This EL Wire Cowboy Boot Project is probably the coolest wearable technology piece I have made to date, although LED Shoulder Pads is a close second still. EL Wire is probably one of the most inspiring materials I have worked with in a long time. It has so much potential to make anything awesomer with a fine line of light to accentuate design. When I started working with it, I knew it could be cool to incorporate it into the embroidered motifs found on Cowboy Boots.
Check out the steps below to see how I achieved this look, it's easier than you think :D
Step 1: Materials
- Red Cowboy Boots
- Red Thread
- RadioShack EL Wire 3M (Red) (Radioshack Catalog #: 276-332) x2
- RadioShack Power Inverter for EL Wire/Tape/Panel (RadioShack Catalog #:276-338) x2
- Enercell® "AA" Alkaline Batteries (RadioShack Catalog #: 23-255) x4
And these tools:
Step 2: Get Started
I figured out that if I used the pre-existing embroidery holes in the boot, it was a lot easier to sew the EL wire into place.
I started with the EL wire under the pull-up strap of the boot, so I could easily hide my wire later.
BE SURE TO USE A THIMBLE! These needles are super duper sharp, and are designed to punch through cow-hide, your skin isn't too different :-/
Step 3: Making Bends
Making bends in the EL wire was a bit tricky - I found that it was easy to crimp the EL wire with my fingers gently, and then sew down the EL wire in a loop. I used 3 stitches to hold down each loop, one at the top, another at the apex of the loop, and another at the end.
Forming it with my fingers first helped guide the wires behavior. I was careful not to crimp it too hard, otherwise I could have damaged the delicate corona wires in the EL wire casing.
Step 4: Follow the Lines
Step 5: Take It Everywhere!
Step 6: Glue to the Sole
At that point, I used a HIGH TEMP glue gun to glue down the EL wire to the sole. It took a bit of patience, and I used the butt end of my exacto knife to hold the wire in place while the glue set.
Step 7: Trim Extra
I went through with an exacto blade and cleaned up all the extra glue that glopped up on the boots, and on the sides of the rubber.