Howdy there! El wire is way cool, but the problem is I have never had any of it, or even seen it in real life. I live in the jungle, and am an extreme cheap skate when it comes to buying things. To order something and have it sent here would be expensive and take "forever" for a young inventor excited about a project. Thus, I resorted to my brains to come up with something similar. I knew from pictures and reading that EL wire is an amazing flexible tubing that mysteriously glows. Well, I was sure I could come up with something similar - and cheaper.
EL wire is amazing, but as is the case with a lot of amazing stuff, it can be a "pretty penny". That is the case with EL wire. Its a little too expensive for a jungle boy like me. Eight feet of quality El wire for 20 dollars! I could make something cheaper than that! And I did.
How about instead of 20 dollars for a eight foot piece, I could make it for less for five dollars. How about less than 2 dollars. How about $1.68 for a eight foot section. Here is how I did it.
Now, first of all, my simple El wire solution is not exactly like El wire. It has some benefits and some disadvantages.
Cheap (really cheap)
Easy to make
Doesn't have to have a complicated and inconvenient power converter to run it.
It has good battery life
Isn't quite as flexible and easy to shape as real El wire.
Doesn't quite have that soft glowing look that El wire has.
In my circumstances, I decided to take the disadvantages and save a chunk of money and do it my self. Let's get busy!
I am not responsible in any way for injury or hurt you may obtain from making or using this product.
Note: electophobia beat me to it back in 2008! I had no idea somebody had posted an instructables on this until I was ready to make mine. He was the first to post it on instructables - http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Glowsticks/ - Mine is similar.
Step 1: Round up a few supplies
(1) LEDs - this is the important part and the most costly part. I got mine from http://ledshoppe.com/led5mm.htm They were the best deal to me, but you could find them for really cheap on Ebay. I bought 100 at a time for a single led price of around 7 cents. (Just to get a picture of how hard it is to get parts where I live, it took me about six months to get them. Country sent them back as suspicious articles and everything. :)
(2) Resisters for your leds
(3) Straws - clear plastic ones. Mine were about eight inches long.
(4) Wire - thin
Tools: Glue gun (optional), soldering iron,