This Pico-powered snowman lights up when you enter the room

We’d already escaped for Christmas last year when element14’s Katie shared her smart Christmas decoration tutorial but we loved it, so we lovingly sat on it for almost 365 days. We’ve played the long game with this smart snowman and hope you appreciate it.

I need something big like this for my tree; it look very sad and sparse with just tiny candy canes hanging from it. I have festively failed.

All of the lights

A Raspberry Pi Pico W switches on each LED individually. Two blue ones are the eyes of the snowman, three orange ones make up the carrot nose, and seven red create the snowman’s smile. Eleven NeoPixels make up the top hat. White LEDs are scattered over the main body to make the snowman appear to be made of glittering snow.

The circuit design includes extra pads, so you could connect arms to the snowman for an upgrade.

This decoration features a PIR sensor so it can tell when people come into the room and then spring into festive action. The Pico hides on the back of the snowman PCB, which wears the PIR sensor on its chest.

Here is a list of all the materials used to build this decoration, plus an extra video scrolling through all the code you need to make it.

More smart decorations

Katie previously made MQTT-controlled LED Christmas baubles with Raspberry Pi Pico, so if smart snowmen aren’t your bag, maybe you’d like to build something a little more traditional. Check out the tutorial for that project below.

These are excellent as you can make a whole string of them to wrap around your Christmas tree or string from shelving. I would love a few of them draped across my mantelpiece but we’ve got a real fire going in there and it would kill the festive mood so fast to watch custom-made PCBs melting in front of our eyes.

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AndyD avatar

Do you want to build a snowman or ride our bikes around the hall …

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Ashley Whittaker avatar

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