My idea was to make a jacket which is illuminated by LED`s. Therefore i searched for an old, thin and solid jacket with as much as possible pockets. I found one in my wardrobe. I turned the jacket around so the pockets were on the inside. This was necessary because later on the pockets were used for the batteries. I wanted to avoid that the energy of the light was absorbed by the dark textile of the jacket so i took a thin, reflecting sleeping-pad, laminated with aluminium and sewed it to the jacket. For the next step, i used 27 light strings, each with 20 LED`s, so 540LED`s
had to be distributed on the jacket. The color i choosed was aqua-blue with white. Each light string runs with 2 AA batteries, so at first i putted the battery holders to the inside of the pockets and then fastend the LED`s on the sleeping-pad in a fairly evently division by using tape. As i wanted the look of the jacket to be a little more decent, i had to find a way to diffuse the bright light points of the LED`s. Therefore i took a cottonwool-pad which was thin enough to transmit most of the light to the outside but was also thick enough to diffuse the light waves. As the cottonwool is not very robust i decided to cover the whole jacket with a transparent plastic foil.Materials
- Aluminium laminated sleeping-pad
- LED´s (11 x 20 aqua-blue + 16 x 20 aqua-blue-white)
- Batteries 54 x AA 1,5V
- Cottonwool ~2 m2
- Plastic foil ~2 m2
- Spray adhesive
- Transparent spray paint
- Old newspaper
- Sewing machine
- Heat gun
Step 1: Sewing
At first i thought about using aluminium foil to produce a reflecting surface. But then, i decided to use a more solid material like the sleeping pad because later on the LEDs will be fixed on that surface. Using aluminium foil would lead to a surface which tears very quickly.
As you can see, there are some parts which are not covered with the sleeping pad. Especially at the places where the movement of the joints compress and strech the textile of the jacket, i choosed to work without the sleeping pad. Most of the pieces were sewed to the jacket with a sewing machine. Only the upper lows were sewed with an ordinary needle, the sewing machine wasn´t big enough for these parts.
Step 2: Fix the LEDs
After most of the jacket was covered with the reflecting aluminium layer, i started with fixing the LEDs to the jacket. Therfore i took alltogether 27 light-strings, each with 20 LEDs (540 LEDs), and distributed them in an nearly evenly way on the jacket. I choosed to use tape to fix the LEDs. The connection between the tape and the aluminium is strong enough for these needs, it stays flexible and what is most important, it´s the fastest way to put every LED to its place.
Step 3: Fix the Cottonwool
In the next step i started with fastening the cottonwool. As the cottonwool is very light and thin i only had to apply a little bit spray adhesive to the cottonwool. On this material the adhesive evaporates very fast so i only had to press the cottonwool mat for a few seconds to the surface of the jacket, after that it was immediatelly fixed. This is the easiest step of this instructable because the cottonwool is very easy to handle, i think after about 30 minutes you should be ready with this step.
Step 4: Cottonwool
Here you can see the whole jacket covered with the cottonwool-mat. It´s not perfect but good enough for our needs because the main task of the cottonwool-mat is to diffuse the light of the LEDs.
Step 5: Plastic-foil
As the cottonwool is very susceptible under mechanical stress, i decided to cover the whole jacket with another layer. Therfore i took a thin and transparent plastic-foil and cutted it into pieces. After that i placed the pieces on the surface of the jacket and welded all together with a heat gun. As the thin thermoplastic foil melts very fast and what is much more important, as we used highly flammable spray adhesive before, it is very important, not to aim on one point for more then a few seconds!!!
Step 6: Color Finish
After melting the plastic foil to the jacket it looked like a semi-finished sealed sandwich. I choosed to finish the optic of the jacket by spraying a blue transparent spray to the surface. In this picture it doesn´t look that nice but in the twilight it makes a nice effect.
Here you can see the picture of the intro, shot with flashlight.