"Home Sweet Home" Shadow Box with Sequencer Lighting and Location-Based Cloud On/Off Control

by RichB

Published on July 23, 2014

After a hard day's work wouldn't it be nice to come home to a "Home Sweet Home" shadow box with swirling multi-colored light welcoming you?  The littleBits sequencer makes this possible.  See the link below to an m4v video showing the shadow box in action.

A cloud module can be triggered to automatically turn on your "Home Sweet Home" when you enter a geographic region of a radius of your choosing while driving home from work.  It can also be set to turn off the device automatically each day as you leave this geographic region while on your way to work.

Alternatively, you can have the cloud module turn on your shadow box each day at sunset and turn it off each day at sunrise.   

How To Make It


Although this project shows a "Home Sweet Home" visual that was printed on a piece of transparency film, you can use your creativity to come up with your own design and materials. It might be interesting to have a different design for each season, or for different holidays throughout the year. You will probably want to have some kind of a diffuser behind your design so that the light from the LEDs and sequencer will be blurred. I found a piece of scrapbook paper at a Michaels store that worked well. I used narrow square wood dowel rods to hold the design and diffuser in place just behind the glass in the front of the shadow box.


The figure entitled Outside Back shows the bits that were fastened to the outside back cover of the shadow box with littleBits adhesive shoes.  An AC 120V wall to usb adapter was used to power the shadow box, allowing plugging the shadow box anywhere within range of your Wi-Fi.  The button provides manual ON/OFF cloud control of the shadow box.  The latch remembers the latest ON/OFF state.  The dimmer is used to control the speed at which the sequencer sequences its attached LEDs.  Note that when the shadow box is OFF, there will still be one or two LEDs on, but all sequencing will have stopped.

The figure entitled Inside Back shows the sequencer and its attached LEDs with a variety of color settings.  The shadow box has a hook-and-loop backing, so littleBits hook-and-loop shoes were used to attach the bits to the backing.  If you use a larger shadow box, you might want to connect each of the LEDs to the sequencer using a wire.  (For the shadow box of this project, I just wanted the lights to be sequencing inside the text Home Sweet Home, so no wires were needed.)

(The 8" x 10" shadow box used was purchased at a Michael's craft store for about $20.)


The top recipe in the figure above entitled Recipes shows the recipe that was used to turn the shadow box on automatically when nearing home and off when leaving home. It uses the iOS Location IFTTT channel. I believe that there is a similar channel for those of you with Android devices, but I have not worked with the Android channel. The bottom recipe is the recipe that is used to turn the shadow box on or off by pressing the button on the back of the shadow box. It uses the littleBits Input Received trigger and Activate Output action.


The figure above entitled Alternate Recipes provides the recipes that can be used to automatically turn the shadow box on at sunset and off at sunrise each day. As can be seen in the figure, the recipes make use of the IFTTT Weather channel as triggers. 

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