DIY Arduino Music Lights


Hi guys,
Today I would like to show you how I made cheap Arduino powered, beat synced light “towers” for my flatmate’s party.

It all started when my flatmate was organising a birthday party – La Fiesta Grande, and he wanted it to be the most amazing flat party that any of our friends have ever been to. Therefore we decided that we need some music synchronized lights.

These are the finished lights in action:

So I started looking for more information on the internet, and I found this Instructable, which was something I was thinking of doing for quite some time. Couple of months ago, I was trying to make a couple of LEDs blink to a beat using a transistor, but when I accidentally burned my phone’s audio jack, I stopped testing :) Until now!

If you want to head off straight to the coding part, follow this link: DIY Arduino Music Lights part 2.

Materials needed:

  • 16 bright LEDs (I used blue, but could be any color you like)
  • 8 x 100 ohm resistors
  • 8 meters of double power wire
  • Arduino Uno
  • 74HC595 shift register
  • 3.5mm female audio jack
  • 16 foil food boxes from TESCO
  • some perforated protoboard
  • some cardboard
  • some white paper.

Tools needed:

  • soldering iron
  • scissors
  • wire cutters
  • wire strippers (or scissors, but wire strippers make the job a lot easier)
  • small hacksaw (for cutting the protoboard).


Firstly, let’s start by cutting holes in the center of the food boxes for the LEDs. Next, when all boxes are ready, we can start mounting them on a holder. I used a long piece of cardboard, because I had loads of it lying around, and didn’t want to spend any extra money. Ideally I would choose a sheet of plywood or a plastic. To secure the food boxes to the cardboard, I used short pieces of wire, but again, it can be something else – glue or short screws (if you are using plywood).

When all the boxes are mounted, it’s time to cut out some white paper backgrounds, which will go inside the boxes, to diffuse the light better. I think that this step is quite straight forward. For this part, I used the cardboard covers which came with the food boxes.

Next, insert LEDs and solder pieces of protoboard to the back of the whole rig. Then, solder power wires to the LEDs and add resistors.

And for the final touch, add light covers cut from regular white paper to spread the light even better. In the dark it looks like professional lighting equipment :)

Please go to DIY Arduino Music Lights part 2 for the Arduino and programming part of this build.

Enjoy, and have a nice day.

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