If you want you can test if this works on a breadboard, but for the final product we are not going to use the breadboard. Later on we are going to solder the wires.)

For this project I'm using an Arduino UNO, 4 LEDs and 4 push-buttons

I'm using the 5v port from the Arduino to the + side on the breadboard in the picture above.
The (red) wires that are pinned on the + go toward the push buttons (the white wires). The push button has 2 horizontal lines and once you push the buttons, the button 'opens' on the inside and lets the electricity through. So on the other side of the push button we use a resistor which is also connected with a wire that goes to one of the ports on the Arduino.
The - side of the breadboard is also connected to a resistor that is connected to the short pin of the LEDs. The other side of the LEDs (the tall side) is connected to one of the pins on the Arduino itself.
And last but not least, the - side of the Arduino is connected to the ground port on the Arduino.

This is the code I used to connect a certain push button with a certain LED:
I use the Arduino ports 2, 3, 4 and 5 for the connection with the push buttons and the ports 6, 9, 10 and 11 for the connection with the LEDs

void setup() {

pinMode(2, INPUT);
pinMode(3, INPUT);
pinMode(4, INPUT);
pinMode(5, INPUT);
pinMode(6, OUTPUT);
pinMode(9, OUTPUT);
pinMode(10, OUTPUT);
pinMode(11, OUTPUT);


void loop() {
int buttonState1 = digitalRead(2);
int buttonState2 = digitalRead(3);
int buttonState3 = digitalRead(4);
int buttonState4 = digitalRead(5);

digitalWrite(6, buttonState1);
digitalWrite(9, buttonState2);
digitalWrite(10, buttonState3);
digitalWrite(11, buttonState4);


Step 2: Building the Box

My box is made out of mdf which is 4mm thick. The box itself is 40x40x15cm. In the middle I made a square with sides from 12,5cm wide and 15cm high. This square will contain the arduino, a powerbank and the wires that will go to the different sides of the box.
I also drilled holes in the shape of a big circle on the sides of the box. Those are the peep holes. Then I drilled tiny holes on the side of the box (4mm wide) where the push buttons are going to be attached on the inside.
I glued it together with a quick drying glue for wood.

When you know where you want your LEDs to go in the box, you can saw a little piece out of the middle of the box where the fires will fit through so that when you're done, you can put the lid on the box. You can also glue the boards that are seperating the 4 scenes inside the box once you know where you want the LED's to be. These boards will be going from corner to corner inside the box.

Step 3: Soldering the Wires

In this step we are going to solder the wires and put them in place.

For the + that I talked about in step 1, I used 4 red wires that go from the 5v to the push buttons and 8 blue wires that go from the ground on the Arduino to the 4 push buttons and the 4 LEDs. I used 4 green wires that go from the Arduino ports to the push buttons. These are also attached to the blue wires and a resistor. For the other side of the LEDs (the tall side) I used a wire in the color of the LED so I knew which wire should go in a certain port in the Arduino.
After I finished soldering I glued the boards that separate the 4 sections of the box in place and with duck tape I lead the wires to the correct spots. The push buttons toward the holes I drilled and the LEDs to the correct position.

Out of the top of the box I have sawn a hole and used the frame that remained.
Under the frame I glued a plastic sheet which lets light through, but is not transparent. This way you will get more light in your box without spoiling what's inside of it by looking from above!

Step 4: Decorating the Box

This is a step where you can do really anything you want. You can think of a theme and start collecting anything you like for that. If you want you can also paint the outside of the box to your taste.

for my project I chose for a Victorian era theme. I found some things in the house and went out to a store to look for all kinds of things I could use. Tiny picture frames, a chair, windows, gravel, clay, moss, you name it!
I used clay to make some miniatures too and later painted them with Acrylic paint.

But this part you are free to do whatever you like. Make it pretty!

Step 5: Finishing Up

The last thing that remained for me was making something to push the button with. I chose for a screw with a flat bottom that I glued from the outside of the box onto the push buttons.
I also made 2 monocles (I thought it would fit the theme) with 2 different kind of lenses, a fish-eye and a wide-angle and used these as an extra touch to the project. This way you can look inside the box through different perspectives!

Thank you for visiting!
Enjoy making your Peep-Show Box!