I love Halloween and I love RGB LED lights. I have been creating jack-o’-lanterns since I was a kid. My dad taught me current limiting resistors as I burnt out a few LED lights by connecting them directly to the batteries. I am passing the torch to my son, so to speak. We spent the weekend carving pumpkins that we got from the farmer’s market and stuffing LEDs inside. Follow this guide to create an interactive pumpkin without writing any code.
- Parchment paper
- Plastic storage bag
- Wi-Fi LED Strip (USB powered)
- USB battery pack
Clean and dry the outside of your pumpkin. Cut an opening around the stem of the pumpkin. Scoop out the insides and consider making toasted pumpkin seeds. Use the marker to make a design. I let my four-year-old draw the design. I told him that whatever he drew is what I would cut out.
Fold up some parchment paper so it will fit on the inside of the pumpkin and cover up what you carved out. I find this helps diffuse the bright LEDs and create a better effect. Use the toothpicks to hold the parchment in place.
I am a huge fan of Wi-Fi LED Strip Lights. They are so cheap on Amazon and easy to control over Wi-Fi with the Tuya Smart Life app and devices like the Echo. I use them for my On Air Light Controller For Live Streaming and Online Meetings. These LED strips are USB powered and can be powered by a USB battery for a few hours.
Cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin. This will be where the USB cord will run through. Place the LED strip in the plastic bag, place it inside the pumpkin, and put the cord and the opening of the bag through the hole. This will help keep moisture off of the LED strip.
Configure Wi-Fi LED Strip
The next hurdle is getting your new Wi-Fi LED Strip connected to your Wi-Fi network at your house. You need to know the network name and password. To configure the LED lights, you have to start with the Tuya Smart Life mobile app on your phone. Download the appropriate app for Android or Apple. A side bonus is that the Tuya Smart Life app supports lots of home automation things you might do around the house. When you are searching around Amazon, make sure in the Q&A or rating area to see if the product supports Tuya. If so, you can have everything controlled by one app. Sign up for a new account and then add your LED Strip to your account. Click Add Manually and then Strip Lights (Wi-Fi) Admittedly, this might not go very smoothly. I have found that I need to try the process a few times to get the app to detect my lights. If you run into any trouble, make sure that your lights are in pairing mode and that your Wi-Fi access point supports 2.4GHz.
Name your Strip Lights (Wi-Fi), “Pumpkin”. Whatever you name your lights will be the keyword used by voice-assist systems like Echo or Home.
With the Tuya Smart Life app, you can interact with the LED lights. Use the “color” tab to set the color and use the “music” tab to have the lights be controlled by sound. My son had a lot of fun yelling into the phone and making sounds to make the lights jump around. Have fun!