Everyone loves an Etch-A-Sketch, but a materials scientist/electrical engineer has gone one further and created a LED version of the popular toy. He has provided full instructions, which can teach anyone to make the hi-tech gizmo for themselves, but be warned – it’s quite technical.

etch-a-sketch, green toy, mechanical toy, LED, LED etch-a-sketch, instructables

As you all know, the Etch-A-Sketch was invented by Frenchman André Cassagnes and is a mechanical toy that allows the user to ‘draw’ images by twisting two knobs (one for vertical drawing, one for horizontal) and displacing aluminum powder on the back of the screen.

Instructables contributor cmonaco3 has redesigned the toy for the 21st century by using LEDs instead of aluminum dust and has posted the instructions online for anyone to try themselves. You will however need a lot of materials.

In order to make your LED Etch-a-Sketch you’ll need:


  • ATmega328p
  • 16MHz Clock Crystal
  • 22pF Capacitor (2x)
  • 0.1uF Capacitor
  • 10k Ohm Resistor

Matrix Drivers:

  • 8×8 Common Cathode LED Matrix (4x) (Sparkfun #COM-00682)
  • 74HC595 8-bit Shift Register (4x)
  • ULN2803 Darlington Driver (4x)
  • 100 Ohm Resistor (32x)


  • Tilt Switch (2x) (Sparkfun #SEN-10289)
  • 10k Ohm Potentiometer (2x)


  • MintyBoost Kit (Sparkfun #KIT-10094)

If you want to make the device using PCBs from Eagle files found in this Instructable, you will need the following additional components:

  • Male Right-Angle Breakaway Headers (1x) (Digikey #A34346-40-ND)
  • Female Right Angle Receptacle (4x) (Digikey #A35044-ND)
  • 14-Pin Ribbon Cable 6″ (Digikey #A4AAH-1406M-ND)
  • Female Straight Receptacle (8x) (Digikey #A26422-ND)
  • 2×3-Pin Male Header
  • 14-Pin Ribbon Cable 4″ (Dgikey #360-2433-ND)

If the sheer number of parts doesn’t deter you, then download the full instructions here, and let us know how you get on!

Alternatively click below to watch the video of the LED Etch-A-Sketch in action.

+ Instructables

Via The Creators Project