Picture of Knit a Working Circuit Board
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For this instructable, I'll demonstrate how to knit circuitry, using a simple LED circuit as an example. The instructions assume you already know how to knit, solder, and wire up LEDs. (If you need to brush up on those skills, there are great tutorials all over the web.)


After discovering e-textiles through websites like Kobakant's How To Get What You Want, I became fascinated with textile methods for electronics, and started experimenting with the circuit possibilities in knitting and knitting machines.

Eventually I developed a method to "print" circuit boards on my knitting machine, with materials that are inexpensive, easily available, and solderable. The method works with both traditional electronic components and with e-textile components. And while I use a knitting machine for rapid production, the materials should work fine for hand knitters.

Disclaimer #1: Wearables made with this method are not intended for rough handling. Prom, yes. Soccer, no.

Disclaimer #2: Solder is toxic. Don't wear the circuit against bare skin. Wash your hands after handling. Wear goggles when working.

Disclaimer #3: Some readers have expressed concern about lead from the solder leaching through fabric. I'm not an expert, but I suspect this would be an issue with wet fabric, not dry fabric. So keep your circuits dry -- avoid rain, spills, and contact with sweat. [Added 7/14/14]



2-3 spools of bus wire (1/4lb size)

4-ply cotton yarn (fingering weight)


one battery with case



Your regular toolkits for knitting and for soldering


Wire Dispensing Rack - A horizontal dowel that can hold the spools of wire. I use a craft paper dispenser. Whatever it is, the dowel should fit through the holes in the wire spools.

Nylon Stocking - a spare you can cut-up. Child-sized fits the wire spools well.

mranderso made it!4 months ago

Just some "sketches" to learn and test out technique. Hopefully more to come.

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jseay (author)  mranderso4 months ago

Aw, sweet!

sghosh219 months ago

Nailed It........!!!!!!!!!

nodcah1 year ago

Woah, grand prize! Great job!! =D

jseay (author)  nodcah1 year ago

Thanks! I'm so completely thrilled about this! Yaaaaaay!!!

nodcah1 year ago

This is awesome!! It looks fantastically nerdy! =D

jseay (author)  nodcah1 year ago

Thanks! I love the idea of knitted circuits as a way to advertise nerd
status. (I've been writing about it on my blog, too.)

Great blog post (or not so great...)! What an interesting coincidence that the Amelia Erhart quote talked about a yellow sundress...! I'm also a female artist (primarily fiber arts) and work in tech. Check out my blog (http://constantsunrise.blogspot.com/). Props and fun instructable!

jseay (author)  haloweenparty100001 year ago

Actually.... it didn't say anything about a yellow sundress. I was dabbling with what I hoped would read as a bit of "magical realism" because it was so improbable.... apparently it didn't work! Perhaps the quote should read "Don't wear yellow sundresses at a Maker Faire" because that would be anachronistic for Amelia Earhart. Or maybe I need to add a footnote.... This is the problem with blogs-- no editors to fix the writing! Love the t-shirt mods, btw. (I turned a Modest Mouse shirt into a tank top once, but it didn't look nearly as good as yours.) :-)

Yeah, I had a feeling that it didn't actually say that. I'd rather believe that it actually did, so I think I'll pretend. ;)

Glad you like my shirts! I'm hoping to get more active with my blog again, so maybe you'll be seeing more posts soon. :)

nodcah jseay1 year ago

Great idea! I just read the story on the link and that stinks... But that only makes it more awesome that you're doing this!

jseay (author)  nodcah1 year ago

Aw, thanks dude! Warm fuzzies!

nodcah jseay1 year ago

Great idea!!

Echucai1 year ago
stanfk541 year ago

I wish i can knit.......

Amazing !!!!!!!!

Drone01 year ago


I think silver paste(or copper paste, little toxic) can replace lead solder.

spease11 year ago

Awesome! You ought to look into the Arduino Lilypad, you would prolly get some neat ideas for it...

jseay (author)  spease11 year ago

The red LED collar pictured at the end uses Arduino-- an ATtiny 85 in a chip socket designed to fit the knitting. :-)

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Great instructable. I'd like to try it. I'm having a hard time figuring out which is the right bus wire from the site you linked to. You mention using 34-36 AWG bus wire, but on the site, even with poring over the wire gauge conversion chart, it's really unclear which products those are. Could you specify which product numbers would fall within those parameters? Thanks!

jseay (author)  kewpiedoll991 year ago

The tin-coated .005 diameter #8871K56 should work. Have fun!

tovey1 year ago

Hi Jesse,

Add more LEDs so that they can be seen on both sides of your wrist, facing front and facing back, and you will have a really good way of letting motorists see you at night while you're walking down the side of the street or crossing the road.

Of course you will need two of these, one on each wrist.


smahbub1 year ago

This is actually really creative idea! wow!Well Done!

Paulbacca1 year ago

That's is great. I don't think I would have the patience to knit a circuit. I think I'll stick to drawing and painting my circuits. Well done!

rothmobot1 year ago


jseay (author)  rothmobot1 year ago

Thanks, Patrick!

Being a fan of both crocheting and DIY projects, this really stands out to me. I still hand stitch my projects, but this could be something new to connect my two pastimes
jseay (author)  TexanPirate1 year ago

Crochet, awesome -- that's a great idea! I would love to see what you could do with a crocheted circuit -- please do!