Tulipa X RGB Edition




Introduction: Tulipa X RGB Edition

About: Hello world;

Hey guys whazzup!

So this is Tulipa x, a minimal RGB EDITION of the Darwin Hybrid Tulips which are some of the tallest tulips in the world. (spoilers, my setup isn't that tall)

Original idea was to grow some actual tulips but I have no clue how to do that, all I know is to make RGB Related stuff so I made my version of these Darwin Hybrid Tulips with 3D Printed parts and custom PCBs.

The brain of this project is an Attiny85 and it's controlling 49 WS2812B LEDs each soldered on their Breakout board which I made.

My goal here is to make a nice wall decorative light that looks like a tulip, I made this shape by molding a tulip doodle I found online.
In this Instructables, I'm gonna show you guys how I made this Flower shaped lamp in few easy steps.

Let's get started!


3D Printed parts

  • Leaf base x1
  • Leaf Cover x1
  • Stalk base x1
  • Stalk Cover x1
  • Petal Base x1
  • Petal Cover x1


  • RGB LEDs WS2812B LEDs x49
  • Custom PCBs x 49 (provided by PCBWAY)
  • 100nf Cap 0603 x49
  • Solder paste
  • Silver Copper wire
  • Solder paste Dispenser
  • Attiny85
  • IN5399
  • DC Barrel Jack 5mm
  • 5V 1A Charger


SO this was the image that started this whole project, I saw this image and I was completely blown away by its simplicity and minimalistic layout.


Next, I modeled the Tulip in Fusion360 by importing the above Image as a canvas and then marking its outline with Splines.

I Modeled the whole flower in three different parts.

  • Petal
  • Stalk
  • Leaf

Each of the parts contains a base body and a lid which is a diffuser for LEDs. After Modeling the Parts, I exported their 3MF files and then printed them on my ender 3.

Step 3: 3D Printed Parts

For 3D Printing the Parts, I used Black and RED PLA for the Base and Transparent PLA for the diffuser part. However, the stalk lid is printed with Black PLA as the stalk won't contain any LEDs.

As for my Printer settings, I used a 0.5mm Nozzle with 0.2mm Layer height at 20% infill. I'm using Cura slicer here.

After 3D Printing the parts, I prepared the LED Breakout board.

Step 4: PCB Design

As for the PCB required for this project, I used a simple Attiny85 driven circuit in this project. Attiny85 D0 Pin will drive 23 LEDs in the Petal base and D1 will drive 26 LEDs in the Leaf area.

Generally, for such a project, two PCBs can be designed. one for petal base and one for leaf base.

But I Didn't make these two PCBs, because of cost reasons.

This flower is huge, 180mm x 150 mm is just for the petal and 100mm x 200mm for the leaf. If I made these two boards, the overall cost of PCB would be more so to cut the cost of this project, I designed a small polygon-shaped PCB for a single WS2812B LED which contains just the LED connected with a 100nf Capacitor.

Step 5: PIXIE Board

This is the PIXIE Board, it's a WS2812B Breakout Board that is shaped like a polygon.

My idea is to lay out this PIXIE board inside the Petal and Leaf base, then with the help of silver copper wire, I connected each board's VCC and GND together along with Din and Dout Sequence.
This was the plan, A simple plan.

Step 6: Schematic of PIXIE

I first prepared a schematic for this PIXIE Board and then converted it into a Board file, then I prepared the basic shape of a polygon which was 14mm x 7mm long.

At the center of Polygon, I placed WS2812B LED along with the 100nF Cap and then arrange the VCC, GND, Din, and Dout Pads in the right way. After finalizing the PCB, I exported its Gerber data and send it to PCBWAY for samples.

Step 7: Getting the Board From PCBWAY

I used PCBWAY PCB Service for this project. I uploaded the Gerber file of this project on PCBWAY's quote page.

For this PIXIE Board, I choose white solder mask color as I have added few round graphics on the TOP side of the Board. Black silkscreen would look awesome with white color. I ordered a lot of boards as this project requires a lot of LEDs and each board was for each LED.

I received the PCBs in a week and the PCB quality was pretty great, This PCB is small and I like how the quality of these PCBs was not compromised because of quantity or size.
PCBWAY, you guys rock.

Check out PCBWAY service for great PCB service at less cost!


The Assembly process of the PIXIE Board includes mainly three steps

  • solder paste dispensing process
  • pick & place process
  • hotplate reflow


First, we place solder paste on each components pad, I'm using a generic solder paste (SN-Pb Ratio 63-37) with a solder paste dispensing syringe.

Step 10: Pick & Place Process

Then we add components to their assigned place one by one. You could see the schematic for the precise location of each component.

Step 11: HOTPLATE Reflow

After adding components to their location, we carefully lift the PCB and put it on an SMT hotplate.

I made this Hotplate especially for making projects like these which require SMD soldering.

hotplate available in the market were not exactly cheap so I made a minimal version of that which you can check out from here- https://www.instructables.com/DIY-SMT-Hotplate-Pro...

But anyway, the hotplate heats the PCB from below up to the solder paste melting temp, as soon as the PCB reaches that temp, solder paste melts and all the components get soldered to their pads.

We carefully lift this PCB and try not to shake it as the solder paste is still melted and components might stray from their location if moved too much.

we lift the PCB and then place it on a cooler surface for a little bit, to cool down the heat of PCB.

Step 12: REDO the Whole Process for 49 Boards

To make all 49 boards, we have to redo these three steps for all PIXEL Boards.

so I prepared the remaining PCBs which took a lot of time and effort.

Step 13: Testing Setup

Next, I prepared a simple Arduino + Jumper set up to test each board.

Wiring for the testing Setup

  • VCC of PIXEL Board goes to 5V
  • GND to GND
  • and Din of PIXEL Board to D3 of Arduino Nano

Step 14: CODE for Testing Setup

I added the above sketch to the board and manually tested each Board one by one and after making sure that each PIXEL is working, I started the assembly process.


First, I prepared the Leaf portion of the project.

  • I first arrange the PIXEL Boards in a proper alignment. by proper I mean in a better orientation so the soldering job would get easier.
  • then I used hot glue and glue each PIXEL Board to its assigned location one by one. I used a total of 26 Boards for the leaf part and after gluing them to the leaf all that left to do is the wiring.

Step 16: Schematic of PIXIE Connections

  • Wiring of the Leaf part includes connecting all 26 Boards in parallel together and also arranging the Din and Dout of LED Boards.
  • I first connected the Dout of the first PIXEL to Din of Second board, then Dout of second board to Din of Third board, and then the Dout of the third to Din of Fourth, and the list goes on and on.
  • then after this, I connected all the VCC and GND also.
  • I used mainly Silver copper wire and remaining cutouts from LEDs and resistors which I collected for moments like this.
  • Connecting wire to VCC and GND of each Pixel is a hellish work.

Step 17: Prep Work for Petal

Next is to prepare the Petal Portion, I had to do the same process as before and the result was this Petal Base with Densely populated LEDs and so many wires.

Now after the soldering of silver copper wire, I tested both Leaf and Petal with the Arduino Nano setup that I used earlier to check each PIXIE Board.

  • I connected VCC of RGB to 5V
  • GND to GND
  • and Din to D3 of Nano

Code will remain the same as last time, we only had to change the number of LEDs which was 26 for leaf and 23 for petals.

Step 18: 3D Printed Parts ASSEMBLY

Next, I gather all the bottom parts which were Petal, Stalk, Leaf, and then put them together with help of super glue.

I used Superglue to joint Petal with stalk first and then another end of the stalk to Leaf.
A total of two joints was superglued together.

After Superglueing all three parts together, we get a huge single Tulip that contains RGB LEDs inside.

Step 19: Selecting the Right Microcontroller for Driving LEDs

The brain of this project is the mighty Attiny85 MCU.

The reason for using Attiny85 over the previously used Arduino nano is pretty simple actually. Cost and over-killness.
Attiny Cost very very very less in comparison with the Arduino Nano Board. Also, in this project, the space of placing the circuit is an issue and an Arduino board will need more space. also, only two Digital pins are being used so why to choose a Microcontroller with 13 pins that would just sit idle.

To keep things simple and easy to use, I choose Attiny85 which is a low-power Microchip 8-bit AVR® RISC-based microcontroller that combines 8 KB ISP Flash memory, 512B EEPROM, 512B SRAM.

It has six IO Ports and operates between 2.7-5.5 volts which is ideal for our application which is to drive two separate WS2812B LED lines from D0 and D1 Pins.
I prepared a simple Perf board Setup according to the below schematic. For Plugging and unplugging the Attiny85 on the circuit, I added a DIP8 Socket for convenience.

The idea here is to flash the Attiny85 before putting it on the IC socket, if in the future I want to alter the code, I can remove the IC from its place and Flash it, then put it back on.

Step 20: Final CODE

Code for this project is a simple one to understand.

We first Define our Digital pins and the number of Neopixels that we will use, then in the loop section, we constantly run two functions which are Ring 1 and Ring 2. In-Ring 1, I have set the RED and BLUE colors to high so color fluctuate between them at random. In-Ring 2, the Green color is set throughout. it won't change.

In the end, there's the setColor function that does all the random "color-changing work".

If You have a different number of LEDs, just change the #define NUMPIXELS1 23and #define NUMPIXELS2 26 according to the number of LEDs you have.

Next, we Flash this sketch into the Attiny85

Step 21: Flashing Process With Arduino As ISP Programmer

As for the Flashing Process, we cannot directly program ATTINY85 through any USB, I mean there's a method for programming the Attiny straight from the USB port but I'm not doing that.

Instead, I'll be using the ISP flashing method which will utilize the SPI Pins of attiny85 to burn the bootloader in it and then Flash.

Getting Attiny13 Core Installed on Arduino IDE
Before starting the Flashing process, we first need to download and install the Attiny85 Core files in Arduino IDE.


  • File->Preferences on a PC, or Arduino->Preferences on a Mac, enter the above URL in "Additional Boards Manager URLs
  • Tools -> Boards -> Boards Manager... *If using 1.6.6, close boards manager and re-open it (see below)
  • Select "ATTinyCore by Spence Konde" and click "Install".

AVRs chips usually come blank, they need to be set up to be Arduino IDE compatible but to do that you need an AVR programmer do to that, for example, a USBASP.

Fun Fact, you could make your own AVR Programer with an Arduino Uno or a Nano board in a very easy step.

  • Connect your Arduino board with com port and select the following sketch
  • Example>ArduinoISP upload this sketch onto your board
  • After uploading, go to the tools menu and choose the Arduino as ISP option in the programmer section.
  • Now for flashing Attiny85, we can select the Attiny85 in the Board section.

The programming process uses VCC, GND, and four data pins. Three pins connect MISO, MOSI, and SCK between the programming micro and the target micro, the fourth pin from the programming micro goes to the reset pin of the target.

Wire the Attiny85 with Arduino in the above way. (also right after uploading ISP Sketch to your Arduino, do not forget to add a 10uf Cap between Reset and GND pins of your Arduino board)
Instead of using an Arduino UNO and a breadboard for this job, I will use my DIY Attiny Programmer which I made for flashing the Attiny or Atmega MCUs.

which you can check out from here-


  • connect the Board to the Arduino as ISP Setup in the above wiring config
  • choose the right port, right programmer (Arduino as ISP), and hit Burn Bootloader
  • wait for few seconds, you will get done burning the bootloader message.
  • Now Open the sketch that you want to upload to this AttinyGo to the Sketch menu and select Upload using the programmer.
  • and your Sketch will get uploaded onto the attiny85.

Also, because the programmer I'm using has DIP sockets, I just plug the MCU in it and flash the code inside it, then removed the MCU.

Now after Flashing the MCU with the main code, I added the Attiny85 on the main circuit and started the final wiring process of this project.


above is the main wiring diagram of the overall setup

The goal here is to connect Attiny85's VCC to VCC of LEDs, GND to GND, D0 to Petal's RGB Din, and D0 to Leaf's RGB Din with wires.

Also, for powering this setup, I'm using a generic Barrel Jack connector.
I added an IN5399 Diode in between the VCC of Barrel jack and Attiny85 and connected its GND to the GND of Attiny85.

After this, the wiring is done, Now we put on the Lid on all three bodies and hang this setup on a wall.


As for the power source, I used a 5V 1 A Charger to power this setup.

This setup only contains 49 RGB LEDs and each led consumes very little current so a 1A Charger will work without breaking any sweat.

Step 24: RESULT

Here is the result.

This setup works something like this, so the green LED will stay on forever and the tulip LEDs will randomly shuffle between RED and BLUE shades.

This can be altered by tweaking the provided code or add a whole new code into this setup.


As for the improvements required, I have to prepare a full-size leaf and petal PCB.

For saving cost, I prepared a small breakout board for single WS2812B LEDs, the setup did work but it was hard to make because of the manual soldering of VCC GND and Din-Dout Pads.
The wise choice here is to get a large size PCB for this project, they would cost more but we dont have to do the excess wiring required in this project.

Will be using the PCBWAY's service again for the V2 of this project!

Check out PCBWAY for getting high-quality PCB Service at a less and economic cost.

This is it for today, Leave a comment if you guys need any help, and I'll be back with another project soon!


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    21 days ago

    Your instructables keep getting better and better! A+ documentation and gifs :D

    Arnov Sharma
    Arnov Sharma

    Reply 20 days ago