LED wand for light painting photography

[Michael Ross] is a photographer who has been getting into light painting recently. He’s come up with his own RGB light wand to create some amazing images, and also written a very, very thorough tutorial (PDF warning) on how to build your own light wand.

The light wand is based on an Arduino Mega board and uses an RGB LED strip based on the HL1606 controller chip. We’ve covered these LED strips before, and they’re very easy to use with the requisite library. So far, [Michael] has built a 48-LED light wand and a 16-LED wand with a 6-position program selector, making it easy to do awesome single-exposure photos like this.

[Michael] creates his images in an Excel spreadsheet – rows are which LED to address and columns are units of time. The picture data is then copied and pasted straight from the Excel worksheet to the Arduino source code. This in itself is a pretty clever use of Excel.

Check out the how [Michael] creates one of his light paintings here.


  1. TM101Radio says:

    This is the coolest thing i ever seen.. When you said wand in the title i thought whoopy doo another led pen for picture taking.. BUT a programmable led light strip blows my mind..

  2. CP says:

    I remember someone did something similar with wireless signal strength. That was also very neat!

  3. anomdebus says:

    Wow, a POV duck hunt game would be awesome!.

  4. I have seen this thing in person and it is amazing. Mike is a great guy and super creative. Y’all should check out his tutorial.


  5. Oh, by the way, I just recently did a interview with Mike and a couple of other light painters. Check out our blog for more info.



  6. Per Jensen says:

    I guess that this guy have not read the documentation for the Arduino Mega, and discovered the VIN-pin…. That DC-connector is just plain wrong there…..

  7. Sebastian says:

    Really cool. Try light painting yourself using your WEBCAM. You could also use your iPhone as light source. Check out the software here: http://www.mylightpainting.com


  8. brian says:

    Does anybody know if there is a place to buy one of these already made?

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