Picture of Soft Circuit Keyboard (Music)
How to make a pliable fabric “keyboard” (and accompanying glove) that plays tones and lights up when the “keys” are touched

- Felt (8” x 6”, at least)
- LEDs (x5)
- 330 Ohm resistors (x5)
- 10K Ohm resistors (x5)
- Small piezo speaker
- Conductive thread and sewing needle
- Glove
- Sharpie or ball point pen
- Electrical wire, wire strippers, and needle nose pliers
- Arduino Uno

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Step 1: Draw the circuit

Picture of Draw the circuit
1. Copy the circuit pattern (below) onto the back of the felt using the sharpie/pen. Feel free to adjust dimensions or rearrange “wires” as desired to create different designs. (note: the mirror pattern will be on the front of the keyboard, so remember to reverse items if you wish to copy the pattern directly)

Step 2: Attach the components

Picture of Attach the components

2. Attach the resistors, LEDs, and speaker to the felt. First push the leads through the felt and trim the excess wire to about 1/2”. Curl the wires into loops and bend flat against the surface of the felt.

Step 3: Sew the circuit

3. Using the conductive thread, sew the components together as shown in the circuit diagram (replacing the wires with thread). At the end of each “wire”, sew in place a few times to create a series of loops placed close together. Be careful not to let threads or knots touch. Sew the “keys” first, then connect all the grounds and +5V with one thread each. The “switches” are created by sewing two independent “T” shapes (the glove will connect the two ends into a complete wire).

Step 4: Create the glove

Picture of Create the glove

4. Sew a line of conductive thread down the tip of each finger.

Step 5: Attach the Arduino

Picture of Attach the Arduino

5. Attach the circuit to the Arduino. Cut a length of wire (approximately 5” long) and strip both ends. Curl one end into a hook and push under the loops of conductive thread at the ends of each “wire”. Next, close the hook into a loop and label the wire with its pin number. Repeat this for all pins, ground, and +5V, then plug the wires into their respective pins.
lwortzel3 years ago
i am able to get static out of the speaker and i am able to get 3 of the five lights to go on when i touch their individual "keys" but i cannot get a tone out of the speaker...can you help me?
amonmillner4 years ago
fjlsaiole: thanks for posting your work and providing a start for more applications of the soft circuit keyboard. I'd love for my Arduino to teach me a song.