Holiday Sign Arduino

I am getting ready to purchase my first Arduino kit. Besides going through the cool looking beginner projects and tutorials, I have a specific project in mind. I want to build with as few wires and connections as possible a sign with matrix ( I think it is called) led's. I want to be able to at the end enclose in something that will hang in a window and hopefully run from battery power, or AC is fine.

I want to be able to program all the different holidays in the Arduino, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, 4th of July, Easter, Halloween, etc.....

I am ordering a kit to get started and play with a lot of projects but want to know what I need for my main holiday sign project as this is what I really want to accomplish at this time.

Something exactly like this but I might use smaller matrix for now, and if it's easier to just upload the new programs rather than control from cellphone that would be fine.

Any help appreciated,


An 8x8 LED matrix can be one character.
If you want Merry Christmas, you'd need 14 of them.

Can you join them togther like that?

No, even one 8x8 matrix can show a long message, by scrolling it. Looks better with at least 4 8x8 matrixes tho.

Displays like those can be daisy-chained.


Here's one I made that uses 4 8x8 matrices, with a MAX7219 for each one for control. They can be daisychained to use minimal IO pins.

See the parola library if you're not up to figuring the code out
Can find lots of MAX7219/8x8 displays on e-bay.

No, even one 8x8 matrix can show a long message, by scrolling it. Looks better with at least 4 8x8 matrixes tho.

Displays like those can be daisy-chained.


Yes, you can scroll.

It wasn't clear from the OP that he wanted a scrolling message.
If so, then I hope he makes that clear.

Yes I figure I have to use the scrolling because of the length of some of the holidays. New Arduino kit has shipped and should be here toward the end of the week (I hope). Like a kid in a candy store, can't wait to go through some of the tutorials and start working on my holiday sign project, and a ton of others projects. Since I am getting a large kit with 8x8 matrix, 4 and 1 digit 7 segment displays, LCD display, I'll be able to play with it and see which size and type display I prefer.

Sounds like the 8x8 matrix with the MAX7219 (I think) is the option with the least amount of wires or connections to make what I want. Is this true? Or can the same be done with the 7 segment displays.

Went to a technical school a 100 years ago and know a little bit about this stuff as I remember hooking up led's and making them do stuff and I think some 555 timer chips etc..., but it's been so long :slight_smile: Man I wish things like Arduino were around at that time!

Thanks everyone!

7 segment displays can only show numbers. The lcd can display messages but won't look very impressive in your window. A larger led matrix would be better e.g. 32x8 for your project. Enjoy the tutorials.


Something like this

needs exactely 2 wires to the Arduino: one data line and ground.

It is called WS2812B matrix and works out of the box. 24 bit RGB color.

And there is a good text scroller class available, too.

Just saying.

edit: You mentioned the word sign. A sign should be bright.
These matrix at full white draws arround 16A at 5V = 80W led light which is seriously bright.
A multiplexed 8x8 matrix is not.

Forget the batteries - unless you are in a telephone exchange.