This mirrored wall art can see into deep space

The Cellar Nerd built a personal view into deep space for their home. This mirrored honeycomb design shares images taken by the James Webb telescope, as well as looking pretty enough to display on a wall.

Cosmic design inspiration

The hexagonal tiles used in this build take after the design of the James Webb telescope (pictured below). The real thing hit the news a couple of months ago when it captured a shot of the most distant star ever seen. Nearly 28 billion lightyears away. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.

Kit list

  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • 18 metallic-effect mirrored wall tiles
  • LCD screen
  • Plywood frame to mount the mirrors on the front and tech on the back
Cellar Nerd deep space mirror
The Cellar Nerd (in the cellar) with their James Webb-based creation

Repurposing old tech

You don’t need a very powerful Raspberry Pi, as all it does in this build is display an image on the screen. But we have a mindful maker here who already had a Raspberry Pi 2 lying around, and decided to repurpose it for this project.

The LCD screen is also overkill size-wise but, again, the maker decided to rescue it from an old laptop rather than buy a brand new display. They also warn that, when salvaging old laptop screens to embed in other settings, you’ll need a screen controller. They learnt all about them from this video by DIY Perks.

cellar nerd deep space mirror

Getting the images onto the mirror

For now, the images are hand-selected, then manually downloaded into a folder on the Raspberry Pi to be displayed on the deep space-view mirror. Both the ESA and NASA publish a lot of images on social media which aren’t taken by the James Webb telescope, so it isn’t an easy case of writing a script to automatically pull Instagram photos and have them magically appear on the mirror’s screen. The maker is keeping their eyes out for a James Webb-only captured image source so he can automate this process.

cellar nerd deep space mirror
It still works as an actual wall mirror. See, Cellar Nerd is looking right at Cellar Nerd’s reflection

A thing of beauty

A little more time and patience could have seen this build mounted on a purpose-designed 3D printed frame, but the plywood option meant there was less waiting around to get the deep space-view mirror built and mounted on the wall. Finished with a matte black paint, the overall aesthetic looks pretty neat and well-made to us!

The maker’s wife agrees and, when she saw it languishing in the Nerd Cellar, insisted it be brought upstairs and displayed in the hallway.

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