An LED cube is an mesmerizing light display that will certainly impress your friends. By lighting up a 3D matrix of LEDs, you can create cool patterns and animations. While commercial LED cubes can cost over $100, you can actually build one yourself for under $30!

In this guide, I will walk you through the full process of constructing your own DIY LED cube. I’ll cover everything from choosing the right components, to soldering it together, to programming animations using Arduino. Follow along with this tutorial and you’ll have an awesome homemade LED cube before you know it!

What You Will Need

Building an LED cube is a fun electronics project that requires just a few affordable components. Here's what you'll need to buy:

All these components can be purchased for around $30 total from electronics suppliers like Adafruit, SparkFun, etc. Having them on hand will make this project go smoothly.

How to Build the LED Cube

Step 1 - Construct the Cube Frame

The first step is to build the cube frame that will hold the LED matrix. This gives the LED grid physical structure.

For my cube, I used 1/8" balsa wood sheets to build a 4x4x4 inch cube frame. Cut 8 pieces of wood 4 inches long for the corners, and 24 pieces 1.5 inches long for the edges. Assemble into a cube using wood glue.

Tip: Number the inside edges of the wood pieces before gluing so you know exactly how to assemble the cube.

Alternatively, you could use thin acrylic sheets or 3D printed joints to build the frame. Just make sure it is 4 inches on each side.

Step 2 - Add the Headers

Next we need to install male header pins along the inside edges of the cube frame.

Cut the header strips into 8 strips of 4 pins each and 16 strips of 3 pins each. Solder them onto the inside wood cube edges, with each strip spaced about 1/4 inch apart.

The 4-pin strips run vertically and the 3-pin strips run horizontally. The pins should stick out and run parallel to the frame edge.

These male header pins will allow us to easily insert and connect the LED legs later on.

Step 3 - Connect the LEDs

Now it's time to wire up the LED grid inside the cube.

Start by inserting LEDs onto each header pin intersection, bending their legs outwards to keep them in place. As you insert, orient the LEDs so that the positive and negative legs alternate.

Once all the LEDs are inserted, solder the connections between corresponding rows/columns. For example, solder all the anode (positive) legs in a column together.

Tip: Use angled snips to easily trim the LED leads after soldering.

Repeat this for every row (cathode/negative) and column (anode/positive). In the end, you should have 8 cathode row connections and 16 anode column connections.

Step 4 - Install Resistors

LEDs need current limiting resistors to avoid damage. Install a 270 ohm resistor between each row's LED leg connection and ground.

Bend the resistor legs and solder into place. Finally, connect all row wires to a GND rail. This completes the LED matrix wiring!

Step 5 - Breadboard the Arduino Circuit

On a solderless breadboard, build up the Arduino control circuit:

This bridges the Arduino pins to the LED matrix inside the cube. Later we can program Arduino to light up LEDs!

Step 6 - Program Animations

The final step is to program the Arduino with animations so we can see the cube come alive!

Using the Arduino IDE, you can upload sketches to control the cube. There are lots of fun patterns and animations you can code up and display on the cube.

Here are some cool effects to try:

By programming various LED lighting sequences, you can make the DIY LED cube do all sorts of spectacular animations and really put on a great show!


Building your own LED cube is a super satisfying electronics project. For less than $30 in parts, you can construct an awesome glowing 3D light display.

Follow this guide to choose the right components, assemble the cube frame, wire up the LED matrix, and program animations using Arduino. In no time you'll have an incredible DIY LED cube that is sure to mesmerize your friends!

The hands-on process of making it yourself also lets you learn useful skills in woodworking, soldering, and programming along the way. So go ahead and build your own LED cube - it makes for a great weekend project and an awesome piece to show off.