Customizable Holiday Display




Introduction: Customizable Holiday Display

About: I like to play with electronics and other fun stuff, modify things to make them more useful or just more funny, putting things together that seem not to fit to make funny stuff. Sharing ideas make the world ...

I made this instructable for the Instructables Advent Calendar. I hope it adds some fun to your waiting time for Christmas.

This display is highly customizable. I used a mini breadboard instead of a solid circuit board to give you the ability to customize the behavior of the LED by changing the components around the NE555. So this display is not only beautiful - its also educational. Learn about the timer IC NE555 by playing with your "Customizable Holiday Display"!

I added a small contest. Win a 1 year pro membership with your own circuit! See step 4 for more information.

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Step 1: Parts and Tools

Here is what you need:
  • Altoids tin
  • spray paint
  • mini breadboard
  • some wire
  • 9V battery+ battery clip
  • NE555
  • wire
  • black paper
  • translucent paper
for the "default mode":
  • 1 resistor 33k
  • 1 resistor 330 ohm
  • 1 capacitor 100uF
  • 1 transistor BC547
  • 1 LED yellow
for customizations:
  • various resistors
  • various capacitors
  • various LEDs
  • various transistors
  • limit in creativity!
  • knife
  • wire cutter
  • credit card sized plastic card
  • pen
  • scissors
  • paper cutter

Step 2: The Display

  1. Cut out a square 1.25x1.25 in (35x35mm) on your Altoids tin lid. (Pic #1) I used a sharp knife for that.
  2. Color the tin with black spray paint (Pic #2)
  3. Use your credit card as a template to cut out a credit card sized black paper (Pic #3)
  4. Cut out a star (or a symbol you like - I made a heard shaped one for my boyfriend) in the maximum size of the square in the Altoids tin lid (Pic #4)
  5. Glue a piece of translucent paper to the back of the black paper (Pic #5)
  6. Glue the black paper to the Altoids tin lid. (Pic #6)

Step 3: The Electronic

  1. I used double sided tape to fix the battery in the case (Pic #1)
  2. the mini breadboard has a self adhesive backing to fix it (Pic #2)
  3. breadboard the default circuit (Pic #3) by following the step-by-step instruction sheet (Pic #4). Click here to get a bigger version. Cut the leads of the LED, resistors, capacitor and transistor to fit in the tin.
  4. Close the tin.

Step 4: Customize and Win

Because I used a breadboard instead of a solid pcb you can simply change the behavior of the LED by changing the components around the NE555. In the default mode it fades in and out. Have a look at the images for some alternative circuits.

The first one is the simplest. Just light.

Picture #2 shows a circuit for a flashing LED. Change the value of C2 and R1 to adjust the speed.

Picture #3 shows 2 alternately flashing LEDs.

Go creative and share your circuits! (Contest)

I would be happy if you made the display and play around with the circuit. If you made your own circuit design, share it in the comments to get a 1 year pro membership. The only restriction: the circuit has to fit on a mini breadboard. Deadline is Jan. 31th 2012. So go creative and win! 

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    8 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Its a great idea to use a µC for that. I am very curious about your circuit!

    Robot Lover
    Robot Lover

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Here is mine. It's kinda lame. I didn't have any orange or yellow LEDs so I made a tree.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for sharing. Would you also post the circuit and the code for the µC?

    Robot Lover
    Robot Lover

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I will post a few pictures of it in an hour or two.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool entry to the Advent Calendar.
    A contest within a contest is an original idea too :)