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Shine like a galaxy with this twinkling LED shirt that lights up when you move! This shirt sets the darkness ablaze with 19 LEDs and 8 different LED colors!

Inspiration

For this project I was inspired by another instructable - the Fiber Optic Dress. Instead of using fiber optics though, I wanted to use RGB LEDs. I was also inspired by the Leidy’s Comb Jelly because this particular jellyfish lights up similar to a rainbow LED strip. I wanted that rainbow quality, but I wanted it to be even more organic looking and not have all the lights in one straight line or grid pattern. I decided that I wanted to buy my LEDs from Adafruit and after a little researching on their site, I came across their wonderful wearable projects. They have a LED light up skirt project and it was this project that I took a lot of my knowledge from. I have noticed that most LED clothing are dresses and skirts. I did not see an LED shirt so I wanted to create a shirt because it didn't seem like something that was as common.

Overview

I have been wanting to create some sort of 'wearable art' or unique clothing for a while now and so throughout the creation of this light shirt I have been very excited and motivated. Sewing all 3 connections down all 19 LEDs was lots of work. I spent at least two whole days sewing all the connections, but I was taking my time to be sure everything would work properly.

Despite my careful sewing, I did have some bad connection issues and after freaking out a little about having issues after all that time put into sewing, I calmed down and was able to easily fix my problems. The bad connectivity was my biggest hurdle and really it wasn't anything that bad. I made a few silly mistakes along the way as well, but there was nothing I wasn't able to easily fix or catch.

While I found many helpful tutorials for this project, I started losing track with which tutorial said what so when I had to reference a certain step to make sure I did it correctly it took some hunting to find the exact tutorial that mentioned that step. So while my project may be similar to other LED wearable projects, I hope that this will be a good comprehensive guide so that you do not have to go all over the place to find all of the information and I also hope that I answer some questions or show some images that other tutorials have failed to mention or show.

Step 1: Terms

Just to avoid any confusion & keep other sections less lengthy I will define a few of the things I am talking about here:

  • Adafruit - The company you will be buying most of the tech stuff for this project from. https://www.adafruit.com/
  • RGB LED - Red, Green, Blue Light Emitting Diode - Basically it is a light that can turn just about every color of the rainbow since it has red, green, and blue in it. By altering how much of one color shows, for example say 50% red 50% blue, you can get another color which in this case half red and half blue will make purple.
  • Neopixel - The type of LED we will be using for this project. This LED is specifically meant for sewing onto projects and it is made by Adafruit.
  • Flora - This is similar to an Arduino and it is Arduino compatible. The difference is the Flora board is made with wearability in mind so it does not have anything sharp on it that would pick your clothing. The Flora is by Adafruit.
  • Conductive Thread - Thread made of steel fibers! This thread basically takes the place of wiring so you can connect your lights and other elements in a wearable friendly way. There isn't much of a difference sewing with regular thread vs. sewing with conductive thread.

Step 2: Supplies

  • Scissors

You need these for cutting thread and possibly cutting fabric as well.

  • Phone Charger Cord

One side needs to be able to fit into a USB port. The other end needs to be a mini USB shape. This is for hooking up your Flora to the computer so that you can test everything and send the code to your Flora.

  • Well Fitting Black T-Shirt - Where I Got it: Target (Girls Section) - Price: around $9.00

This will be your base in which you will sew everything to. The connections will all work best when you are using fabric that isn't baggy or contains a lot of folds.

  • Clear Nail Polish - Where I Got it: CVS - Price: $1.00

This is used to seal each knotted stitch to keep it from fraying and coming undone. For you men attempting this project who feel silly going and buying clear nail polish, tell the CVS worker what you intend to do with the nail polish. I straight up told the lady what I was looking for and what I needed it for and she picked out the cheapest polish for me since I explained that I only needed it for a project and not for my nails.

  • Alligator Clips (4 of them)

You will be needing these for the first step, which is testing everything to be sure it is working.

  • Multi-Meter

A cheap basic one will do. This is good for testing your connections. The only time I used the multi-meter was when I was having issues and needed to find out where my connectivity problem was.

This program is super important because you can't do much of anything without it. This program allows you tell your Flora, Neopixels, and Accelermeter what to do.

Items You can Get from Michael's (or some type of fabric store):

  • Sewing Needle

This is for sewing regular and conductive thread around the different elements.

  • Black Thread

If you are not using a black shirt, be sure to find a thread that matches your shirt color. This is for securing down the Flora as well as for adding fancy stuff to the shirt.

  • Stitch Ripper

When you make a mistake that needs to be taken out when sewing you use this. I had to use a stitch ripper especially when I had to re-do faulty connections, but hopefully you won't have my same problem.

  • tailor's Chalk Pencil(In White)

This isn't really as required to have as the other things because you can use stickers and all sorts of things to temporarily mark where you want to place your lights, but this will certainly come in handy.

  • Fabric

This is only if you plan on making a pocket for your battery to go into or if you want to cover the shirt with flowy or decorative fabric once you have the LEDs sewn on. I went with a sheer black fabric.

  • Plastic Embroidery Hoop (size 4)

While this isn't required, I highly recommend getting a hoop. This was my first time using one and it really helped keep the fabric taught. I was easily able to figure out how to use it without using one before.

Everything You Need off of Adafruit:

* Note - After buying 2 ply conductive thread I saw a video that said when using more than 3 Neopixels it was a good idea to use the 3 ply instead. I was upset to know I had the wrong thread and I would have to buy 3 ply. I went onto their site and they were sold out of 3 ply. Luckily my classmates told me to test the 2 ply thread with 10 Neopixels to see if it would work. I tested it by tying the thread through the pixels without actually sewing anything. It worked so I sewed my whole project with 2 ply thread and I have not had any problems. Avoid the wool thread.

This is like the 'brain' of the whole project and this is what you will be uploading your code to. It is Arduino compatible and clothing safe.

If you don't want a lot of Neopixels you can buy the 4 pack instead which is $7.95, but if you need a large number you save some money buying the 20 pack. Also, even if you don't use all 20 you will have some extras just encase.

While testing everything and sending code to your Flora, you can have it run by plugging it into your computer, but once you are done you need to be able to actually wear your shirt out and about. This battery helps make your shirt easily wearable.

You need this specific battery charger for the above battery. The link to the product also tells you how to use this charger, but it is pretty easy to figure out on your own.

Step 3: Testing Your Flora, Neopixels, & Accelerometer

While Adafruit does test their products before selling them, they do recommend that you test everything BEFORE starting your project.

Flora to Neopixel Test

  • Take out your Flora and, if your Neopixels are all stuck in a sheet gently pop out one of the Neopixels from the sheet. (since I ordered the 20 pack, I had to pop out each Neopixel).
  • We will be following a tutorial provided by Adafruit to test each individual pixel. Their tutorial is on page 6 of this PDF - https://learn.adafruit.com/downloads/pdf/flora-rgb...
  • Follow their tutorial exactly and download the test codes they tell you to.
  • You should test each Neopixel to be sure it is working correctly.

Flora to Accelerometer Test

  • Once again we will be following a tutorial provided by Adafruit to test the Accelerometer. Here is that tutorial that starts on page 9 of this PDF - https://learn.adafruit.com/downloads/pdf/flora-acc...
  • I could have sworn that Adafruit showed how to hook up the Accelerometer with alligator clips, but I guess they didn't. Still, you can easily figure out how to hook it up with alligator clips by seeing what ports they sewed. It is the same thing.
  • You need to download the test code they tell you to and then open the serial monitor to see that the Accelerometer is working since unlike the Neopixels you cannot see a visual change when just testing the accelerometer.

Once everything is tested and has proven that it is working you can move on.

Step 4: Placement Design

Placing the Flora

Here are the questions you need to ask yourself when deciding where to place the Flora:

  • Do I want to hide it inside the shirt or is it fine being on the outside?
  • Should I keep it down at the bottom of the shirt so that when I plug it into the battery, I can tuck the battery into my pocket?
  • Do I want it to be more of a unique center adornment sort of like Iron Man?
  • Am I placing this in an area that will be convenient enough for me to connect it to the pixels as well as to the accelerometer? Keep in mind that the accelerometer must be very close to the Flora.

I personally chose to place the Flora at the bottom of the shirt because I can then easily plug it in and store the battery in my pocket since the Flora is down near my pocket. I couldn't do that if it was up high and I would have to devise some sort of holder for the battery.

To remember where you want to place the Flora, you can mark the location using a tailor's chalk pencil or some sort of means for marking the location.

Placing the Neopixels

If you have not already decided how many Neopixels you want to have on your shirt, now is the time to make that decision. I struggled to decide if I should use all 20 of the Neopixels I bought and where to place them. All I knew is I did not want them to be in a grid-like pattern and I wanted them in clusters.

  • First, I laid the shirt down flat on the floor and started placing Neopixels on the shirt somewhat randomly. Be sure that the first pixel your Flora connects to is fairly close to the Flora just to be safe.
  • Keep in mind that you will be sewing through all of the holes on the Neopixels. This means that you need to leave enough room for all of this sewing so don't put your Neopixels too close together.
  • Next, use the tailor's chalk pencil to mark the places you decided to put each Neopixel.
  • Now that you have your markings on the shirt, put the shirt on and look at it in the mirror to make sure that none of the areas you marked are in an awkward place or a place where it might not be seen.

Placing Neopixels on Both the Front & Back

I avoided placing Neopixels on both the front and back for several reasons with the biggest reason being that I did not want to have any extra problems. Keep in mind that if you do decide to put Neopixels on the back as well, when you test your shirt, turn it on, etc you must have it on a form or on someone to prevent the back pixels from shorting out because the conductive threads from the front and back will touch each other if not separated by something. So while I was able to test my codes with the shirt laying flat on a table, if I had made it with Neopixels on both sides I would have to put it on or put it on a mannequin just to test it. Another thing that I was thinking about is that you would be leaning up against things in a shirt and so the back Neopixels could be vulnerable when you sit against things, etc. To me it just seemed safer to keep everything on the front, but you can have pixels on both sides just keep in mind you have to keep both sides from touching when it is on so that all the lights work.

Step 5: Sewing Flora, Neopixels, & Accellerometer Onto Shirt

If you have little to no experience with sewing, do not fret...Or should I say do not fray!? Did that leave you in stitches? Anyways, the sewing required for this project isn't that bad. If you are unsure of your sewing abilities it might be a good idea to do a practice exercise of stitching two buttons onto a scrap piece of fabric. Pretend that the buttons are Neopixels - they are about the same size and have about the same amount of holes as a Neopixel so they are perfect test subjects for you to use before you start sewing the real thing. You do not have to do this practice exercise first, but just remember that with this project while the stitching is easy, it does have to be good and tight so that you do not have connectivity issues.

* Tips *

  • Use the embroidery hoop on your fabric when sewing everything down to keep the fabric tight and to allow yourself to not have to worry about holding the fabric while sewing. It helps A TON so use it!
  • Make sure that you have enough thread to at least reach the next Neopixel (or whatever is next in the line you are sewing). I learned that if you run out of thread midway between the tie off areas on Neopixels, you are more likely to have connectivity issues if you start a new thread midway like this but if you start a new thread on one of the tie off areas it works.
  • Once you finish a knot, seal it using clear nail polish. Give it a minute or so to dry and then snip off any excess thread.
  • When you have little thread 'tails' from your beginning stitch knot or what have you, cut them off to keep everything clean and to avoid the tails causing connectivity issues. They can cause connectivity issues if they are long enough to reach another line such as a thread tail on Data stretching over to Ground could give you some problems.
  • Always check the back of your fabric to make sure your sewing is not messing up in the back! Sometimes a thread is bunched and you can't tell unless if you are actively looking on the front and back while sewing to avoid issues like this.

Sewing Down the Flora

First you need to secure the Flora to your shirt. Since we are just securing it down we can use regular thread. This is the ONLY time you will be using regular thread to sew down one of the electronic elements. The rest of the time we will be using conductive thread.

We will be sewing the Flora down using 2 ports that we do not need for the rest of the project:

3.3V

This is the first un-used port we will be sewing down with regular thread. You must be careful because there is anther 3.3V that we DO need. This one that we don't need is located next to D10 on the Flora and it is also right next to the mini USB port. Sew around this pin at least 4 times to make sure the Flora is very well secured to your shirt. Seal the knot with clear nail polish.

GND

Here you have to be careful because there is one GND that we DO need on the Flora. The one you will be sewing down here is the GND next to the Flora flower logo. It is also located next to the TX port. Sew around this GND port at least 4 times as well. Seal the thread knot with clear nail polish.

Sewing the Accelerometer to the Flora

The stitch we will be using to connect the Flora to the Accelerometer is called a running stitch, but I like to call it the dotted line stitch since that is what it looks like. Remember that your Accelerometer should be very close to your Flora.

GND

  • Starting off on the Flora, sew around the GND point (it is next to the Mini USB port) at least 3 times. Once you have sewn it down tightly, knot it and seal that knot with clear nail polish. DO NOT CUT OFF YOUR THREAD.
  • Next, sew over to the gnd on your Accelerometer. It is located next to the star image. Sew around the Accelerometer's ground at least three times. Knot it 2 times. Seal it with clear nail polish.
  • You have now successfully connected the Flora's ground with the Accelerometer's ground.

SCL

  • Next to the GND that you just sewed on the Flora you will see SCL. Sew SCL the same way making sure to knot it and seal it before moving on to the Accelerometer.
  • Once done sewing the SCL on your Flora sew it to the SCL on your Accelerometer. It is next to the star image. Remember to cut your thread after you knot it then head to the next point...

SDA

  • Back on your Flora you will stitch SDA.
  • Stitch over to SDA on your Accelerometer.
  • Same stitching and procedure as the others basically.

3.3V

This is the final point you have to sew for connecting the Flora to the Accelerometer.

  • Starting on the Flora sew 3.3V, knot it, etc.
  • From the Flora's 3.3V sew over to the 3V on the Accelerometer.

Sewing Neopixels

* Notes *

  • Neopixels have to be facing a certain way. Each Neopixel should be pointing to the next one in line so remember to face the arrows of each Neopixel in the correct direction when sewing.
  • While these Neopixels are made to be wearable, they do have rough edges around where they were stuck to the sheet they were produced in. Be careful when sewing them because while these edges normally do not catch the thread or fabric, they sometimes do. You may even consider sanding these edges a bit. I did not try sanding it and instead was very careful when sewing and when putting on and taking off the shirt to be sure nothing snagged.
  • You should definately use the embroidery hoop for stitching Neopixels.

All four holes on each Neopixel will be sewn through. Once again we will be using the running stitch.

Data

We will start off by sewing through all of the data points. This one is a little different from Power and Ground because it is not one continuous strand since it stops for each Neopixel.

  • Starting on your Flora, sew down D6 on your Flora pad. Make sure you go through the hole at least 3 times before giving it a final knot and sealing that knot with clear nail polish.
  • Now that you have D6 on your Flora sewn down you will stitch over to the very first Neopixel's arrow (the arrow pointing to the center of the Neopixel not the one pointing off). Once you have reached the arrow stitch at least three times through that hole and end it with 2 knots and seal it with the clear nail polish.
  • You must cut off your thread at this point because you cannot make the Data one continuous line. It ends at each pixel's first arrow and begins at that same pixel's second arrow.
  • So next you start at the other side of that pixel making sure to do at least three loops around the data, tie it off, seal it, then continue stitching.
  • You will keep repeating this until you have all of your data points on the Neopixels stitched together.

Power

Now you will sew through all of the power points.

  • Starting on your Flora, sew down VBATT on your Flora pad and do the same process of stitching and sealing that we have been doing.
  • Now you can stitch over to the positive side of your first Neopixel and sew a few times through that. Unlike with Data, we can make power one continuous line so you can keep on stitching to the next Neopixel's power. Just keep in mind that when you need more thread, you need to end your thread on one of the power points and then start a new thread on that same power point. This will keep the connection tight and continuous. If you start a new thread midway between neopixels the connection will most likely not work and then you will have to worry about that later and it will mean re-sewing that portion between pixels. It isn't fun to have to fix that, so do start a new thread ON THE NEOPIXEL'S POWER POINT.
  • Continue to sew all Neopixels in this way.

Ground

Ground is very similar to power in that it can be one continuous line without any gaps for the Neopixel. This is the last part you have to sew down on your Neopixels.

  • Starting on your Flora, sew down GND on your Flora pad. Knot it, seal it, etc.
  • Next you will stitch over to the negative side of your first pixel.
  • Keep on sewing until you have all of the Neopixels sewn.

*Tip*

  • Listening to music helps pass the time when you are sewing. I like sewing while listening to dubstep because the beat gets me feeling pumped and motivated.

Step 6: Checking & Fixing

First of all, treat yourself for getting all of that sewing done! Good job! :)

Now you need to download the code file titled Light_Shirt_Code.ino I have attached to test that your Flora, Neopixels, and Accellerometer are all working. You can also just copy the code below and paste it into the program if you do not want to download it:

    #include <br>#include 
    #include 
    // Parameter 1 = number of pixels in strip
    // Parameter 2 = pin number (most are valid)
    // Parameter 3 = pixel type flags, add together as needed:
    //   NEO_RGB     Pixels are wired for RGB bitstream
    //   NEO_GRB     Pixels are wired for GRB bitstream
    //   NEO_KHZ400  400 KHz bitstream (e.g. FLORA pixels)
    //   NEO_KHZ800  800 KHz bitstream (e.g. High Density LED strip)
    Adafruit_NeoPixel strip = Adafruit_NeoPixel(19, 6, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);
    Adafruit_LSM303 lsm;
    // Here is where you can put in your favorite colors that will appear!
    // just add new {nnn, nnn, nnn}, lines. They will be picked out randomly
    //                                  R   G   B
    uint8_t myFavoriteColors[][8] = {{200,   0, 200},   // purple
                                     {200,   0,   0},   // red 
                                     {200, 200, 200},   // white
                                     {  0,   0, 200},   // blue
                                     {  0, 200,   0},   // green
                                     {255, 153,   0},   // orange
                                     {255, 255,   0},   // yellow
                                     {255, 102, 255},   // pink  
                                   };
    // don't edit the line below
    #define FAVCOLORS sizeof(myFavoriteColors) / 8
    // mess with this number to adjust TWINklitude :)
    // lower number = more sensitive
    #define MOVE_THRESHOLD 45
    void setup() 
    {
      Serial.begin(9600);
      
      // Try to initialise and warn if we couldn't detect the chip
      if (!lsm.begin())
      {
        Serial.println("Oops ... unable to initialize the LSM303. Check your wiring!");
        while (1);
      }
      strip.begin();
      strip.show(); // Initialize all pixels to 'off'
    }
    void loop() 
    {
      // Take a reading of accellerometer data
      lsm.read();
      Serial.print("Accel X: "); Serial.print(lsm.accelData.x); Serial.print(" ");
      Serial.print("Y: "); Serial.print(lsm.accelData.y);       Serial.print(" ");
      Serial.print("Z: "); Serial.print(lsm.accelData.z);     Serial.print(" ");
      // Get the magnitude (length) of the 3 axis vector
      // http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euclidean_vector#Length
      double storedVector = lsm.accelData.x*lsm.accelData.x;
      storedVector += lsm.accelData.y*lsm.accelData.y;
      storedVector += lsm.accelData.z*lsm.accelData.z;
      storedVector = sqrt(storedVector);
      Serial.print("Len: "); Serial.println(storedVector);
      
      // wait a bit
      delay(100);
      
      // get new data!
      lsm.read();
      double newVector = lsm.accelData.x*lsm.accelData.x;
      newVector += lsm.accelData.y*lsm.accelData.y;
      newVector += lsm.accelData.z*lsm.accelData.z;
      newVector = sqrt(newVector);
      Serial.print("New Len: "); Serial.println(newVector);
      
      // are we moving 
      if (abs(newVector - storedVector) > MOVE_THRESHOLD) {
        Serial.println("Twinkle!");
        flashRandom(2, 10);  // first number is 'wait' delay, shorter num == shorter twinkle
        flashRandom(10,  5);  // second number is how many neopixels to simultaneously light up
        flashRandom(5, 15);
      }
    }
    void flashRandom(int wait, uint8_t howmany) {
      for(uint16_t i=0; i
        // get a random pixel from the list
        int j = random(strip.numPixels());
        //Serial.print("Lighting up "); Serial.println(j); 
        
        // now we will 'fade' it in 5 steps
        for (int x=0; x < 5; x++) {
          int r = red * (x+1); r /= 5;
          int g = green * (x+1); g /= 5;
          int b = blue * (x+1); b /= 5;
          
          strip.setPixelColor(j, strip.Color(r, g, b));
          strip.show();
          delay(wait);
        }
        // & fade out in 5 steps
        for (int x=5; x >= 0; x--) {
          int r = red * x; r /= 5;
          int g = green * x; g /= 5;
          int b = blue * x; b /= 5;
          
          strip.setPixelColor(j, strip.Color(r, g, b));
          strip.show();
          delay(wait);
        }
      }
      // LEDs will be off when done (they are faded to 0)
    }

    Make sure you download this file into your Arduino folder. It should be in Documents > Arduino. You may have to make a new folder within the Arduino folder for this file. Title the folder something recognizable such as the same title as the file.

  • Plug in your Flora using a phone charger cable connected to the USB port of your computer.
  • Make sure that your USB port is selected by going to Tools > Serial Port > and select yours from the list. Also make sure that Lilypad Arduino USB is selected by going to Tools > Board and selecting it. If these are not selected your code will not run and you will be really confused so be sure that these are always selected.

* Tip * - If that darn Arduino size 10 font is too small for you, you can change it in your preferences by going to Arduino > Preferences. I like to set it to size 15. After this change you do have to close the program and re-open it for the change to properly take effect.

Light Coding (Easy)

If you used 19 Neopixels like me you do not have to alter the code, but if you used a different amount here you need to go to line 11 in your code and change 19 to whatever number of Neopixels you are using. If you have more pixels and you do not change this code, you will only have 19 pixels lighting up and you will be scratching your head wondering why the connections are good but the lights are not coming on. It happened to me, don't let it happen to you! Don't forget to hit save after changing the pixel amount.

  • Now, hit the check mark button to make sure the code does not contain any errors. If it does, you may have copied it wrong or accidentally deleted something, etc.
  • Once the program tells you the code is good, hit the button next to the check mark button which will upload this code directly to your Flora. The little lights on your Flora should start blinking a certain way letting you know it is processing the code.
  • If nothing happens right away, remember that it is motion activated so you have to move it a little bit to get it to light up.
  • Watch all of your Neopixels to make sure that each one is lighting up. The code chooses a Neopixel at random so it might be a little bit before you see every single one light up, but it won't take it too long. You will know pretty quickly if you are having any issues.

Troubleshooting

  • Nothing is lighting up - This actually happened to me when I first tested my shirt! The problem was that my ground connection from the Flora to the very first Neopixel wasn't connecting properly. The culprit was a knot I made between the Flora and the Neopixel. I ran out of thread before I got to the Neopixel and made a knot in the fabric and then continued on from there with a new thread. This knot was not tight enough to keep the connection.
  • A few are lighting up but not all - I had this problem twice after I fixed the first problem! Once again somewhere down the line I did the same thing. I ran out of thread before I got to the Neopixel hole and tied it off in the fabric and continued on from there.

Fixing the above problems:

This is where a multi-meter comes in handy.

Turn on your multi-meter. First, test it to make sure it is working by touching both metal pins together. They should make a buzzing noise. Now, starting from a working pixel or from the Flora touch the ground of one unit to the ground of the other. For example, if none of your Neopixels are lighting up you would touch the ground of the Flora to the ground of the first Neopixel. If touching the ground of your Flora and touching the ground of the first Neopixel makes a buzzing noise, keep testing the different paths to find the one that is not working. So next you would move to data and then to power if data is working. Once you find the problem path, you can then narrow down your search even further. Say your power for the first Neopixel was not working. You would place one multi-meter pin on the Flora's power, and then touch the other on the conductive thread. Keep moving down the conductive thread with the pin until you hit a point where it no longer buzzes. This is the area where you lost your connection. You can look inside the shirt to see if you can spot the error.

While knowing the exact place where you lost the connection can help you learn from your mistakes, I find that it is best to just completely re-sew that whole line between the area you messed up if you messed up somewhere midway between your parts. Using our example again of the faulty power connection of the Flora to the first Neopixel, what you would do in this case is just re-sew from the Flora's power to the Neopixel's power. For this I get out a seam ripper and carefully use it to cut the thread and pull it out. I however do not cut the thread that is tied down to the openings of the Flora and Neopixel power areas. This thread is still good to keep there. Then you just have to re-sew that line from one point to the other without any knots before the next point.

Step 7: Coding

The code I have given you is a code from an Adafruit wearable project that I copied and then altered to fit my taste.

If you are happy with the code I have provided you can skip this step, but keep in mind that in the future you may want to alter the code for any kind of themed party such as a Saint Patrick's Day party in which you could code your shirt to only shine in different shades of green. Or you may not want your shirt to be so distracting so you might want to learn how to make it less motion sensitive.

Things that You can (easily) Alter in the Code

  • Light color
  • Motion sensitivity
  • Light flicker speed
  • Number of lights that come on at a time

You could certainly do more complex coding than this, but these are just the simple areas of code that I have played around with for my project. These areas had enough customization to satisfy me and get the effect I was hoping for without having to do extensive, brain melting coding.

Read the Coding Notes

  • Refer to the code I have given you. You will see that some areas in the code have notes. Notes are created by beginning with // to tell the program not to include the following in the real code.
  • Read over these notes to get an idea of what the different areas in the code will do.

Color!

Changing the colors in the code is probably the funnest part. The color list is at the top of the code and by each set of numbers in brackets I have written in the notes what color it makes. You can type in random numbers if you like, but the easiest thing to do is to image search 'RGB Color Codes'. You can cut out colors in the code entirely or add more. It is all up to you. Just make sure you follow the formatting.

Other than changing the color, the other areas are pretty self explanatory in the code notes.

* Tips *

  • When adding a new color to the list, do make a note in the code saying what color it is that you added. This just helps you if you want to remove a certain color, etc.
  • Don't forget to stop and re-upload your code to see if your alterations are doing what you want them to.
  • Remember that the last code you upload to your Flora is the one that it will play when hooked up again. So if you plug in your Flora and you are wondering why it isn't playing the right code, you probably forgot to upload the new code you made.

Step 8: Adding More Fabric for a Unique Look

* You can skip this step if you like being able to see all of the tech stuff sewn onto your shirt.

I wanted to make my shirt a little more mysterious as to what is causing it to light up as well as adding another visual element so I decided to sew on sheer black fabric over the front.

Sewing On The Extra Fabric

For this I used the same 'dotted line' stitching we used for sewing the LEDs.

  • Taking the fabric I folded the edges where I would be sewing it down to give it nice clean looking edges before I sewed it to the shirt.
  • I then sewed one side of the fabric to one shoulder, and then the other side I sewed to the other shoulder.
  • At this point the neckline is completely covered with the sheer fabric. Now you will cut the fabric off that is over the open area, leaving a bit of extra fabric to be tucked under and sewn to the shirt's neckline. This way you will keep the fabric looking clean by tucking in the extra fabric behind the neckline.

Once you have the sheer fabric sewn to the shoulders, cut out from around the neck opening, and sewn down to the neckline you could stop here. If your fabric is a little long you could trim off the extra fabric and also be done. While the solid sheet of sheer fabric over the shirt looked fine, I wanted it to be more interesting than that so I decided to cut it in an interesting way.

Sketching Out Designs

Sometimes a design looks good in your head, and then doesn't look so good in reality. You need to sketch out some designs for your fabric before just cutting it and hoping for the best. Come up with a few designs, I would say at least 3, and then wait until the next day to choose the winning design. I find that when I see my designs the next day I have an easier time picking out the best one than I do the day I create them.

Making The Design Form

Once you have your final design picked out you need to make a paper form for it. The form will be a guide for you when you cut the fabric to your desired design. You can use a big sheet of paper, or tape regular sizes of paper together for your form.

  • Measure out the width of your fabric and make your form is that same width.
  • If you are making your design the same on the left as it is on the right side, fold the paper in half and then start drawing the design of one side on one side of the folded paper.
  • Once you are done drawing your design, leave the paper folded and cut around the design you have made. This will insure that you make an exact copy of the design on the other side. If you are not making your design a mirror image don't worry about folding the paper but you do still need to cut out your form.

Pinning The Form to the Fabric

Now that your form is complete, you need to pin it to the fabric. It may take a while to pin it all down, but it will be very helpful in making sure you cut the fabric properly. I put more pins in more tricky areas such as points and curves in my design.

Cutting Out Your Design

You can now cut out the fabric by following the form as your guideline for where to cut. Be careful when cutting that you do not accidentally cut your shirt, or even worse cut one of your conductive thread connections. Once you have finished cutting, you can un-pin the form from the fabric and now you can see your finished design!

Step 9: You Are Done!

Time to have fun thinking of different events to wear your light up shirt to!

Some ideas are:

  • Last day of school
  • Concert
  • Halloween
  • The Fair

Don't forget to show us photos of what you created from following this instructable!

Thanks for your interest! :)

<p>This is lovely. I don't usually like the look of leds that aren't diffused, but the way these twinkle and sparkle is a really nice effect. :)</p>
<p>Nice :D</p>
<p>I love this and could see athletic clothing companies incorporating it into clothing for safety (instead of reflectors)! Very inventive! Can't wait to see what you come up with next!</p>

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