Introduction - This project is designed for children ideally in a secondary school context to compliment the design and technology curriculum during key stage 3. This project is also a low cost way of showing how e-textiles can be used within schools.
Learn how to - Construct a simple e-textiles circuit using a hand made battery holder and push switch as well as using Kitronik's sewable LEDs and conductive fabric. The purse/wallet can also use knowledge gained from other areas of textiles such as the use of sewing machines and sublimation printing.
Level of difficulty - Beginner
Parts list - in order to make your e-textiles LED purse/wallet you will need the following:
- 2 x A5 sheets of felt
- Small amount of conductive thread (for the battery holder)
- Conductive fabric strips (Iron on - may require Heat'n'Bond)
- Sewable LED light
- 3V coin cell battery
- Zip (for purse/wallet opening)
- Velcro (for purse/wallet opening)
- 100% polyester or other suitable fabric for sublimation printing
- Sublimation printing paper/or iron on transfer paper alternative
- Sewing machine
- Sewing needles
- Fabric scissors
- Fabric marker
- Sublimation printer
Many of the resources required can be purchased from the Kitronik website - www.kitronik.co.uk
Step 1: Circuit Set Up
On a piece of A5 felt mark on how you want the circuit to be set up (the position of the battery holder, switch and sewable LED).
Tip - have the battery holder and switch on the same side so that the sewable LED can be positioned in the centre of one half of your purse/wallet.
Step 2: Mark and Cut Out Shapes
On your other piece of A5 felt mark and cut out the following shapes
Triangle shape with straight top at 6cm
3 Squares 3cm x 3cm, cut a circle in the centre of 2 of these squares
Battery Holder 3cm high, 4cm wide and cut to a shape as shown in the picture ensuring there is enough space for your coin cell battery
Tip - at this stage you may also want to cut out pockets for the inside of your purse/wallet that may be suitable for keeping cards and notes in!
Step 3: Cut Conductive Fabric Strips
Cut out the appropriate lengths of conductive fabric strips for the circuit taking into account the width of the purse/wallet when fully opened (i.e 20cm x 2 and a 5cm strip).
The width of the conductive fabric strips can vary but I would advise cutting them about 1-2cm wide!
Step 4: Iron on Conductive Fabric
Iron on the small piece of conductive fabric in the correct position.
Step 5: Construct the Battery Holder
Construct the battery holder, first iron on one of the 20 cm strips of conductive fabric to the top of the battery holder that you cut out earlier.
Then using your conductive thread sew through the centre of the battery holder numerous times to form a connection from the battery to the top of the battery holder.
Now position the battery holder in the correct place (over the ironed down conductive fabric already on the purse/wallet) and sew into place using the sewing machine ensuring you leave enough room for the coin cell battery.
Tip - Remember to only use normal non conductive thread in the sewing machine!
Step 6: Construct the Push Switch
Construct the push switch using the felt squares that you cut out earlier.
Cut a small straight hole in the square which currently does not have a hole for the final piece of conductive fabric to go through, and then iron on this conductive fabric to both sides of this square of felt.
Now sew together the push switch onto the purse/wallet using a sewing machine and ensuring you have constructed the switch in the correct way as shown in the picture!
Step 7: Iron on the Rest of the Conductive Fabric
Now iron on the rest of the conductive fabric to the purse/wallet but do not iron the conductive fabric to the sides of the purse.
Step 8: Sew on the Sewable LED
Hand sew using conductive thread the sewable LED into the correct position ensuring you have the + and - the correct way around!
Check that the circuit is working properly after completing this stage.
Step 9: Sew Together Purse and Add Sublimation Printed Design and Fastening
Now that you have completed the circuit you can now sew together the purse/wallet and add a fastening to make your purse/wallet secure. You can also add your sublimation printed design to the purse/wallet if you have done this!