When trying to connect EL Tape, if you have worked with other electronics or EL Wire before, then this should come very easily to you. If you are familiar with most electronics but have never worked with EL Wire before, it still may come fairly easily for you as this concept is actually easier than EL Wire in most respects. Basically there are a positive and negative channel which runs the entire length of the tape. These two channels act like most electronics where you have a positive and negative and the two cannot touch. The main difference is most electronics need to have a closed loop system where the ends double back around and make a consistent flow of energy to make the electronic device work properly. For Electroluminescent products, you MUST have an open loop where the positive and negative channels (or wires) do not touch, otherwise it will short out the tape.
The following tools are recommended for this project:
1. Battery Pack (or Inverter) - Without this your tape won't glow, so it will be handy to have one available so you can test this along the way.
2. Wire Cutters/Knife/Razor Blade - Basically anything sharp will do, but a razor blade is the easiest to use.
3. Soldering Iron - A must have. Without this, your connection will be shotty and may not light up.
4. Helping Hands - This nifty little tool is a must have in any electronics grab bag.
5. EL Tape (Electroluminescent Tape) - You wouldn't be doing this project without it!
6. Heat Shrink Tubing - Colored looks cooler, but black is just fine. You can pick this stuff up at Frys, radio shack, etc.
7. Solder - Leaded or unleaded... I like the unleaded stuff just because I know lead is horrible to breathe in.
8. Oops, where's 8?? I accidentally left out a lighter (or heat gun) AND copper tape (or circuit pen).
Step 1: Step 1: Cut Tape and Peel Back Plastic Layer
Step 1: Peel back the 3M Tape layer and protective plastic coating. The green layer is a semi-non conductive layer which is what you will see as you pull back the tape layer. The easiest way to pull this back is to use a razor blade or sharp knife to dig in between the plastic seams, which will allow you to peel this back like a banana. The grayish layer is the conductive layer which is what the connection will actually be affixed to. Making a connection straight onto the conductive layer will allow you to have a continuous charge. If you make your connection on the green layer, you may notice your tape lights up, but it will most likely short out much faster. More likely than not, it probably won't even light up.