Introduction: DIY Carbon Tape Heated Trousers

Picture of DIY Carbon Tape Heated Trousers

If you only knew, how nice to hang around for hours in the cold winter, laying in the snow, sit on a cold snowmobile or on icy log... if you wear heated trousers:)

I made them in 3 hours. Maybe you could do it even better, all in your hands!

Step 1: Shopping List

Picture of Shopping List

1.) 2 pair of inexpensive sport trousers in local store.

2.) 4.8 meters (16 ft) of 15 mm carbon fiber heating tape and now on Amazon

3.) 3 meters (10 ft) of 18 AWG ultra flexible wire. Conductor Type:150/0.08

4.) A silver glue.

5.) Thread and needle.

6.) RF dimmer.

7.) 12 v battery or any power source.

8.) 5 meters (16 ft) of Iron-on no-sew hem tape.

Step 2: A Little Theory...

Picture of A Little Theory...

The main advantage of carbon fiber tape is resistance to repeated bending.

Unlike a nichrome wire heater or similar, carbon tape provides uniform heating since it is much wider. In addition, it is very soft to the touch like a normal cloth and doesn't interfere in the clothes.

That's why it often used in heated clothing.


Look at the table. You can find the carbon tape length for needed temperature at 12 Volt.

I chose 38 degrees Celsius, so cut 1.2m of 15 mm carbon tape (4 pieces) and connected them in parallel.

1 piece of carbon consumes 0,59 Amper so 4 pieces:

0,59 x 4 = 2,36 A.

My 18650 batteries have 3,4 A/h so the run time is:

3,4 : 2,36 = 1,4 hour.

I've bought a RF dimmer and can smoothly change the power. On 50% it lasts more than 3 hours.

Step 3: How to Place Carbon Tape

Picture of How to Place Carbon Tape

I put the tape zigzag to uniformly heat up. Under the carbon tape put iron-on hemming web tape.
Gently press the carbon tape with an iron that is stuck to the fabric.

As you can see, I used only four pieces of carbon tape (two for front and two for back). You can make your oun drawing to better heat where you need it. For example, you can use 6 pieces of tape to make the heat more evenly.

Step 4: How to Connect Carbon Tape

Picture of How to Connect Carbon Tape

Sew the wire. Strip the end of the wire and twist.
Apply a little silver glue on the end of carbon tape. Attach the wire at the top and sew it tight. Apply the silver on the tape and wire. Allow to dry 30 minutes and apply silver again to make contact more reliable. Connect the RF dimmer if you would like make it dimmable.

Step 5: Cover the Carbon Heater Tape

Picture of Cover the Carbon Heater Tape

The carbon tape is an open wire. To avoid short-circuiting the tape needs to close with some insulator, for example, another cloth.

Put on top the second trousers. Make a little hole for the connection wires and put them out.

Sew legs and beits together.

Step 6: Power It!

You can just put the battery in your pocket, or use the velcro and stick it to the belt.

DIY carbon heated trousers ready. Click on the button and you will be warm and comfortable in any cold!

Step 7: That Magic Carbon Tape

Will be soon...


panic mode (author)2015-02-11

thanks, very nice cible! I like the links and prices... I like the dimmer too :-)

did not know about silver glue but checking it right now.

btw. how does the end product stand up to moisture / washing? I was thinking about something similar but using rivets as connection for wires.

Shenzhen (author)panic mode2015-02-11

Carbon tape from careful washing does not deteriorate, but when washing wires sometimes break.

lelehehe (author)Shenzhen2017-08-17

If I made these, could I "dry clean" them?

Shenzhen (author)lelehehe2017-08-17

Some kind of dry clean means using a solvent. If you used silver glue, it can dissolve during dry cleaning. I just wash my heated clothes in a washing machine.

GrassHopperJonez (author)2015-05-10

Dose anyone have a link to buy the RF Dimmer for someone in the US? The link to ebay here shows it won't ship to me. I'd like to build the project for next winter. It doesn't get sub temperature that often in Oklahoma but my main mode of transportation is motorized bicycle and this would be good to stay warm with a headlight generator powering it. I'm thinking pants, long sleeve shirt/coat and possibly gloves. (I'm not sure one generator would power all three but I'd be willing to try or have 2-3)

You can find more recommended accessories links on

raystorm6432 made it! (author)2015-04-03

I made it for a hoodie

Shenzhen (author)raystorm64322015-04-03

Thank you for the good news!

That is the temperature? Have you used a dimmer and a silver glue?

Maybe you could make an instructable about and get the prize on !

HellBandidos (author)2015-03-05

Do i really need silver glue? can i replace with other stuff like solder wire? do i need
iron-on tape or, can i sew direct on pants? Finally, lol, do i need specificaly this kind of flexible wire or any wire is good? Thanks. Sign: Canadian coming to Shenzhen in few weeks, funny thing ;)

Shenzhen (author)HellBandidos2015-03-05

Do i really need silver glue? - yes.

Do i really need silver glue? - unfortunately, no.

do i need iron-on tape or, can i sew direct on pants? - yes, you can sew it.

i need specificaly this kind of flexible wire or any wire is good? - "any wire" can break very quickly.

Shenzhen (author)Shenzhen2015-03-05

Sorry about the second question. I mean we cannot use other stuff like solder wire. But you can just put a wire on the tape and sew them together. It is not so reliable as silver and the wire will oxidize after a few month.

HellBandidos (author)Shenzhen2015-03-05

Thank you very much for the prompt reply. :D

JohnG18 (author)2015-02-10

I always enjoy your carbon tape stuff. On this design though it seems odd that you laid it out such that the wires have to go all the way down and up the legs. It seems that minimizing wire and maximizing carbon fiber provides the greatest comfort and washing machine durability. Wouldn't it have been better (though at twice the cost of carbon fiber) to run the fiber down then back up to the waist in one piece of twice the length (and running another the same way in parallel to get the resistance back to the original value)?

lclaiborne (author)JohnG182015-02-24

You want to hand wash these. Beating them up in the machine, why spend all that money and time to ruin them? wear an inner layer and heat a middle or outer layer and they shouldn't need washing too often.

Shenzhen (author)JohnG182015-02-10

Yes, you right this isn't the best pattern for wires but repeatable for every one I hope.

Shenzhen (author)2015-02-22


thebipolarbear06 (author)2015-02-21

sweet, I'm excited to try this out.

Shenzhen (author)2015-02-12

Just imaging and win $100 US dollars!

andrew.mead.1253 (author)2015-02-11

I haven't seen hot pants since the '70's. I concur with an earlier post and their concerns about the calculations provided. I don't know much about Snowmobiles but I think those who ride them would benefit from connecting such clothing to the snowmobiles 12 v.d.c supply while in operation. Silver glue? I've never heard of that but I'm going to learn about it momentarily. Thanks!

Bowtie41 (author)2015-02-11

I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis so bad it's hard to work outside with my hands if it gets below say 50F.I have been looking at heated gloves that heat the fingers where I also suffer from circulation problems(most only heat palms).Everthing I saw was at least $65.I didn't imagine you could buy the tape seperately,thinking it was some super special item.You've now gave me inspiration to make my own.Thank You!

Shenzhen (author)Bowtie412015-02-11

If you could make an instructables about and get "featured" they send you prize at $100

Bowtie41 (author)Shenzhen2015-02-11

I saw that on their site.Thank You!!

TriforceJunkie (author)2015-02-10

Do you have an estimated overall cost?

Shenzhen (author)TriforceJunkie2015-02-10

Carbon $34 (

Wire $7.

RF dimmer $3

Iron on hemming tape $2

Silver glue $1,5 on eBay (

Battery x3 $9 on eBay (

An old trousers for free:)


$56,5 with battery

$47,5 - powered on bike's or car's battery.

The price of heated clothing depend on power at the first. This one is almost 30 W. If you would like to compare with something, please, near the same power.

TriforceJunkie (author)Shenzhen2015-02-10

Nice! Thanks :)

Might make it in the future!

yrralguthrie (author)2015-02-10

I like this. If someone makes one remember that the 18650 batteries need a special charger. If you use a nicad charger you will ruin the batteries in short order and maybe start a fire. Or the batteries can blow up. Remember the lithium ion batteries on the Boeing airplane? And the maximum current rating right now is about 3 amps. None are 4.5 amps or 4500ma. Those 18650 batteries that are rated higher than that on ebay are fiction. Also the batteries are 3.7 volts. So if you try to power the pants with only one battery you will draw about 8 amps. 30/3.7 One battery then would last about 20 minutes. Three about an hour. If the builders batteries lasted 3 hours the pants were not 30 watts. Likely with the dimmer the pants were drawing closer to 10 watts. If you don't believe me about the current rating of 18650's start checking laptop computers. They mostly all use either 3 or 6 18650's and the rating is usually about 30 to 50 watts. Watts equal volts times amps. They use the best batteries they can find on laptops.

frankie2234. (author)2015-02-10

Very nice. Ever consider placing them in gloves, and boots????

scitzz (author)2015-02-10

Is this the same tape?

Shenzhen (author)scitzz2015-02-10

Yes and no.

It is the same conductor and can heat but designed for structural reinforcement and very hard. No one would like to use it in clothing.

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)2015-02-08

Plug into your car alternator when the heating fAils?

nonobadog (author)Tecwyn Twmffat2015-02-10

Most cars already have heaters in them. Look at your dash, you might find the controls there.

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)nonobadog2015-02-10

Not my old Mercedes van. The heating system blew up a long time before, eventually, the engine blew up.

Ender3D (author)2015-02-10

Veery cool. How durable are the pants to machine washing?

Shenzhen (author)Ender3D2015-02-10

Depend on wires we used. I've changed them twice in jacket but the carbon still working.

rayj0007 (author)2015-02-10

A word of caution!!! These are wonderful for most cold activities. The danger comes if you depend on them and are not able to get to some place warm when the batteries run down. If you were lost while hunting or stranded by a mechanical problem with your snowmobile, Your warm clothes would "disappear" when the batteries ran down, creating the risk of hypothermia.

A well done 'ibble, and a great idea for skaters, skiers, and most outdoor activities. These are especially useful for activities that alternate between periods of activity and periods of waiting. Off when you're active, on when you're not.

hardlydavidson (author)2015-02-09

wow nice! how did you get those heat vision like photographs?

Shenzhen (author)hardlydavidson2015-02-09

Maybe it's a photoshop? :)

No, look at the video above. You can see the "Cantronic" sign. It is infrared thermal camera.

ekiessling (author)2015-02-09

I live in Northern Ontario Canada and am very excited to see this IBLE. It is minus 25 today. I like to walk outside but the amount of clothing I need to stay warm is crazy and makes distance walking exhausting, but surely I can apply this to my snow pants!!
Most techie ibles are hard for me to understand but this one I get and will be builing some heated pants and zipper sweater to wear under my down coat this weekend.
Thanks again.

Shenzhen (author)ekiessling2015-02-09

If you would like I can help with any "how to".

DCGuillory (author)2015-02-08

This would be good on my motorcycle. Heated motorcycle gear can be pricey and not always just how you want it.

Justa Jakobi (author)2015-02-07

I love it, and I happen to have the controller already, but I am concerned about what will happen if it gets soaking wet.

Shenzhen (author)Justa Jakobi2015-02-08

Turn the power on, trousers will heat up and dry very quickly. We have tried many times:)

Justa Jakobi (author)Shenzhen2015-02-08

Very nice!

Attmos (author)2015-02-07

Very cool; but why would I want to spend hours laying in the snow or on an icy log? What is it that you do that inspired you to make these?

Shenzhen (author)Attmos2015-02-07

Long and cold Russian winter, long roads, large drifts, snow-covered fields and forests:)

Attmos (author)Shenzhen2015-02-08

I meant no offence with my comment, and I hope I didn't.

omnibot (author)Attmos2015-02-08

You obviously don't live very far north ;)

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