Fun Disco Ball Gift: Personalised Lights and Music




Introduction: Fun Disco Ball Gift: Personalised Lights and Music

About: love physics - want to become an electrical engineer , love to build tweek and learn new technologys

This was a fun project I did to help a friend who wanted to give a unique and personal gift to her other friend. The project start of as a pop up/explosion box but it then turned into a disco ball light with music. For this Instructables I am going to be focusing mainly on the electronics I used but I would also stick in some of the arts and crafts. Reason for this is my friend didn't take much pictures of her creating the box process. This is my first time actually publishing an Instructables and I hope you like and enjoy it. Comments, and constructive criticism and upgrades are welcome. I am also entering this into the HomeMade Gift contest so you know the thing "Vote up, like rate and subscribe" if you found it was good or let me know how I could have made it better :D.


  1. Music, Lights and Motor Auto-On when opening the Box
  2. Sides that automatically fall
  3. Customizable Music Via SD Card
  4. Rechargeable Battery
  5. Makes you the life of the party
  6. Controllable motor speed

Step 1: What Do You Need?

Forgive me if I forget some parts/things here. I am working backwards since the present was already made and given and in the process was not thinking to record everything I used. Use this as more of a guide to help you make your own unique version. A Lot of these parts I had Lying around doing nothing so it didn't cost anything of me to make it and in the electronics section I will be quoting things from amazon so I would try my best to find the cheapest version available (china is always the answer once you got time)


  1. Glue Gun and Glue sticks (literally love this)
  2. Soldering Iron and Solder- You can twist the wires and use tape but I recommend the iron
  3. Pliers / Nippers
  4. Paper Glue or Industrial Glue - whatever is your fancy.
  5. Box cutter or Hobby Knife
  6. Scissors
  7. Pencil
  8. 12 inch Ruler/Square


  1. Basic Soldering ( I would put a video lower down I found was helpful )
  2. Basic glue gunning (I do not know if this is a thing but I want to make it a thing)
  3. Ability to use a knife/scissors without hurting oneself
  4. A "can do" attitude


I had a lot of these lying around from other projects so I did not have to order anything, I put the links as reference but I sure you can find some lying around your home especially if like me you do a lot of arduino based projects.

  1. Wire ( I personally have a pack of these)
  2. Battery ( I used a old Samsung S3 battery I had lying around but you can use :
  3. Lipo 1S Changer:
  4. Switch
  5. Limit Switch:
  6. Sound Module:
  7. Mini Speaker :
  8. 5mm LED lights (Your Choice):
  9. LED protection resistors 220 ohms: Included above
  10. Motor:
  11. 100 ohm potentiometer for speed control :

Optional - Custom Colors:


Attiny MCU:

Arts and Crafts:

All of this should be available near you somewhere - at your local arts and craft store or bookstore

  1. Some old CD's - who really uses these
  2. Styrofoam ball - a 3 inch diameter is good if you going with 5 x 5 x 6 inch cube
  3. Wooden Skewers
  4. Clear Tape
  5. A sheet of Cardboard/ paperboard/ Bristol board / Stock Card
  6. 2 X different Spray paints with primer to give a glitter effect.

Step 2: Arts and Crafts: the Box, the Base and the Ball

This part was mainly done by my friend so I do not have much of the details but I would try to explain it the best I can. The Box was a 5 x 5 x 6 inch box. The Disco Ball was a 3 inch diameter styrofoam ball. The Base was 2 Inches high off the ground.

First Check out these Instructables I found on making the box. I was corrected .. It is called an explosion box by my friend.

Note: this was found after the box was made but the concept is basically the same and I found they did it well:

The Box is split into three main parts. The Base which would hold the electronics which includes the battery, etc, The Top which would be used to hold the sides of the box when closed. Note the sides should be strong and straight. This is to ensure they do not bulge by the switch area and ensure the switch is pressed when the box is closed.

The Disco Ball:

This was made simply by take a bunch of CDs and a pliers and/or scissor and making the reflective side in to small mirrors. Cutting them square is best but time consuming.

Once the tiny mirrors are made. Glue gun them carefully to the foam ball to make the disco ball.

Bear in mind the bigger the disco ball the bigger the box has to be and also the more weight the motor has to drive. I would leave the size up to you.

Check out this instructables I found and liked its prettly simple:

Mind Blown an instructable in an instructable :O.

The Base:

The base is a small box turned upside down so that the bottom is open. I recommend a height room of at least one to two inches to compensate for the motor and other electronics .

The Box:

Again this is a simple box sized to hold your base and disco ball. The sides are cut so that once the top comes off the sides fall opening the surprise on the inside. See:

I really like how they did it here. Kind of sucks that I only found it after the project was done and all the mistakes was made.

I suggest if using cardboard or any tiny type paperboard to use two layers on the side. What happen is the first time the sides were too thin so when you fold them up to close the box the switch would remain open keeping the disco ball and music on.

Step 3: The Electronics

Battery to Charger

For this project I am using a 1S or one cell Li-ion battery. Now these are special battriers unlike alkaline batteries should never be over discharged or over charged. Check out :

To prevent this you normally have to use a li-ion or li-po balance charger and BMS (battery management system) to ensure your battery does not exploise or become useless. I got the 1A 5V Micro USB TP4056 battery charger which has 4 main connectors. On the samsung or most other old phone batteries also normally have 4 pins. A quick look at the side of the battery you can find indicators for the positive and negative pins. I just dropped some solder on the contacts and using ribbon cable to make a wired connections.

Just incase : How to solder

On the charger module you will see B+ and B- which go to the positive battery pole and negative battery pole respectfully. NOTE: the ground of the battery is not the game as the ground on the board. Solder wires to the OUT + and OUT - which would provide you with your positive/high/hot connections and your ground respectfully. I would recommend use a standardise colour for positive and ground in your circuit just so it is easier on you.

Charger to Switch

We use a switch to disable the system when charging the battery or just as a master power switch incase it gets annoying. I had put this in last because I realised when I was done doing small repairs and touches where difficult because the motor/lights and music would be on once you open the box.

With the Positive wire only, solder a wire to the other end to middle pin on the switch. It is always recommend to put switch on the live or energised side of a circuit even though it can be placed at the ground side also.

You can see how the switch works here.

By soldering a wire to any one of the side/end pins we can complete or break the circuit by sliding the switch to the other side.

Switch to Limit Switch

The Limit Switch is used as a normally closed push button. They have a flat pressed state and are soft to press so that the sides can be used to open and close the circuit.

Labeled on the switch there will be 3 pins. "COM" which means common is the single share connector. Your wire from the switch should be solder to this. The other two pins NC normal closed and NO normally open pins represent the default state of the switch when the switch is depressed.

I like this image I found which shows it visually.

We would want to solder a wire from the NC pin to the rest of the circuit. This is because when the box is closed the switch would be pressed and we want to circuit to be open. When the box is open and the switch returns to a natural state we want the switch to be closed aka normally closed.

Limit Switch to ....

Here comes the hard a part. Everything after here needs to be run in parallel. If you dont know what this means well check out this link :

We want everything run in parallel because one, we want all the leds, motor and sound module to get the same terminal voltage and also if a LED goes bad we do not want all the devices to be affected. You can see the circuit diagram I attached to see how to connect the rest of the circuit up.


Leds are cool components that are low power and last long. Only problem is then are easily damaged by high currents. so a protection resistor is always need to limit the current going to a LED. The LEDs I used are 5mm diodes that have a max current rating of 20mA. Using Ohm's law we can get a good estimate of a protection resistor, V = IR -> R = V/I = 3.7/20mA = 185 ohms. Any resistance around this would be ideal to protect the diode but the closer to this value the brighter the LED will light. The link for LEDs I recommend come with 200 ohm resistors which is a ideal and safe resistance value to protect the diodes while still maintaining a good brightness. This resistor can be placed on the positive or negative side of the diode but must be in series with each diode. All the LEDs with resistors should be connected in parallel.

Note: On LEDs the Long leg is the positive side. If you cut the legs then you can always look on the LED itself for a flat notch at the base which would tell you which leg is the negative/cathode.


I added a 100 ohm potentiometer in series with the motor because i found directly connecting it to the motor was causing it to spin way to fast. I found the 100 ohm POT was best since give the best speed range without stalling the motor. Higher resistance potentiometer only had a small portion of the wheel giving speed control.

Sound Player

Data Sheet:

Once you have put Your sounds on the microSD memory card you can put it in the sound module. Sounds should be mp3 or WMV. See the data sheet and image above to connect the speaker and power to the sound module. Simply powering up the sound module would not cause the music to play automatically. You would normally have to connect and press resistive control buttons to start and control the player. Since in my project music control was no necessary and I simply just wanted the device to start automatically I simply hard wired the play button to ground causing the player to always start at the first song. The down side to this is lose all other control ability. I did not care much for this anyways.

Step 4: Everything Together

Using a glue gun and hobby knife simply cut out holes in the base for the LEDs, Motor, Limit Switch, Charger and micro SD as see in the image above. use glue gun to secure everything in place.Test and make sure all modules work. Charge battery close box. Ensure the a microUSB charger can fit and charger the a battery and that the SD card can be taken out without problem and it does not affect the closing of the box.

If you find the limit switch is not being pressed when the box is closed it might be the sides are not stiff enough or the switch is not out enough to be pressed. See my photos for reference.

Step 5: Give It Away to Someone Special

Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

LED Contest 2017

Participated in the
LED Contest 2017

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    2 Discussions


    2 years ago

    That's a pretty fun and unique gift idea, I'm sure they loved it :)

    Master Barran
    Master Barran

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks, they did, they are basically using it as a portable speaker/lights now