Conductive Glue And Conductive Thread: Make an LED Display and Fabric Circuit That Rolls Up.

Picture of Conductive Glue And Conductive Thread: Make an LED Display and Fabric Circuit That Rolls Up.

Make your own conductive fabrics, thread, glue, and tape, and use them to make potentiometers, resistors, switches, LED displays and circuits.

Using conductive glue and conductive thread you can make LED displays and circuits on any flexible fabric. They can be made flexible enough to roll up (see pic2). using the techniques presented here, you can replace solder in many instances and create circuits on almost any hard or flexible surface.

This instructable is the result of some of my experiments with making conductive materials and components. While some of the techniques shown in the following steps were not used in this particular project, they may be something you will find useful for future projects that involve conductive materials.

This instructable will show you how to:

1. Make several kinds of conductive glue, paint and ink.

2. Connect LED displays and micro controllers on fabric using conductive glue and conductive thread.

3. Make magnetic glue, a flexible potentiometer, and a magnetic plug and socket

4. Make your own conductive thread and where to find conductive thread at Wal-Mart.

5. Make conductive fabric, conductive foam, and foam switches, membrane switches and pressure sensors.

6. Make a conductive glue that will glue battery packs and eliminate the battery holder.

7. Program the 18x Picaxe micro controller to display words and numbers.

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nodcah made it!15 hours ago

The idea for a clear conductive glue was super helpful for my project. Thanks!

ToolNut1 year ago

DUDE! You just saved me $175... An hour ago, I thought I was going to have to buy a new dishwasher or spend the $$ on a replacement input panel. The electronic ribbon that connects the push button controls to the motherboard was corroded in several places. Fond this article, scrounged around to find contact cement and lubricating graphite in the shop, and 30 minutes later the dishwasher is running like new. FWIW: I scraped of the plastic and corrosion until I had good conductor exposed (its super thin, so I think I scraped away some good stuff too), laid down the wire glue mixture with a tooth pick. A few of them merged together while I was applying, but they were easy to separate using a new toothpick after the glue had set up about half way. Anyway, thanks for writing this up and sharing. Saved a long evening of manual dish-washing (the horror...).

Zobot1 year ago

Is how safe is it to make and use? Would it be suitable for this project? http://www.popsci.com/article/diy/light-your-love-life-diy-electric-valentine

is the glue and paint water resistant
mikey77 (author)  saket bhardwaj1 year ago
Yes it is.

In a fairly thick coating, it should be fairly waterproof.
emartin182 years ago
The old version of this site was better. Flipping through pages is so annoying now.

Worst layout ever.
cgosh2 years ago
For those trying to fix PC boards, go with Circuit Writer -- a pen-shaped dispenser with a silver-bearing glue and a push-and-squeeze-to-dispense tip. Usually available at Radio Shack or Mouser.com (under $20). Once opened, it remains usable for over a year. Not intended to be flexible. For very thin traces, I lay strips of scotch tape on either side of the intended conductor then remove them when dry. I've also used it to adhere Surface Mount Devices directly to the pins on a DIP IC, and "draw" voltage and ground bus traces on the body of the IC. Tiny pieces of Kynar wire (40 gauge, easy to strip with Kynar tool, both available at Radio Shack) make good hookup wire for SMD projects.

Terrific instructable. Gave me just what I was looking for.
Molinos3 years ago
Will glue #4 stick to automotive glass? I have a rear defrost that had a contact pulled off the glass. Hoping to use this to re-attach.
mikey77 (author)  Molinos3 years ago
This conductive glue only works well with low currents.

While it may stick to the glass OK, I doubt that it would be able to handle the high current of a defroster.

You could try conductive epoxy that is silver filled. It has a very low resistance.
tandava3 years ago
Have you experimented with using an epoxy glue for added strength?
hardlec3 years ago
Can the be used as the tip of a capacitance stylus?

What other solvents work? Toloul/toluene is not availible to me.
great idea & tutorial - wonder if i can ...
- use e.g. Mix #1, 2 or 4 to fix components on breadboards (probably even replace soldering)
- replace the cement or liquid tape with Acrylic binders/Polymer resin emulsions such as those used by painters to create their colours - since these are very stable materials
rmohamed13 years ago
hi..cool idea..neway, whats the conductive mix made from? and what type of glue did u use?

I ask because that question is clearly answered, and on THIS page lol.
Did you read the entire article? :P
weeberp4 years ago
this is a I-sobot robot tunnig right?
is it in instructable?
simonett4 years ago
Just came across this, LOVE IT. And the earlier one too. great stuff.
very nice and informative. But, tell me, what can be used instead of liquid tape?
Haha. The first picture looks like a robot newspaper!
Richard1237 years ago
Ah, Mikey, Mikey--the answer to my online wishes. I replaced two chips in a word processor and the work was successful but I did some damage to a flexible printed circuit. A word processor which works "great" but no space bar action is sub-par I think. A circuitwriter would be $30 and not available at all locally. Besides, the printed circuit includes black resistive lands (for some reason) and so to make a long story short your technology fits the bill. Not only that, but after reading about the liquid tape experiment, I found I could not obtain that locally, but then discovered the later essays. I had graphite and I had the Dap. So I am in business! So far I have been experimenting with acrap print circuit. I found that a looser more flowing mix is not good enough. It must be thicker than what one would desire for ease od application. Unless, the looser batch will improve with age? It is still quite pliable. But the stiffer mix makes a strong enough joint even if it is not smooth. I have not yet attempted a final repair. I will have to approimate the original resistances--even though I don't know why any resistance should be introduced to begin with. But I think I stand a chance. And the investment so far stands at $2.46 for extra graphite just so I have plenty. I cannot praise you ingenuity enough and I think your freedom from inhibiting structures bodes well for your creativity.
When you say "word processor" do you mean something like an alphasmart?
he is talking about a very type old computer (I think) a computer made only for word processing. Look up Wang Laboratories, they were based in Massachusetts (My hood!) and their computers could only word process. Their HQ building was in the shape of a W :3
Or keyboard?
or typewriter? or teletype + modem? or replace modem with Altair? also, alphasmarts are awesome. but my netbook is actually the same price as one, and I'm typing this comment on it.
Kasm279 hintss5 years ago
$2? :D
hintss Kasm2795 years ago
Kasm279 hintss5 years ago
Yup, two AS3K's for 2$ each at a garage sale. Love the things because I can send the stuff i type on there to my Palm m515. Only thing I hate is the keyboard...
prodo1235 years ago
this is fking amazing!!!!
kcchen_005 years ago
Will the conductive glue cause scratches in plastics or glass with prolonged contact? Or is the carbon graphite powder fine enough to protect against unwanted wear?
kamaljassal5 years ago
We still awaits your reply.

Do your paint stripper would also strips the silver ink which we do use before electrofoaming.

please revert asap.

one querry that makes us able Do your paint stripper would also strips the silver ink which we do use before electrofoaming
What silver ink? Also, what is electrofoaming? 
chrispix5 years ago
I'd like to lay down conductive strips on a door, but the lengths are long, and the glue alone would create too much resistance. If I used the conductive glue to attach conductive thread to the door, would that effectively reduce the resistance over a longer distance (say a few feet) to the resistance of the thread?
ddarko5 years ago
Great instructable! I'm curious as to how much heat this could produce and how quickly. I'd like to use this on a fabric which I want heated to approx 30 degrees but it needs to heat up and cool down to ambient temperature pretty quickly, in a matter of a seconds. Does this sound achievable using typical batteries considering the modest temperature requirement? I'm willing to experiment but would really appreciate a professional opinion on the matter.
BraisedDuck6 years ago
where you get the robot?
Wesley6666 years ago
The conductive ink/paint/glue used powdered graphite. I want to know if you could use powdered copper?
im gonna use this technique to turn my winter gloves into tazers:)
nap706 years ago
Your instructable helped me convert my nice dance pads for my (now deceased) PS2 to work on my Xbox 360. My kids are so happy! My kids are DDR fanatics. I bought them nice dance pads for the PS2 a long time ago. After the PS2 died, I got the game with pad for the 360. The kids hate the pad that comes with the game. But no one seems to make the nicer pads for the 360. So I decided to open up the pads to see what I can learn. The two are basically the same design, even the traces line up. But I had no idea how to attach the plastic sensor to the circuit board. A google search for conductive adhesive led me here. I'm so glad it worked. I still have to convert the other dance pad. I will try to make an instructable for that and link to this article.
Wow ;
What in informative Instructable!
I actually signed up JUST to be able to post on this and rate it!

I was once planning on making my wife a “Taser” glove as a fun(cool) project so that she could use for self deffence or what not outside (gets pretty cold here) without needing to rush to her purse or anything.

My original idea was to pour an attractive latex addition to an inexpensive glove I purchased some while earlier (they were called “jogging” gloves). And to try burying wires from the battery and high-voltage in the design (She has to be able to wear it outside remember?).
Well it doesn’t take much to figure out that wires do not exactly stretch like a glove would! I was just too caught up with the “cool looking gadget” idea to correctly analyse correct functionality even though I was so busy evaluating of her ergonomics, cushion pads, her hand mould and etc...

As an alternative; I was thinking of how we used to copper plate polyester statues we made in the academy and then chemically treated them to look like Bronze. I was thinking if there would be a way to do the same since to be able to electroplate it we used to paint it with a strong mix of (in that project) coppered paint, making it conductive.
Why couldn’t I paint an insulated glove (Was NOT a good idea with such a high voltage)?

To no success I retreated to the original idea of giving wires a certain distance for motion and to put it all ‘under’ the glove.
Where safety was a concern though that maybe a rubber glove underneath would be a good idea and etc...

As you may guess:
The project has been on hold for some time, due to impracticalness at the period of "just begining".

Now that I read your instructable;
I am full with many new ideas! If nothing; a few of my other glove projects had involved a glove that you would not need to take off in cold weathers to be able to use your touch-pad (there are two that I use often, a very thick one that is also battery operated for really cold weathers, and another that is more what a liner with conductive thread patches.

For all honesty; after my failure and no demand for such a “weapon/toy”; I didn’t experiment with other metals or binders… (Also due to lack of time and too many other projects to attend to)

Would you recommend the conductive glue or paint you have experimented with for such voltages ranging from 400 volts on (depending on the feed it gets up to a nasty 1100 even. It is something almost all of us must have done at some time with an old flash... nothing too new there)

I will try to experiment with your combinations first chance I get though.

THANK you for the inspiration!

jdrews6 years ago
Thanks for your instructable mikey77!

As a sidenote:
If any of you have trouble finding "Tuloul solvent", I believe it's a typo. I think it's Tuluol solvent, or more commonly known as Toluene. Here's a wikipedia page:
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