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How to Make a Color-Changing Lighted Faux Fur Scarf

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Picture of How to Make a Color-Changing Lighted Faux Fur Scarf
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Here are some tips for creating a fuzzy illuminated scarf with color-changing LEDs, with a relatively simple process that is suitable for someone with limited sewing or soldering experience.

The lens of each of these RGB LEDs contains its own red, green, and blue emitters, and a built-in processor to make it blink or fade between colors, so you can achieve a fairly sophisticated effect with a simple circuit, and no external driver. The flexible connecting wires are concealed by a fabric lining, so the finished product is very comfortable and easy to wear. The lights create a nice diffused glow in the fur - wear it as a conversation piece, fashion statement, or safety accessory.

The number of lights in the design can be scaled up or down, with no need for a current-limiting resistor, although battery life will decrease as you increase the number of lights (unless you upgrade to a larger 4.5V supply).

 
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Step 1: List of materials

Picture of list of materials
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Sewing materials and tools:
piece of faux fur for scarf (60" x 9" for the example shown)
fabric for lining (60"x9", or can be more of the same fur)
extra fabric for battery pocket
strip of velcro, approx 3" long
sewing needle
thread
scissors
pins
razor blade (to cut fur, optional)
sewing machine (optional)
buttons (standard 2-hole sewing type, approx 1/2" diameter - not rubber, not metal. most plastic buttons are reasonably heat resistant. available at craft stores, or by the pound at buttons4u.com)

Electronic materials and tools:
color-changing RGB LEDs (the type with a built-in flashing or fading circuit, with two external leads - a fast blinking version is available at allelectronics.com, slower fading versions are available on eBay)
battery holder for 3 AA cells, batteries
on/off switch (optional) SPST pushbutton (non-momentary)
insulated connector wire (stranded wire in the range of 20-24 GA - can be obtained by separating pieces from standard ribbon cable)
soldering iron
solder
wire cutters
wire strippers
tweezers
helping hand stand with spring-loaded clips

Other stuff you'll need:
soft surface for pressing LEDs into buttons while bending leads (electrostatic work mat or yoga mat)
hot glue gun and glue sticks
pen or marker
uloixia1 month ago

Thank you so much for showing exactly how you wired the LEDs. So many people just put up the schematic and leave you to your own devices, which, in reality, isn't all that helpful.

And what an awesome scarf! Can't wait to make some franken-version of this. :)

AnnaOnWeb4 years ago
Congeniuos! Looks good, is working perfectly... BUT: Can you give me a hint where to get this very special faux fur? I have not found anything else which would be appropriate to this project. Thanks A Lot! With best regards, Anna
Moodfabrics.com
enlighted (author)  AnnaOnWeb4 years ago
hi- I'm sorry, I've looked but have never seen that particular fur online. I found that type while shopping in the downtown LA garment district (one of the main places with big rolls visible from the street). -Janet
I just moved to Cali and was thinking about going down to LA to buy some fabric. Any recommendations of stores down there? Thanks! Erin
enlighted (author)  rei00424 years ago
The corner of 9th St and Maple Ave in downtown LA has a few good fur shops, and there are many other fabric shops in that general area.
Hi Janet, thank you for your answer. I will have a hard time to get an appropiate faux fur for that. I alread planning the scarf to be powerde by a lithium polymer accu which causes some difficulties ... the burst into flames occasionally. When I get a solution working and tested it would be a pleasure for me to provide it to you - such a lipo accu has less weight and much more power. Have a nice evenig - it´s around midnight here right now - and with my best regards, Anna
All the color-changing LEDs I can find have three leads not two. Where did you find the LEDs used in this?
 thats epic

gregod434 years ago
What about resistors? Or at least one resistor to restrict current? You may be able to get a more effective scarf with longer life if you try that out.
enlighted (author)  gregod434 years ago
For a single-color LED, yes, resistors are a good idea. However for the type with built-in color-changing, they work fine with a direct 4.5V power source. I have some pieces built by this technique that are several years old, and all the LEDs still work.
mpinner5 years ago
great repurposing of buttons! i've done some led fabrics and a few buttons would have really helped to keep them aimed properly. thanks for the ingenious idea.
Goodhart5 years ago
That is both wild and very well done......thank you for this
dr.light5 years ago
the RGB blinkers @ ALL ELX actually have more than 1 mode... they will cycle thru a quck-snap (or bump) but with them also cycle thru a xfade mode. I used a bunch of them for my light up santa camp marker @ Burningman 07 bonus points for crashing the microcontroller in them and getting them to 'stick' in a mode or color...
mu0p6 years ago
AMAZING thnx for the enormous amount of detail!!! really well put together!
terren2726 years ago
this is katya!! omg i loove your work on this one the leopard... and the lights...and the furriness!! omg i loove it!!!! youre amazing! :D
Zujus6 years ago
Awesome job! Nice fur pattern ;)
Great job! I love all the detail you put in here.
canida6 years ago
This looks great! Very nicely done, and carefully explained.
Awesome! I would so do this if I had that scarf... nice scarf by the way.
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