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Glitter Machine

A machine of puffing pigments and pneumatic dreams.

Published onDec 09, 2019
Glitter Machine



Clothing, fashion, and cosmetics are very important in my world from the world bible assignment. They are about expression and can even influence social standing as well as courting and other social norms. 

It is common for all citizens to wear cosmetics for personal or cultural expression. The gender binary is not at play in this world and cosmetics are not associated with being masculine or feminine. While there are specific cosmetic artists, they often design pieces that are put on the face in multimedia and new formulas and colors for cosmetics themselves. The average citizen is quite skilled with cosmetics. 

There are a variety of traditional cosmetic looks in the culture. For marriages, celebrations, and cultural holidays. Cosmetics and the curation and presentation of the face are extremely important for all of these. 

Due to the importance of cosmetics in this world there are a variety of consumer electronics and innovations around the application and evolution of cosmetics.
This stamping machine is meant to give the user the power to instantly achieve high impact eye makeup without hand application. It uses air to do so. In this world there would also be a computational application that would allow the user to pick the color and design.


This project is the machine from The Fifth Element. In this world there are a variety of Weirding the Normal type of inventions — such as flying cars that still look like cars (the iconic yellow taxi) but also inventions for things we do in present day. One such is a makeup machine that Leeloo uses in the priest’s apartment while learning about our world.  

The machine is placed over the user’s eyes and with a press of a button makeup in the correct places ejects onto the eye. 

It’s a small moment in the movie but is an iconic thing for anyone like myself who appreciate feminine and engineering details in a movie. 

The machine itself is beautiful and sleek — it really reads like makeup packaging. There is a white Chanel logo and progress ring on the face. And while Leeloo doesn’t appear to pick a look, one would think there would be multiple parameters to tweak and chose from.  

A write up on this interface can be found here: 


First I had to consider how to do this. My background is in computer science and architecture. Most of my electronics background has been pretty theory or IOT based. I had never done any pneumatics nor do I have a mechanism background.

After office hours meetings, it became clear that this had to be a pneumatic circuit with an air source leading to a casing for the pigments. This air source would be pressurized and a valve would rapidly open to allow an air puff to get to the casing. 

I then divided the project into the components of: 

  • Pneumatic circuit

  • Electronics

  • Pigment casing

  • Pigments

  • Outer casing

  • Documentation/Design

This is all documented in my PDF and project files, which are available here.

Below are the shorten instructions and materials and pictures:

Instructions and Materials

If for some reason, at the cost of your friends and family, you decide that you must make this glitter machine, here is how you do it. I’m a bit sorry I put this into the world I’ll say it. This has parts, files, etc.  

Parts — casing and containers

  • 1/8” material to laser cut (I used wood but acrylic, cardboard, etc would be fine) (for outer casing)

  • Acrylic or similar material at 1/8” or 1/4” (for chambers)

  • 5”x5” acrylic or similar material at 1/4” — you can combine with above if you want all at 1/4” 

  • Acrylic cement 

  • Silicone 

  • Syringe for cement 

  • Gloves 

  • Rubber stoppers for casings 

Parts — pneumatics 

  • 2 Schrader valves — I used these 

  • PT Male Thread Connectors — I used these 

  • Hosing — I used this 

  • PVC pipe (1.5” or 2” is a good size) — you need about 20” total 

  • PVC caps (4)

  • Silicone

  • PVC cement AND primer 

  • Plumber’s tape

  • Bike pump or compressor with Schrader connections 

Parts — electronics


  • Velcro strips if you want your containers to be interchangeable 

  • Multiple casings 


  • Drill

  • Taps 

  • Hot Glue Gun 

  • Soldering equipment 

  • Basic hand tools (wrench, drill bits, pliers, etc) 



  1. Build your reservoir by cutting PVC to about 8” long. 

  2. Drill and tap holes for Schrader valve and male connector into each cap of the PVC. 

  3. Using plumbers tape, thread the components into each end. Reinforce with silicone over it.

  4. Use PVC cement to attach the caps to each side of the pipe

  5. Wait to cure 

  6. Test with a bike pump after it is done curing

Connecting Valves

  1. Connecting hosing and connectors to the valves and the reservoir 

  2. The other side of the hosing goes to the casing 

  3. The valves should be controlled on a relay and powered on the 12V (or whatever your valve’s specs are) power supply. The code is attached the circuit is in an appendix. 

Connecting electronics

  1. Solder the button and connect it as seen in the circuit. You may have to adjust the casing’s hole depending on your button size 

  2. Confirm that your relay and valves are wired correctly 

  3. Upload code to Arduino 

  4. Make sure that the valves are starting as closed — use the bike pump and reservoir to test this

Pigment casing 

  1. Laser cut the files. Note how they are assembled in the pictures — you want the larger hole to be of the 1/4” material so it can be threaded with a tap 

  2. Tap the 1/4” side for the hose fitting and adding the fitting with plumber’s tape on the threads and reinforce on the outside with silicone. 

  3. Cement the sides with acrylic cement but leave one side off. Remember to keep the orientation so that the stencil is closer to the top so that the pigment fills the right way. 

  4. Line the inside seams with silicone — you don’t need a lot. I used a small bead on the tip of a gloved finger 

  5. Close the last side with cement and silicone on the outside 

  6. Leave to cure overnight 

  7. After cured, fill with lose pigments. I just used a spoon.

  8. Use a stopper to stop the pigments from leaking too much 

Outer casing

  1. Laser cut the files

  2. Press fit and add a bit of hot glue and hot glue the front DO NOT glue on the top — you want the top to be removable to refill your pigments when needed 

  3. Place the containers such that they are flush against the eye holes 

  4. Thread the button through and fix with a washer or hot glue 

  5. Thread the hosing through as well 


In order to operate, simply fill your reservoir with air and hit the button. DO NOT GO ABOVE 20 PSI. You will VERY MUCH regret that. If using a bike pump you will get about 4 uses per charge.

You can change out your cartridges if you made multiple :)



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