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Make an LED holiday tie for that special man in your life this Christmas.  It is easy to create fun light patterns using Aniomagic's Sparkle Board even if you don't have any previous knowledge of circuitry or programming.  This is a great project to do with your kids to teach them a bit about electronics.

Check out these other Instructables that use the Sparkle Board:
Sparkle TuTu by Lynne Bruning
Programmable Light Up Fairy Wings by the_gella

Step 1: Materials

  • Conductive Thread - you can purchase this from Sparkfun
  • Sparkle Board - from Aniomagic
  • Sparkle LEDs - I used 10, 4 white, 3 red, and 3 green.  Don't forget the sparkle board has an LED on it, so in total I have 11 lights on my tie.
  • Battery Holder - I purchased mine from Sparkfun.  Aniomagic has a battery holder with a built in switch but they were out of stock.  I didn't include a switch in my circuit so to turn the tie on and off I just take the battery out of the holder.
  • 2032 Coin Cell Battery 3V - can purchase from Sparkfun

Step 2: Getting to Know Your Sparkle Board

The sparkle board is a fun and easy way to implement your soft circuit projects!  It is extremely easy to use even if you don't have any circuitry or programming skills.

The Board
- Connect the positive terminal to the positive terminal on the battery pack, and connect the negative terminal to the negative terminal on the battery pack.   
- Connect positive/negative leads on the board to the positive/negative leads on the LEDs

Step 3: LED Tie Circuit

I sewed 10 sparkle LEDs to the Sparkle Board.  I only connected them to one side of the sparkle board to make it easier to program my desired LED patterned.

Step 4: Sew Battery Holder and Sparkle Board

Use the conductive thread to sew the sparkle board to the power source and tie.  Follow this order for sewing your components to the tie for easiest results.
  • Sew the positive terminal of the power source to the back side of the tie with conductive thread.
  • Using that same thread sew the positive terminal of the sparkle board to the front side of the tie.  Knot the thread a couple times and cut it.  The sparkle board and the power source should be back to back with positive and negative terminals matching up.
  • Sew the negative terminal of the power source to the back side of the tie with a new piece of conductive thread.
  • Using that same thread sew the negative terminal of the sparkle board to the front side of the tie.  Knot the thread a couple times and cut it.

Step 5: Sew LEDs

Use Lynne Bruning's tutorial on How to Sew Aniomagic's LED Rhinestones.  The same technique is used when sewing the LED boards to fabric.

Sew the positive trace:
  • Sew the positive lead on the sparkle board to the tie and continue to sew the positive leads on the LEDs to the tie.  I spaced the LED's about 3cm apart.  
  • Since the ties have a couple layers of fabric I hid all of my traces on the back side of the tie so you can't see the thread on the front.
  • When you get to the last LED knot the thread a couple times and cut it.
Do the same thing for the negative trace.

Step 6: Program

The sparkle board is really easy to program.  Follow this link to the program page on Aniomagic's site to program a light pattern in your sparkle board.  

Use this really intuitive interface to write your program.  To upload the light pattern into your board just hold the sparkle board up to the sparkle board on the screen and let it download. 
I can't believe that you program it by holding it up to your monitor, awesome!
Yep, I had a PDA that was updated the same way. The program would just flash a sequence of lines up and down the screen for about 10 seconds and my PDA was completely up-to-date. Only worked with CRTs :(
As this Sartorial Faux Pas has been plaguing men's fashion ever since four misbehaved school boys removed their hatbands and tied them around their necks I love to see these humble send-ups. Nicely done.
I made a very similar tie about a year ago for my neon-themed homecoming dance. Except, I didn't take the time to get good components and had a bundle of wires routed through the shirt and tie to the controls in my pocket. Nice work!
coolest tie ever!!!...any sound on it in an advanced version?
Cool tie. In my e-mail, they called it a &quot;Disco Tie.&quot; <br>Holiday Ties sounds better, since there are <br>persistent rumors that disco is deceased. :) <br>Happy Holidays!
Very good <br>Thank you
This is so cool! The first datalink watches downloaded like this....Thanks!! Awesome!

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Bio: Former Instructables employee CHECK OUT MY WORK www.carleyjacobson.com
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