Our normally scheduled Maker Meetup will be on hold for the holidays on November 23rd.
We’ll be back to our weekly Wednesday shenanigans starting December 2nd.
See you then!
So, you know a little about electronics and want to make a light up cuff bracelet. Welcome! This tutorial will tell you how to use conductive thread to sew a simple circuit with an on/off switch.
*If you use this battery holder, you’ll also need a battery retainer, solder, and a soldering iron
Step 1 Measure your material by wrapping string or material around your wrist to determine desired length.
Things to remember:
Step 2 Design your circuit
Step 3 Cut cuff material to desired length and width.
Step 4 Cut out any additional embellishments
Step 5 If using findings or embellishments that are conductive, lay out your design to make certain they won’t accidentally come into contact with your circuit and cause a short
Step 6 Before you can attach the LED to the fabric, you’ll need to spiral the leads. To easily tell the difference between the positive and negative leads, you can spiral them into different shapes.
Step 7 Using approximately 1-2 ft of conductive thread, secure the positive terminal to the fabric. Do not cut the thread! For an example of how to sew components to fabric, click here.
Step 8 Using the same piece of conductive thread from step 7, sew a running stitch to the positive terminal of your battery holder. Tie a knot after the battery holder is secured to the fabric, apply a drop of fray check to the know to prevent it from coming undone, wait a few seconds for it to dry then snip off any excess thread.
Step 9 Using a new length of conductive thread, sew from the battery holder’s negative terminal to the end of the fabric, where you will secure one part of the snap. After securing the snap to the fabric, tie a knot, fray check to the knot to prevent it from coming undone, wait a few seconds for it to dry remove any excess thread.
Step 10 To mark where the second part of the snap should be attached, use the fabric marker to color the secured snap. wrap the cuff around your wrist and press the snap firmly against the fabric.
Step 11 Using conductive thread, sew a running stitch from the negative lead of the LED to the mark for the snap.
Step 12 Using the same conductive thread from step 11, secure the remaining half of the snap covering the mark you made in step 10.
Step 13 Insert your battery, and snap the cuff closed to test the circuit. Did it light? If so, awesome! If not, double check that your battery is inserted properly, and perform a visual inspection to be sure that your positive and negative stitches aren’t touching.
Step 14 If you’re using fabric paint or hot glue to insulate the conductive thread, you may find it helpful to apply that prior to attaching any additional findings or embellishments.
Step 15 Using non-conductive thread, attach any findings, embellishments, or fabric to finish off your cuff’s design.
Step 16 Snap on and enjoy your new accessory!
This hexapod features an 8 ohm speaker hat and 10 conductive patches (one on the side of his head and 9 on his tentacles) that allow you to access the squeaky theremin-like powers of the Drawdio pcb hidden inside.
Bill Of Materials*:
1. Solder the 551 chip in place, while using a bit of thermal tape to hold it in place on the PCB if necessary. Be certain to note the little notch to make sure that you’re inserting it properly.
2. Solder in the the PNP to the Q1 spot, leaving enough room to bend it flat against the pcb.
3. Solder the 680pF ceramic capacitor in C1.
4. Solder the 100uF / 6.3V capacitor (or higher) in the C2 spot being careful not to put it in backwards.
5. Solder the 0.1uF ceramic capacitor in C3.
6. Use your snips to trim the leads, cutting them close to the solder joint. [For tips on trimming best practices, check out this forum.]
7. Solder the resistors in place. Since they aren’t diodes, there’s no need to worry about accidentally putting them in backwards. R1: Brown, Black, Blue, Gold OR Red, Black, Blue, Gold.
8. R2: Brown, Black, Black, Gold
9. RA: Brown, Black, Orange, Gold
10. RB: Orange, Black, Yellow, Gold
11. Trim off excess leads.
12. Line the PCB up with the section of your pattern where you want to put it, and measure for the 4 lengths of wire (2 red and 2 black) that you’ll need to connect to the pcb to the speaker and also from the battery to the pcb. You’ll be winding the end, so be sure to add about an inch.
13. Strip about 0.5 inches from both ends of each piece of wire from Step 12.
14. Solder the wires in to the holes for the speaker and battery holder.
15. So that you can sew the wire securely to the felt, spiral the ends as shown in the pictures above.
16. If you have longer sections of wire, twist them together. This will cut down on some of the wire fatigue. For added protection, especially if you plan on giving this to someone who won’t be so gentle with it, use some hot glue to your solder joints.
17. The wires that come already attached to the back of the speaker are pretty flimsy. Use your soldering iron to carefully heat the pads and remove them.
18. Make two small hoops from bare wire
19. Carefully solder the hoops to the back of the speaker where the wires were previously.
20. Put a dab of hot glue over the solder joint on the back of the speakers. Should the hoops get pulled off, there’s a good chance the pads will come off too. The hot glue will help prevent this.
21. Using conductive thread, sew the battery holder to the fabric, connecting to the exposed ends of the corresponding wires. Remember to use a different piece of conductive thread to connect each terminal. Be careful not to sew them too closely together, which can cause your circuit to short after your new friend is all assembled.
22. and 23. Using the conductive thread, repeat the process for the speaker. Be sure to leave room for a conductive patch that you’ll connect to the top pad of the pcb.
24. Use a piece of conductive thread to create a patch from the opposite end of the pcb to the outside of the material.
25. Insert the battery and put a finger on each of the conductive patches. If your circuit is connected properly, you should hear a squeak. If you don’t, you may have inadvertently inserted the battery backwards or you may have a short.
26. If your circuit works, use your non-conductive thread to finish assembling your new friend, filling it with the poly-fiber as you go.
27. If you want to add more patches of conductive thread to create points of varying resistance, do so now.
All you’ll need to get started is:
Why not use Dia’s guide as an inspiration for your Halloween costume this year?
Whatever design you choose, I hope you have lots of fun learning to make the world a more fun, lighty uppy place!