Why Are We Only Just Now Hearing About LED Beaded Curtains

Beaded curtains are a pretty banal piece of home decor, unlikely to excite most interior design enthusiasts. Throw on some addressable LEDs, though, and you’ve got something eye-catching at the very least, as [Becky] demonstrates.

Joining the LED strands at the bottom made running the wiring easy but made walking through the blinds hard.

The project started with an existing beaded curtain as a base. A series of addressable LED strands were then carefully sewn to the beads using knots tied in plain sewing thread. The strands were configured as a single strand as far as the data lines were concerned, to make animation easy. Power was supplied to both ends of the strand to ensure nice and even brightness across the strands.

The brains of the system is a PixelBlaze controller, which makes it easy to wirelessly control the behavior of the strings. It’s the perfect tool for quickly whipping up fancy animations and pretty effects without hand-assembling a bunch of code yourself.

There was only a few problems with the project. [Becky] found a pretty passable LED beaded curtain from China midway through the project, which reduced her enthusiasm to finish the build. There were also issues walking through the curtain due to the wiring scheme she chose, where the bottom of one strand was connected to its neighbor.

Regardless, it’s a fun blinky build that brings some color to an otherwise drab doorway. It’s hard to complain about that! Video after the break.

20 thoughts on “Why Are We Only Just Now Hearing About LED Beaded Curtains

  1. I mean, not actually just in the way Becky has redesigned them, and I agree, with age, they do seem ‘tacky’. I never grew up with them in my household but it seems like an excellent, if seeming unattractive design to keep out flying insects entering a room. Which, perhaps I am stupid, but I think that is what they were designed for. So I think her re-design is pretty cool.

    But if Becky is really reading this, if, for some reason you really ‘needed this’ (not sure why), but the beads could be ‘stepped up’ to build a temporary ‘Faraday Cage’ ? Say, a ‘digitally disappear cloak’.

    And, sorry, no idea what Becky is otherwise doing today, nor did I ever know her personally, but she was early at AdaFruit, thus just something about the posters tone….

    1. Back in the day of computer tape reels, we would cut one tape into equal lengths about the height of a door way and tape them to the lintel.
      It wasn’t beaded, but it was nerdy.

    1. Not as many LEDs but a lot lower $ and comes with an attached USB power plug and BlueTooth controller. The string can be split up into segments or used as one long segment. https://www.temu.com/goods.html?_bg_fs=1&goods_id=601099515550739

      Temu has a large smart lighting section. To find the addressable stuff search for RGBIC or the specific LED type like WS2811 because they also sell a lot of RGB strips and strings that can only have the entire strip be the same color yet have pictures of the strip lit up in several colors at once.

    1. You can buy led strings that do not require the data passthrough wire from one strand to the next, but actually seem to have each pixel’s address blown into it permanently. That lets you connect each strand only at the top to a single data bus (although you might need additional data buses if you need more than 200 pixels, otherwise pixel 1 of string 1 will mirror pixel 1 of string 2).

  2. Dumb idea, but would it work to use the beads for power transmission ? provided it doesn’t require dangerous amounts of it. It would make the blind turn off when you pass through, but i guess it would retain functionality that way

      1. Sha it’s not like they have them hanging up in open spaces already and they are just single strands of LEDs with no attachment on the bottom

        Ja hahaha good luck as it’s the exact same thing narf

  3. “There were also issues walking through the curtain due to the wiring scheme she chose, where the bottom of one strand was connected to its neighbor.”

    And she only realised this at the end, did she? How ridiculous.

  4. It will expand your mind man! Add an Arduino powered patchouli oil spray and incense inserter. Paisley fabric wall hangings and a some glow-in-the-dark posters of Jimmy Hendrix and dragons and mandalas. A PoV peace sign. Floor cushions with BT speakers and an RPi powered hookah and an old mattress. Moody Blues on a loop. No clocks. Several layers of carpet fragments and some big quartz crystals.

    Almost forgot, the One Million Years B.C. Raquel Welsh poster.

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