I'm working on my first EL wire project and I read lots of guides on how to solder the EL wire, all of them warning about cutting through the very thin radial wires that run outside of the phosphorous layer.
I tried a few times and it can be tricky, but I think I have a much easier way of doing it.
I'm not going to go into much detail about how the wire works or about the various layers that make up EL wire - I'm sure you will have read this elsewhere.
A couple of things that I found made this process easier (other than the usual EL wire tools) are:
- Solder flux pen - helps the solder take to the wire and copper tape
- Old computer CPU heatsink - by moving some of the fins closer together, it makes a perfect clamp for holding both wires while soldering, much better than croc clips because it doesn't damage the wire
- Sharp craft knife - I use a knife to cut through the EL wire outer coloured coating (but not for the clear inner coating)
Step 1: Cutting the outer coating
I need my solder joints to be as small as possible for my project, so I only cut of 7mm off the outer coating, but you can cut more if you want to.
Measure what you need to cut and gently roll the EL wire with the blade, using just enough pressure to cut through the outer coloured coating. If you cut slightly into the inner coating, this isn't a problem, so long as you don't go completely though both.