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Making a pseudo-luminescent stripe on clothing

I hope this is the right place to ask for advice, I'm new to the site and don't have the hang of everything yet.

I'm in the planning stage of a Tron Legacy inspired hooded sweatshirt I intend to make. One of the outfits that really caught my eye in the movie were the coats with the luminescent stripes running up the inside and around the inside of the hood. I can't find any pictures of them on the web, but picture something like the glowing stripes on Daft Punk's outfits in this picture:
http://moviesmedia.ign.com/movies/image/article/113/1131044/tron-legacy-20101028103012902.jpg

I'd like to sort of recreate that on a less intense scale (unless somebody wants to share a way to add cgi special effects to real life! :P ) using a method to make the material look luminescent without actually glowing itself. The idea I have now that I was tossing around with a friend would be to run reflective tape around the inside edge of the hoodie, then stitch the tape on, and then run EL wire around the outer edge of the tape, so it would be hidden under the seam of the hoodie. I think that would work by reflecting the light from the EL wire into the tape and giving the illusion of it glowing. After some discussion my friend told me about this site and said I could ask here and maybe somebody would know another way of doing it that might look better.

Anyway, thanks for reading all that, if my project turns out good I'll try to put together an Instructable guide on how to "Tron-ify" your own clothes! :)

Rinzler (author) 6 years ago
They actually lit the costumes in Tron? That's pretty cool. I assumed they had used cgi due to the poor battery life they would have had.

I hadn't considered that about the tape and I'm glad I didn't rush into putting it together now. I'll have to experiment with these ideas. I'm not sure if the el wire and nylon combination would work without passing back over several times with more wires, but depending on how it lets light through I might be able to use it with a strip of LEDs.

As far as I know UV EL wire doesn't exist, but I have seen UV LED light strips for sale before so I'll look into that too.

Thanks for the feedback, I'll have to test these out when I get a chance to set down and work for a while! :)
caitlinsdad6 years ago
Unless you already have the EL wire and setup, maybe do something like these but use a string of LED christmas lights. It could flash or be controlled with arduino or those color organ sound-reactive circuits. I don't think EL wire is bright enough for the effect unless you gang up many wires in width and your power requirements probably go up. Good luck.
https://www.instructables.com/id/Mickey-Mouse-Gloves-Glowing-Ninzerbean-Fists-of-/ or
https://www.instructables.com/id/Lithium-Rain-Radiant-Beacon-of-Righteousness-Blin/
NachoMahma6 years ago
.  As Kiteman points out, reflective safety tape is retroreflective and probably not what you want.
.  If you don't like Kiteman's suggestions, maybe using UV EL wire (does it exist?) or another UV/blacklight source and UV-reactive materials would work.
Kiteman6 years ago
The Tron suits' glowing lines are *not* CGI - they are electroluminescent panels sewn into the costumes.

I read that battery life was an issue, with "switch on" being the last instruction, immediately before "action".

However, I don't think your idea will work - reflective tape is designed to reflect light back towards its source (like car headlights, or torches).

If you want the glow to be "wider" than a strip of EL wire, why now put it under something translucent?

I'm just thinking aloud here, but maybe an inch-wide strip of cheap white nylon fabric sewn over the wire? Depending how much detail shows through, maybe a couple of layers?