Audio Visual Art....FOTC Style




About: Jack of all trades, master of none. Father, husband, creator.

This instructable is based on one I previously posted, Speaker Art and was made for my wife and as a tribute to the best folk parody duo, The Flight of the Conchords. If you have never heard of FOTC, please check them out below. I will show you how to integrate lighting and music into a personal painting. The theme is up to you, but I hope you enjoy this tutorial, and maybe become a fan of the Conchords, enjoy.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials

The tools and materials for this instructable are straight forward, and you can improvise and substitute where needed.


Deep Canvas
Paint (acrylic, oil, water, etc) I used acrylic
Variety of brushes
MP3 Player
Slim portable speakers (I got mine for $10)
Coat hanger
PVA and Hot Glue
Electrical wire
LED(I used 5mm blue)
On/Off Switch
Power Supply (9v Battery)
4 small srews


Utility Knife
Wire Cutters
Soldering Iron
A little artistic talent and patience

Step 2: Lets Get Painting

The First thing we need to do is create your painting. Choose whatever you like, but I think a music theme would be appropriate, but that is up to you. I chose to go for the Andy Warhol Pop Art style. This method is simple, limited in colours, and is very forgiving if you make mistakes.

Now I have been painting for some time, and find that using Photoshop to generate a template is the easiest way. You can find dozens of tutorials online giving the step by step process. If you have trouble, just message me, and I'll talk you through it.

Now you can either project the image on to the canvass with a projector, or do free hand like I did. Below are some progressive pictures of the painting, and the original screen shot I used as focus for the painting.

The painting took about two hours all together.

Step 3: Wire It Up...

Ok, time to wire up the painting. I used 6 blue LED's, 3 - 30 ohm resistors, a simple switch and a 9v battery.. I used to design the schematics and to find out which resistors to use. If you have never used LED's before, search Instructables, as you will find dozens of tutorials to help you out.

I wired everything before I installed it on the frame to make sure it all worked, since we will be gluing it to the frame, you will not be able to change it.

Once you are happy with everything, glue it into place. Make sure you leave some room with the leads to the LED's. This way you can adjust their position when you are finished to get the optimum effect.

Step 4: Let's Make Some Noise...

Now, take your speakers and position them in the center of the painting and glue them to the base. Make sure you can still access the power supply, whether its mains powered or battery. Make sure there is a gap between the front of the speakers and the canvas; this will help generate better sound quality. I used hot glue to keep them in place.

Step 5: Clean It Up, and Space It Out....

Once everything is where you like it, paint the back of the canvas to give it that clean look. Once the paint has dried, place 4 screws near each corner. This will help generate a gap between the painting and the wall to increase the "glow" effect. The good thing about the screws is that you can adjust them till you find the perfect medium.

Step 6: Add Some Tunes....and a Cradle...

Ok, we are almost done. Cut a piece from a coat hanger and bend (with pliers) to your desired shape, which will act as a cradle for the MP3 player at the front of the painting. Once you are happy with the shape, give it a coat of paint to match your artwork. When the paint is dry, glue it on to the bass (center of the painting).

Step 7: Enjoy...

Ok, find a place on your wall to hang you new masterpiece, hook up the MP3 player, place in the cradle, hit the switch and enjoy. It took a couple of tries to get the desired glow I was looking for. I didn't want something that over powered the painting, but gave a subtle yet noticeable look. The speakers are 3 watts each, and really give off a good sound.

I hope you liked my instructable, and please leave a comment, suggestions for improvements, and pictures of the ones you made. Cheers.

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    193 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Pretty much finished my painting, took a lot longer than 2 hours though, more like a whole day whilst watching countless films! If you cant tell its Mohammed Ali vs Joe Frasier

    6 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Cheers man, im just waiting on my speakers and leds to arrive. Also, where on earth can i find electrical wire? I live in the UK so theres no radioshack for me to go to, so my easiest option is online. What should i be searching for. And last thing, would it be possible to solder in lots of different colour leds and making them slowly change between the colours?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, I'm in the uk as well. If I am making large orders, I use for parts, and the wire they sell is really cheap., I do salvage as much as I can, as its free. All the LED's in this project were from little flashlights people had thrown away. Colour changing LEDS would be cool, and I thought of this, but with the blue/black and white colouring of the painting, I stuck with just the blue LED's. I have never really wired colour changing LEDs, but there are instructable on how to do it. Also, ebay is great for large orders of LEDs. Good Luck


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    3A will be enough for this project. The large the core the lest resistance. So if you are buying more thicker core is better, but for LED and simmilar projects this will be fine.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great job! Maybe you could make an "A" box canvas fram and then use a pendant light. That way you don't have to use a schematic for the LED light.

    Look into some photoshop alternatives. GIMP is completely free and very similar to PS, but it's in French. Paint.NET is a program that's not nearly as powerful, but also free and has every function you'll need for this.

    Well, there are some free programs out there such as Acorn (I think it's only for Mac OSX), or you could try the Pirate Bay.

    I made this last December. I bought my LEDs on Ebay. like Christmas lights. So I just wrapped them around the inside of the canvas a few times. It worked pretty well.

    I left out the music part though, just ran out of time.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey was inspired by yours, a friend having a bday soon, so thought i would share my attempt!! my mate loves the blues brothers so here goes......!!

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    HEy! I sent a comment earlier but I can't see it posted....soooo TAKE 2!
    I think your project is really awesome! Im a FOTC fan so im totally gonna make one for myself! I was wondering if you could send the pic you used (the photoshoped one)!??! It would be awesome!
    THanks a lot!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    WoW!! This is just great! Im a big fan of FOTC and Im totally gonna make one for myself! But please! Can you send the picture that you used? The photoshoped one? That would be awesome!!! Please!?!


    9 years ago on Step 7

    this is awesome! I'm going to try making it for my brother as a Christmas present


    9 years ago on Introduction

    "Just gets into this ridiculous Russian doll situation"