Led Matrix 16x16




About: Engineering student who loves to make stuff.


This is my first instructable I've ever written, so excited to work on this :)

So in this project, I'm gonna show ya how to make this awesome 16 by 16 led matrix.

It's verry nice to build and you learn a lot while doing it.

Most of the time I just make stuf, because I like it, but this time I taught maybe it can be really functional.

First of all, you can use it as an beautiful decoration piece (almost art :) ), secondly, you can use it as an dimmable light source for your vid's.

So after al this blablabla, let's build stuff!!

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Step 1: What Hardware (materials) Do You Need?

Most of the parts I found on ebay (words are hyperlinked), mdf and acrylic available in a local shop.

Step 2: What Tools Do You Need?

You need some tools, but if you are (like me) an enthusiastic DIY'er, you will have them arround.

Step 3: LaserCutting the Enclosure

I've made the hole enclosure out of MDF, it's cheap, duarble and it's easy to use.

I went to a local laser cut shop to cut the pieces out of a 300mm by 600mm mdf sheet.

See step 1 for the thickness of the sheets.

You can find the files for the pieces below. (you're welcome ;) )

Files pieces pdf

Files pieces .ai

Step 4: Put It Toghetter

First step is put all the mdf plates togheter,

you just glue all the pieces together like in the pictures, the 3mm plates have a little hole on one side,

this hole (rectangle cutout) are ment for cable management, so no light will escape the boxes :).

Just switch them the way you are wiring you led matrix.

You can start out of every corner; as long as you follow the S- patern (see picture) (I started in the upper left corner) (note; code will be different later on, but still solvable)

After you put the mdf together, you start glueing your leds and start soldering all the components like the schematic. ( this will take a lot of time, just be patient!)

Note: I see that I forgot to draw the resistor in the schematic, this one 470 ohm resistor must be placed between the digital pin on the arduino nano and the input of the first led of the matrix.

I've made some holes for the arduino nano, potentiometer and switch in the upper left corner of the matrix (side panels)

On the arduino I've used pin D9 for the leds (but schematic says 8? yes, but I've changed it ;), you can chose; al the digital pins will work --> just change the code later) and pin A1 for the potentiometer.

Step 5: Let's Power It Up

Uhh, I've put in the matrix but it doesn't work, ...

Well, ... that's because your Arduino nano doen't have any code to read ---> let's fix that.

First the simpel code (always the same, cause we are gonne you the serial connection over usb ;) )

Crucial notes:

  • Serial connection doen't work wireless ;) (for Jinx see later, you must always plug in a usb cable)
  • Before connecting arduino to pc, make sure you power your led matrix first from the wall outlet, if not; it will damage your pc, cause it drains a lot of current!!!!!!!!!!
  • If you haven't already; you must install the FastLed Library, you can find this in the arduino IDE!

Jinx (files below)

What is Jinx, it's a program that renders pixels for led matrices.

How to use it;

  • first go download all the files below
  • unpack Jinx and install the arduino IDE (I guess, you already have that)
  • change the ino file (if necessary) and upload it to your arduino nano (Board and COM-port must be correct)
  • keep the usb cable connected
  • run Jinx
  • click setup --> matrix options and change your matrix size (mine 16 by 16 pixels)
  • click setup --> output device and choose the correct one
  • click setup --> start output
  • enjoy the possibilities (just play arround)

Jinx arduino file

Jinx setup file

Step 6: No Serial

I know right, you wanne get lost of the usb cable;

Well, there's a way, but it's a little harder to program this time, cause the code will be different for every picture/gif.

Instead of uploading the code for Jinx, use this ino file.

I't runs without Jinx and doesn't require a usb connection when uploaded.

Especially for you guy's the one's that read the whole instructable; I upped a file named Spooky.ino.

It displays the 4 pacman phantoms you love ;)

Turn the potentiometer arround and find out what it does :p

You can tweak it arround and make your own if you want ;)


Step 7: Let's Rock That Party

Now you got your own.

So have fun and enjoy your selfmade RGB LedMatrix :p

Show it to your friends and family, post it in the reactions!!

If you got any questions, please ask, will do everything to help you guys!!

If you liked this project follow me and vote for this project, will upload more!

See you soon!!


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    35 Discussions


    26 days ago

    The acrylic (PMMA) sheet it says 58.85 mm i think is should be 58.85 cm

    1 reply

    4 weeks ago

    Its not functional. In what way, you can say, the steps are clear?
    • click setup --> matrix options and change your matrix size (mine 16 by 16 pixels)
    • click setup --> output device and choose the correct one
    Jinx didn't work
    P.S. My Nano got so hot and broke. Spooky is terribly bright. Nasty tutorial
    1 reply

    Reply 25 days ago

    Did you upload the correct program to your nano board, before connecting it to jinx?
    The Spooky.ino file is written for WS2812B leds, you can change your leds in the file configuration. Normally it will adjust the brightness correctly. 255 is indeed max brightness, but you can change it of course as you wish. I don't know the reason why your nano is getting hot, but i think the problem can be with powering it. Hope some of this will help you


    1 year ago

    I really don't understand those ad pages and why did you have to use those instead of just posting proper urls???

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Those adds give my a little money for every click, that money will be invested in future projects! Nothing is free you know :p


    3 months ago


    Great project. Really looks awesome and great functionality.

    I was wondering, if you made more panels, would you be able to link them? For example one image over 3 panels? Or synchronised repeated display? Thanks

    1 reply

    Reply 2 months ago

    One way to do this is to connect the end of the data wire to the beginning of the other matrixes. I think it would be possible to connect multiple matrixes to the software, but i didn't test that.


    Question 1 year ago

    Has anyone managed to download the files? I only get spam websites when I try.

    3 answers

    Answer 1 year ago

    I added indeed some adds, wait 5 sec and press skip, you will find everything you need.

    These projects take time and money, hope you will understand. It won't cost you anything!!


    Reply 3 months ago

    Not cool to add ads. This is a free website and you did not make this project to create this instructable. So yes, the project costs time and money, but it would have also cost you money if you did not make an instructable.


    Question 1 year ago on Step 7


    the spooky is not working, how did you connect the leds? just as on a role, mine works in GLEDIATOT same as yours in jinx, but the spooky coms complete hacked in my matrix, also on a 8x8 an original matrix from ebay see pictures. where to change the LAYOUT and HOW.

    64 leds and 225 matrix

    ik heb je hulp nodig mijn spook ligt uitelkaar in de matrix, dus JOU layout is anders gesoldeerd mijn is snake net als op de rol van 1 naar 225 dmv links naar rechts

    1 answer

    Answer 12 months ago

    This has to do with the way they were wired I think.
    See scematic for how I did this.
    The other possibility to solve this is to change the led coördinates to your's


    1 year ago

    This is mine.



    Question 1 year ago

    What settings should be used for the Output Device on Jinx?

    1 answer

    Answer 1 year ago

    I used the default settings. I changed the size to a 16by16 matrix

    and selected the 1 output that was availleble.

    If you see multiple devices. I would say, unplug the device and replug it and see witch one was added to the list.