"A" 74HC595 is not enough for a 5x5 grid, you need 10 control pins, and that only gives you 8.
Okay, thanks. I suspected that from a bit of Googling, but wasn't sure.
Spend $1.25 at taydaelectronics.com and get a MAX7219, a 30K trimpot, a piece of prototyping board, and 2x20 pin headers and start building.
Will end up with something way more secure & reliable than trying to do it on breadboard. LEDs too if you need them.
Order today, will have parts in your hand in a couple of days.
Would this require soldering? I'm still trying to sort out how all these different components work. I guess I'm not really clear on how the pin headers work.
Thanks for all the help so far.