Speaker Art





Introduction: Speaker Art

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

This is a very simple and fun way to make a regular canvas painting a bit more interactive. I recently moved to a small town in Scotland with my wife for educational reasons, and was getting a little bored in the evenings (everything is closed at 5, and I mean everything, hospital, police station, you name it). I was working on a painting for a friend who is a saxophone enthusiast and thought it would be cool if I could incorporate some of his music into it. This is a cheap project, about $20-$25 per painting. I apologize if this is not up to standards as other intstructables, since this is my first.

Step 1: Materials

These are the tools and materials I used for this project

Deep edge canvas ( deeper the better)
Paint (I like acrylic)
Paint brushes
Small portable speaker
Cheap MP3 player (I found one for about $12)
Exacto knife (or other small cutting tool)
Some artistic talent (lately I cant seem to find mine)

Step 2: Paint...

First step is to decide on a painting. Again, for this one I painted a "Saxamaphone" for my friend. The music part of this project will be Jazz related. This took about an hour to do, but you can do anything, let your imagination go wild. Some type of audio theme would be cool though.

Step 3: Dont Cut the Wires.....

Next. take apart the speaker casings. They came apart pretty easily, but I did have to use my trusty "cutco" knife to finish it off. Be careful not to cut the wires, which I did, and since they are such a small gauge, a pain to re-attach. You might be able to find flatter casings, that don't need to be taken apart.

Step 4: Assemble

Now, all you have to do is mount the speakers in the back of the painting. I used some scrap wood to hold them in place. This also allows me to remove the speakers if I want. There are many ways to attach them, but in my new place of living I am short on supplies. Next, just clean up the wires and attach the MP3 player. Voila....

Step 5: Improvements...

I am currently working on another one that will have several improvements. I plan on having the controls for the MP3 player on the outside of the painting, so you don't have to flip the painting every-time you want to listen to it. Also, I plan on adding some more powerful speakers, the ones used here are pretty good, but louder is always better. Also I have added a sound level meter that lights up to the music, just another way to make it more interactive. If any one has any suggestions, please let me know. Enjoy.



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    53 Discussions

    Awesome painting, great instructable, you could attach Velcro to the bottom of the painting ant the mp3 so it's still sort of hidden but easy access

    1 reply

    thanks. Velcro would work great. If you see the other one I did ( flight of the Conchords) I made a small cradle out of wire which also works really well, and looks cool with the blue display and blue back lighting.


    You should add a motion sensor that turns the music on when someone walks by!! that would be really cool!

    3 replies

    I like the motion sensor (with timer perhaps). It would save battery life in a low traffic area.

    You beat me to it, LOL - Have a horn section start playing a sequence of 1/8 notes when someone walks by :)  But I'm the guy that brought the frog doorstop to camp each year, so when people walk through the door it croaked loudly :)  Its amazing how oblivious people can be.  The real fun was setting up a CPR dummy in the corner of the living room to scare my room mate and our girlfriends when they came home :)  Now I'll have to find either a billy bass singing fish or frog doorstop to hack for the motion sensor and replace the music with something related to the painting.

    Dude, it's awesome. You just gave me an Idea: Put a bluetooth receiver and hook it up to my phone whenever I want some good music and of course I have a plug on the wall that looks horrible, I'll put some painting on top of it w/ the speakers behind it. Awesome painting by the way :)

    1 reply

    Thanks. Not a bad idea. Check out the updated version here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Audio-Visual-Art....FOTC-Style/

    Post some pics if you decide to make your version


    I relize the speakers are not that AMAZING to begin with, but how does the sound quality differ when putting it behind a "thick" painting like that? Also, does anyone know where I can get GOOOOOD sound quality speakers tht would fin in something like that?

    3 replies

    Although this would take a lot more time, you could actually just place some speakers (and maybe even a sub or tweeter) behind the painting, although I guess you would need a larger power supply.  You could also add a DIY graphic equalizer that folds out from the bottom, but that might be overdoing it a little. . .

    They have some things on Amazon.com called Sonic Impact Stick-On speakers, maybe you could try those.

    You may also want to get a small amplifier to attach to the speakers if you would like it to be louder.

    Really kool idea!! Question- is the sound muffled due to the fact it is behind the painting?

    low tech idea!!! run the wire on the outside of the painting towards the bottom and place Velcro on the mp3 player and on the painting then when you want to change the song or volume simply rip the player off the painting

    You should have LEDs so when a s=certain frequency is reached, they light, seemingly to "Play" the sax. Perhaps you could mount the MP3 in the mouthpiece area?


    2 replies

    how will you be able to make them play at a certain frequency? maybe you could make and ible on that or just call it dancing LEDs. i would be very interested and i can assure you so would other people.