Picture of 3 Ways to Use El Wire
Fact: El wire makes everything aweseomer.  Here are three different techniques you can use to apply el wire to your stuff and increase your own awesomeness.  All three produce beautiful results, but each does require some amount of patience and time. 

While this certainly doesn't represent every method possible, it's a good way to introduce you to some options.  And never forget the power of super glue - you just have to make sure you get it right the first time!
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

To do these samples, I chose a pattern to use, appropriate colors of el wire in the thinnest gauge, fabric, invisible thread, embroidery thread, and grommets.

El wire from

Step 2: Trace your pattern

Picture of Trace your pattern

Trace your pattern onto your fabric.  If using a dark fabric like this one, I suggest the following method:

Rub a light colored chalk over the back of the pattern. 
Position the pattern over your fabric, chalk side down.
Trace over the pattern with a blunt tipped object.
Voila!  Pattern traced and easily erased once you're done with it.

Step 3: Basic Application

Picture of Basic Application

This is probably the simplest technique for adding el wire to a fabric that doesn't fray. 

Determine the points at which you want the el wire to run over the front of the fabric, and where it will dip back underneath.  This gives you crisp edges and produces a better finish than if you were to overlap the wire and tape off the parts that you don't want glowing.

If you are using a fabric that frays, make sure to dot these places with fray check or white glue.

Make small slits in the fabric at these point.  Feed the wire through the fabric, and secure with invisible thread by hand.  The last image shows you what the back side of this piece looks like.  Not a bad idea to secure the loops on the back with your invisible thread or glue.

cjthadj4202 years ago
Fry's Electronics now carries el wire, battery packs, and connectors in all of its store locations!!!
antling4 years ago
Kaiven5 years ago
I was doing homework when the perfect idea for senior year Halloween costume hit me. Then I saw this :D Oooohhh man, adding elwire to a techno robot costume with surround sound torso would make the idea even better. I better start drawing something before I loose the idea!
scoochmaroo (author)  Kaiven5 years ago
Me neither xD I had to ditch the idea of building a net-book into the torso, but it's still going to have a stereo system built in.
red-king5 years ago
when you say "thinnest gauge", is EL wire measured the same as regular wire (higher gauge=thinner)?
Obediah5 years ago
I had some success with a buttonneer. but might be better if i just learn how to work a thread and needle.
dchall85 years ago
I'm not the most creative person online, so I need more motivation before I feel there is anything awesome about this. First of all I had to look it up. Now I know that EL stands for electroluminescent. That means it glows when you plug it in. I still don't have a good idea where or why I would use it but apparently people put it on pieces of black fabric. Can you give some examples of the use of EL wire so I can share in the feeling of awesome that you feel?
At Disney World in Orlando, there's the coolest application of EL wire that I've seen. On the Winnie the Pooh ride, there's a part where it rains. They use el wire to simulate raindrops splashing on the surface of water. On both sides of the track where the ride moves through the room, there's a horizontal surface painted flat black, with white el wire arranged in concentric rings all over it. The largest ring on this pattern is maybe 6 inches across. The individual rings are on separate circuits, controlled by a sequencer. As the drop hits the surface, the innermost ring lights up, then the next ring, then the next. As each outer ring lights, the one on the inside goes dark- so you have the effect of an expanding circle. There are maybe a hundred of these patterns all over the surface, all expanding at different times. It's very very awesome. Those Disney guys have great ideas!
scoochmaroo (author)  dchall85 years ago
I would love to!

Here's a little costume I made:

And here is an awesome jacket from enlighted:

This is a groovy fire skirt by la (though maybe not your style)!/

And here's some awesome wall art by GlowWireGuy:

I hope this helps spark your imagination!