New Guide: Ocean Resin Lightbox Image Scroller with RGB Matrix

A new guide in the Adafruit Learning System: Ocean Epoxy Resin Lightbox with RGB LED Matrix Image Scroller

We love this new tutorial from Erin St Blaine. She uses epoxy resin to make a beautiful beach scene that sits on a shadow box style picture frame. Inside the box is a Feather M4 Express microcontroller attached to an RGB matrix. The CircuitPython code scrolls images across the matrix, creating a magical bioluminescence effect behind the resin “waves”.

This is a really unique piece of art and looks like it’s a lot of fun to make. From the guide:

Explore the depths of your own personal ocean. Epoxy resin, alcohol inks, sand, and seashells come together to make a magical luminous ocean experience for your wall or desk. Each piece you create will come out unique, colorful, and beautiful.

The electronics assembly is pretty simple – the only soldering you’ll need to do is stacking and assembling the Feather and FeatherWing. The LED matrix plugs into the FeatherWing and into the wall using connectors, so doesn’t need to be soldered at all.

Epoxy resin is tricky by nature. Temperature, humidity, and dust need to be managed with any resin project. However, as resin projects go, I’ve found this to be about the easiest one I’ve ever done — and also the hardest to mess up. Stray bubbles or dust motes in your resin actually add depth and interest to this particular project – more bubbles make the ocean waves look more realistic! And as you’ll see, mixing and pouring all the pretty colors is incredibly satisfying.

The software and coding requires a little bit of setup if you haven’t used CircuitPython before. Once you’re set up, you can copy and paste our code and images or dig in and customize with your own artwork.


We can’t wait to see your take on this project! Join the Adafruit community on Discord to show off your work!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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