Introduction: LED Belt

Picture of LED Belt

This is an awesome, simple LED belt that almost anyone can make. The only special knowledge is how to solder, but it is simple soldering, and everyone here probably already knows how. If not, there is probably an Instructable for it.


This is the first instructable that I ever posted.  It's crap.  Super crap.  But, I leave it up as a reminder of how not to do things.  :)  A few years later, I realize how naive I was back then.  But I still love that belt.....

Step 1: Get Your Supplies.

Picture of Get Your Supplies.

In order to complete this instructable, you will need:
- A belt, preferrably leather, pleather, or cloth. PLAIN.
- Between 10 and 20 LED lights. I used nineteen.
- Stranded Wire. One wire that is as long as your belt.
- A nine volt Battery.
- A nine volt battery clip. Stole mine from an old smoke alarm.
- Electricians Tape.
- Duct Tape. All hail duct tape.
- Soldering Iron.
- Solder.
- Strong scissors or wire cutters.
- Something to put holes in a belt, such as the awl thing on a leatherman, or just a hammer and a nail.

Step 2: Punch Holes in Your Belt.

Picture of Punch Holes in Your Belt.

In order for the LED's to go through, you need to punch holes through the belt. I used the awl on my leatherman, but a hammer and nail will work just as well, if not better. Depending how many LED lights you have, you will need to space the holes accordingly. You could measure, but i did mine by eye. You want to be at least six inches away from where your belt buckle ends. If you are using cloth, skip to step three.

Step 3: Put LED's Into Holes.

Picture of Put LED's Into Holes.

Pretty self explanitory, but it has a catch. All of the LED's must be aligned the same, meaning all the positive ends must be on one side, and all the negative ends must be on the other. On new LED's, one side is longer than the others, making it easy. But on reused LED's you have to look through the LED, and see which side is bigger, and which is smaller(see pictures). After putting the LED in the hole, fold the wires on the back outward.
If you are using cloth, the wires should go through if you coax them a little. PROBABLY. I HAVEN'T TRIED IT WITH A CLOTH BELT. If not, try punching holes.

Step 4: Get Your Wire Ready.

Picture of Get Your Wire Ready.

After you have put the lights through the holes, you need your wire. Cut one strand of wire that is the length of your LED's. Here's the toughy. You need to strip the wire completely of its plasticky(pvc, maybe?)outer coating. This can be a pain if you are an idiot(such as myself) and do not have a pair of wire strippers, and have to use your teeth. Either way, you will need to take the coating off an inch at a time, since it is almost impossible to take the coating off all at once.

Step 5: Split Your Wires.

Picture of Split Your Wires.

Right now you should have a bunch of tiny wires in front of you. You need to split them into two groups. Half of the wires in one group, the other halves in another group. After this is complete, you need to twist each group so that there are two wires in front of you.

Step 6: Solder Wires to LED's.

Picture of Solder Wires to LED's.

Now you need to solder the wires you just created to the LED's. ALL OF THE POSITIVE SIDES NEED TO BE ATTACHED TO EACH OTHER. SAME GOES FOR THE NEGATIVE ENDS. This needs to go all the way down the belt. It should look like a ladder. Soldering the LEDs together like this gives it a christmas light-like effect, so that when one goes out, all of the rest stay on. Also, if you try to make a single circuit, where positive is attached to negative, with 19 LEDs, you don't have enough power for them all in a single nine volt.

Step 7: Go Back and Check.

If any of your wires happen to be touching each other, you should separate them. TOUCHING WIRES = SUPER UNHAPPY FUN TIME. the device will not work if wires are overlapping.

Step 8: Solder Battery Snap.

Picture of Solder Battery Snap.

Attach the battery snap to the nine volt, and check to see which wire goes with which side(positive or negative). Your belt should light up. If it doesn't, go back and make sure that no wires are touching. Then punch another hole in your belt, which will allow the wires to go through the front to the back. this should be about six inches away from the buckle. If the battery snap wires are too short, extend them. Stick the wires through the belt so that the snap is on the front, and the wires are on the back. Solder the aproppriate ends to the chain of LED's. Tape the Battery on the front so that it reaches the snap.

Step 9: Tape the Back.

In order to let the belt slide with ease, and not catch the wires on your pants, you need to tape the back with duct tape. trim the sides accordingly, so the tape is not seen. This also prevents damage to the back, and wires from touching.

Step 10: Put It On!

Picture of Put It On!

The belt should now be complete.
The snap will act as an on off switch. Sure, you could add an on/off switch if you like.
IMPORTANT: The battery dies within a couple of hours, so i suggest a rechargeable set of batteries. Double A rechargeables are the most common, if you cannot find nine volt rechargeables and three double A's will work, but you would need something like an altoid tin to hold them in. Belt Buckle Maybe? You could also go to, if you didn't know that the site existed.
FYI: if a LED, were to say, snap off, you could easily replace it, but to prevent that from happening, you need to be gentle when putting it through the loops in your pants. It is pretty durable, though, and the LEDs can take a beating before they fall off.



Matthew McDonald (author)2014-11-03

Just a question. You said UNHAPPY FUN TIME. Are you a Markiplite???

Mr_Anderson (author)2013-02-19


crowsfromgod (author)2012-12-28

There is a better way. Using wire strippers, cut the wire's insulation around the circumference in two places, about 1/16" apart. Then take a sharp knife and slice the top of the 1/16" section so that you can remove it from the wire. You now have an exposed 1/16" portion to solder onto, while keeping the rest of the wire insulated.
You will obviously need two lengths of insulated wire in order to make a parallel circuit.

zmanalansan (author)2011-09-27

Are they waterproof? Is it safe to use if you got wet?

Adambowker98 (author)zmanalansan2012-10-16

As long as you heat-shrink or put electrical tape over all the exposed wires and completely seal the back with some duct tape, it should be somewhat waterproof.

Adambowker98 (author)2012-10-14

Why did you remove the casing of the 9V battery?

Mdob (author)2010-12-22

I just made one and it's rather sweet, gonna wear it to TRON: Legacy sometime perhaps. A tip is after you punch the holes jam a hobby knife in the backside and twist it some times so that you can press the LED in from the back, this gets rid of a lot of the touching wire grief and also allows the belt to slide through the belt loops MUCH easier. The LEDs appear not as raised. Thanks for the great 'ible! I may post some pics later.

jillg (author)2009-01-11

im making one now and tells me to use an 18 ohm resistor, is that value low enough that i could go without one?

techman9 (author)jillg2010-05-27

 no you still need it

NiKiToS (author)2010-04-09

Well If you are as crazy as me, you can use a lighter, go outside the house and light one end, the plasticky bit will start dripping which is great fun as well. :)

mhdguy (author)2007-11-11

I went overboard with mine !!!!!

LaxLuvr (author)mhdguy2008-04-28

Does that say "NERD" or "HERO"

Wafflicious (author)LaxLuvr2009-01-20

I think HERD

assassinazz (author)Wafflicious2010-02-21

hahahahahah HERD hahahahhahah

Wafflicious (author)assassinazz2010-03-27


mhdguy (author)LaxLuvr2008-11-29

it says NERD cause i am one and proud of it :P

Jduffy (author)LaxLuvr2008-07-24

Looks more like nerd, because I really don't see a hero making an led belt. Don't you think a hero would use his time for something more helpful to the community, like killing dragons?

Kratos55 (author)mhdguy2009-08-21

hey, I want to make a belt like yours with two rows of blue LEDs. i have a belt with pre-punched 4mm holes ( purchased at target ) and i would like to know if i could solder it led wire to led wire and if a resistor is needed than could i wire it led-resistor-led? if you want to see what i am talking about go to led calculator . net than put the power at 9, voltage drop at 3.5, the mA at 20, and the number of leds. Thanks

mhdguy (author)Kratos552009-09-10

id use pre-made "packs" of 2 LED's in series with a 1/8 watt 100 ohm resister kinda like this : "+9v_+led-_+led_100ohm_-" and than you can put as many of those "packs" together in parallel as you want to

melartweaver (author)mhdguy2009-07-28

I love your NERD belt! I feel so inspired by that!

coolkid109 (author)mhdguy2008-09-02

Awesome belt. Nice job :D

santy22 (author)mhdguy2008-06-30

i think it says hero

hifromshreya (author)mhdguy2008-05-25

Lol! Fun-ny! But good Q!

theRIAA (author)mhdguy2007-11-12

truly awesome

Doctor What (author)mhdguy2007-11-12

awesome!!! it's like an acid trip - belt form.

MattySmith (author)2009-12-19


JAGleason11 (author)2009-08-07

I tried to make this with different LEDs alternating color for my school colors. Old Gold and Blue for WVU but the LEDs wouldn't work I found out that resistors are required if you want to alternate because the current needs to be identical for each LED or it won't work in a parallel circuit. Just FYI

JAGleason11 (author)2009-08-07

I added a small switch so I could turn the lights on and off it is really easy and is also you can use it to impress some one with the "Grand Lighting of your Pants". LOL.

milamber (author)2009-06-25

yo about cleaning slag off soldering iron use emery/sand paper/file or even scrape with a knife or just buy a new tip for like 2 bucks

thoraxe (author)2009-06-13

hey, brilliant idea. place the switch in an altoids tin and use the tin as a belt buckle. that'd be awesome. a duct tape, led, altoids tin belt buckle belt *drool*

lavert31 (author)2009-06-03

hey, do you know the spec of the leds: mcd? angle? Thanks, Etay

bob3lazer (author)2009-01-23

hey were did u get most of this stuff

dudejetfighter (author)bob3lazer2009-05-01

radio shack

Zem (author)2009-04-04

Nice Ible'. If I do add a resistor, do I only add one? Or one at each LED?

Doctor What (author)Zem2009-04-04

According to comments I've recieved, you need a resistor for each LED.

elinventor21 (author)2009-03-29

wouldnt that battery be to much for the leds? i still dont get that if each led can only take about 3v then how can u use a 9v battery is it because they are in series? please respond a.s.a.p.

Doctor What (author)elinventor212009-03-29

It is. This project was done when I was an LED novice. Add resistors to your liking.

Barrettkg (author)2009-02-18

I made one except used duct tape, to make the belt and is powered off of 2 AA batteries. I mounted the battery pack onto the belt buckle which is hardwired into the belt itself. Plus as an added luxury I attached a push button switch which people love .I wear it to school all the time and get awesome comments. Its great when people see it and think its just "another duct tape belt" and you turn the LEDs on right in front of them

coolkid109 (author)2008-09-02

How would i put a message in mine that would be awesome and do I have to use the same color LEDs throughout the whole belt or can I switch it up?

coolkid109 (author)coolkid1092008-09-02

Or does the color matter at all?

Doctor What (author)coolkid1092008-09-02

Color doesn't really matter at all, just worry about resistors. This was an early project, so I was stupid and didn't use resistors. But now, as I look back, I was just lucky that it didn't burn out twenty LEDs.

jillg (author)Doctor What2009-01-11

what value resistor did you use

wax54 (author)2008-12-11

I am going to use this at school it was hard to make but worth it

wax54 (author)2008-12-11

Just heat it up and scrap it on some steel wool

Werecow (author)2008-06-19

Just a note on LED polarity: you can't depend on the lead length to determine which is anode ("positive") or cathode ("negative"), because this does vary by manufacturer. However, the cathode lead is ALWAYS the one nearest the "flat" or notch at the base of the LED.

slithytove2 (author)Werecow2008-10-07

A lot of the LEDs that people have been buying from Radio Shack are actually LED+resistor and are made to run just on a specific voltage (ie: 3v 6v etc). This leads to much confusion about when to use resistors and whatnot or what the "voltage rating" on the LEDs is. *sad fase*

the LEDs i buy (not on purpose, just typical purchases) are automatically 3v maximum, if you put any more to it then it turns bright red and spurts the mysterious blue smoke.. i use 12v resistors out of lack of others, and it works perfect. the resistor has little to do with the LED itself, its what the battery voltage is that you need to worry about; i use the 3v LED, 12v resistor, and 9v battery.. oddly works perfect.

LEDs and resistors do not have a "voltage rating" per se. LEDs have a forward voltage (any voltage less than this will have no effect) they also have a forward current, which determines the brightness (too much current will burn them out. varying the current can damage the LED. its best to stick with the recommended current and use PWM to varry the brightness.) The correct resistance to use is determined by ohm's law (which the LED calculators do for you). LEDs do not have a "maximum voltage." They in fact dont care at all what voltage level is used to power them, so long as the current is correct. Similarily, resistors do not have a voltage rating. They are rated by their resistance, measured in ohms (named after the same guy as the above mentioned law). Resistors have a power rating, generally measured in watts. For teh most common resistors, this is generally 1/8, 1/4, or 1/2 watts.

well you got what i meant lol.. i just didnt go all techie and specific.. i just mentioned what works for me ;-P

nubie (author)2008-11-24

If it is really bad I take a metal file and put a clean tip on it. I find that tinning the tip immediately after filing makes it oxidize less, but this may mean filing a hot iron (or filing it as it warms up). The Rosin Core solder has flux in it, ideally you should clean the tip with flux and wipe on a damp sponge, but I don't have flux and the solder works fine. I wipe my soldering irons on a piece of paper or flick the solder off into the trash to keep them clean as I solder. Your solder may be too thick (if you can manage then it is fine. The thinner solder helps regulate the amount and it melts better with low heat irons. Too much solder will suck all the heat out of a small iron and put too much into the joint, forcing you to use more heat.) (Huh, Oxidize, Rosin and Flux are not in the spell checker on Instructables!! )

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