Raspberry Pi Makes Custom Christmas Star Glow with NeoPixels

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Joseph Jankowiak)

With the holidays right around the corner, many makers are using their Raspberry Pi skills to create larger-than-life decorations and one-of-a-kind holiday-themed masterpieces. Today we’ve got a beautiful tree topper project to share with you created by Joseph Jankowiak.

Some of the best Raspberry Pi projects come out of necessity and this project was developed when Jankowiak realized they had no Christmas tree topper planned for this year. Using a Raspberry Pi, Jankowiak made a custom wooden star illuminated with a series of WS2812B NeoPixel RGB LEDs.

According to Jankowiak, the NeoPixels are controlled by a Raspberry Pi 3 using a short Python script to control the LED colors. The real beauty in this build is the star itself. Handmade using walnut and cherry wood, we see the NeoPixels follow the internal lines of the star, creating a subtle rainbow glow. By routing the NeoPixels in this manner we have a glow which doesn't dazzle the eye, while retaining clean lines of the star.

Despite the impressive nature of the current configuration, Jankowiak already has plans to develop a lighter version for the Pi Zero W. This new iteration opens the opportunity to experiment with NodeJS and its NeoPixel library for a possible web interface.

Check out Jankowiak’s official YouTube channel for a demo video of the star in action and be sure to follow him for any possible updates or new projects.

Ash Hill
Contributing Writer

Ash Hill is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.