Step 2: Web Controlled LED Matrix

Learn how to hand sew an LED matrix and control it remotely from a webpage. It consists of 36 LEDs and uses the MAX7219 LED driver chip. The LED matrix makes up the screen of a retro T.V. embroidery design.

The Edison acts as a server which hosts a simple HTML page that has 36 buttons, corresponding to each LED. When a buttons is clicked, it's LED mate will turn on. Hit the Reset button on the page to turn all LEDs off. This allows you to draw whatever design you like. I didn't get to it, but I think a white noise button would be pretty cool.

This is a great project for getting started with socket.io and click events used to control hardware. As well as getting comfortable sewing with conductive thread and controlling LED matrices. This one may look a little tedious, but I promise it's quicker than it seems. If you really like meditative hand sewing and are decent at it, I encourage to go even bigger with the matrix.


[1] 7" Wooden embroidery hoop

[1] MAX7219 LED display driver

[1] Intel Edison : Mini or Arduino breakout

[12] Crimp pin pairs : male and female

[1] Bobbin of conductive thread

[5] Stranded jumper wires

[1] 9 volt battery

[1] 9 volt battery snap

[1] Skein of embroidery floss (color A) : screen, antenna and legs.

[1] Skein of embroidery floss (color B) : T.V. body and dials.

[18" x 18"] Cotton muslin or other medium-weight fabric to embroider on. It should be a med-high thread count, not the cheap, mesh-like variety.

[5" x 5"] White cotton fabric

[5" x 5"] Batting

[7" x 7"] Carbon tracing for fabric

[7"] White sticky-back velcro

[4" x 4"] Craft felt

[18"] small diameter heat shrink tube

[40] 3mm LEDs : 36 for matrix + 4 extra

[1] Flex Perma-Proto board (or any perforated board with printed traces)

[12"] 10+ conductor ribbon cable

Fabric glue

Masking Tape



Embroidery needle



Needle nose pliers : preferably round


Soldering Iron


<p>gosh this is so cute, could literally make the ilomilo kafka's</p>
<p>Wow, I can't believe I read the whole thing! Def involved, but the TV is such a cool idea, and I like how you got the LEDs' legs curled to fit into a matrix square!</p>
<p>ಠ_ಠ</p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻</strong></p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;"><br></strong></p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">:D</strong></p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;"><br></strong></p>
Table flip! One of my favorites :)
<p>Textile texting is a great idea. I want to communicate only in emoticons</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Specializing in sewing, soldering and snacking. More stuff I do... I teach an interactive fashion and textile class called Wearable and Soft Interactions at California ... More »
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