TClock – Tissue Box Clock

In this Instructable I will show you how you can convert an empty tissue box into a cool Arduino based clock that can show the time, date, current temperature & humidity in the room.

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Enclosure Supplies:

  1. Empty Tissue Box
  2. Utility Knife / Scissor
  3. Hot Glue Gun / Adhesive


  1. 32×8 LED Matrix – for the clock display
  2. DS3231 RTC – for time related functionality
  3. DHT11 Temperature and Humidity Sensor – To measure internal temperature and humidity
  4. 10K Ohm Resistor – used as pull up resistor for DHT11
  5. Arduino UNO ( I used the UNO but you should be able to use any Arduino/Arduino clone) – Brain of the project
  6. Breadboard
  7. Jumper Wires
  8. Laptop and Arduino IDE to program the code to Arduino
  9. Power Bank / 9V battery for power

Step 1: Lets Build the Enclosure

To make the enclosure, just measure the width and height of your LED Matrix and cut a hole in the front of the tissue box for the matrix to come out as shown in the picture

Step 2: Lets Connect the Electronics

See the image for the schematics to connect each module to the Arduino. I used a breadboard to organize everything easier

If you don’t understand the diagram, then this is a stepwise guide to connect each module:

Connecting the LED Matrix:

For this project I am using a HT1632 based 32×8 LED MATRIX and this is how I connected it to the Arduino UNO

  • Arduino 5V –> VCC pin of LED Matrix
  • Arduino GND –> GND pin of LED Matrix
  • Arduino Digital Pin 9 –> CS pin of LED Matrix
  • Arduino Digital Pin 10 –> WR pin of LED Matrix
  • Arduino Digital Pin 11 –> DATA pin of LED Matrix

Connecting the RTC Module:

For this project I am using a DS3231 RTC Module. This module uses the I2C bus to communicate and this is how i connected it to the Arduino. If you are unsure which pins are the I2C just google them

  • Arduino 5V –> VCC pin of RTC Module
  • Arduino GND –> GND pin of RTC Module
  • Arduino SDA (next to AREF) –> SDA pin of RTC Module
  • Arduino SCL (next to SDA) –> SCL pin of RTC Module

Connecting the Temperature & Humidity Sensor:

  • Arduino 5V –> VCC pin of DHT11
  • Arduino GND –> GND pin of DHT11
  • Arduino Digital Pin 2 –> DATA_OUT pin of DHT11
  • Arduino 5V –> 10K Ohm Resistor –> DATA_OUT pin of DHT11 ( connect one end of the 10k resistor to data out of the DHT11 and one end of the resistor to Arduino 5V )

Step 3: Lets Program

  1. Install Libraries for the modules:
    • For LED Matrix Image Drawing I am using this library by Gaurav Manek. You can download as a ZIP and add it to the Arduino Libraries using the Arduino IDE
    • For the DS3231 RTC module I am using the ds3231FS by Petre Rodan Library. This can be installed via the “Manage Libraries” option in Arduino IDE
    • For the DHT11 Temp and Humidity Sensor I am using the DHT sensor Library by Adafruit. This also can be installed via the “Manage Libraries” option in the Arduino IDE
  2. Download the code and upload to the Arduino

Step 4: Connect Everything Together

I used some hot glue to hold the LED Matrix in the cut out securely. Then I opened the side of the tissue box carefully and placed the breadboard and Arduino Inside. To power the whole circuit you can use multiple options:

  1. 9V Battery Connected via a barrel jack
  2. Power bank connected to the Arduino’s USB port
  3. Arduino connected to a laptop ( My option)

Since this project will be on my desk all the time I will use the 3rd option, but feel free to use the other 2 options if you want a more portable version.

Step 5: Final Product & Future Improvements

Its finally complete ! I am very happy how it turned out. I still plan to improve somethings in the future such as:

  • Add a RGB LED Matrix
  • Add a ESP32 to display information from the internet
  • Add more sensors

If you have more ideas how I can improve this or have any question about the build , feel free to contact me or leave a comment down below and I will try to reply to them

Source: TClock – Tissue Box Clock

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