Instructables
Picture of Light Up Costume
This brief tutorial will walk you through how to make a light up costume using electroluminescent wire (el wire).  This costume in particular was custom made for DJ performing around the world. I worked closely with the designer and the el wire supplier to produce this piece in about two weeks' time.  With these simple steps, you too can customize your costume with el wire to light up the night!  Built in 2007 (my first el wire project ever!) , it's still in use today.
 
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Step 1: Planning

Since this was my first foray into the world of el wire, I had no supplies in stock, and no idea what exactly I would need.  I did extensive research to determine the most cost-effective way to achieve the design, and decided to go with thatscoolwire.com, whose products were both affordable and well-reviewed.

After securing a supplier, I needed to determine just what and how much el wire I would need.  I went with 4.0mm el wire for the main body and 2.2mm el wire for the glove details, both in 'Power Green'.  You'll find that different suppliers stock different weights and colors of el wire, so it's worth doing the research to find exactly what you need.

This design required too much wire to be lit by a single battery pack that the performer could wear, which meant that I needed to cleverly design a lay out that would neither exceed the capacity of each battery pack, nor be disruptive to the designer's vision or the DJ's performance.

I started by roughly pinning out the design with yarn onto my old beat-up male dress form.  By no means accurate, it was a good way for me to figure out which wires would connect, where to place battery packs, and how many I would need.  Talking with the el wire supplier on the phone about the capacity of the different battery packs apropos the lengths of wire I would need was extremely helpful.




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Kryptonite4 years ago
Whoo! 5* and faved! Amazing, you've outdone yourself you really have.
May I have your contact info willing to pay for one to be made for me
Very cool!!
naught1011 year ago
Nice. How much wire did you use for this suit, approximately? How many battery packs and inverters?
J-Teck2 years ago
What helmet did you use
McNoodle2 years ago
Where did you get the helmet?
I think its just a regular moto-cross helmet.
Win Guy2 years ago
Funny, this costume kinda reminds me of Team iLuminate from America's Got Talent!
Awesome job, scoochmaroo!

Win Guy
McNoodle2 years ago
How many feet of el wire did you get?
i was wondering if you would be able to make me one for my boyfriend he likes the design alot.
what colour top should i put the glow in the dark paint on
black or white
please help me scooch because i ordered gow in the dark paint from amazon but i also found el wire. i can't buy the el wire because i already ordered the paint.
will the paint do the same job as the el wire
:)
scoochmaroo (author)  harry potter rules2 years ago
Glow paint will give you a different effect and will not be as bright. That said, it's what you have, so go with it!
thanks for the reply
is el wire safe
hey scooch
could u use glow in the dark paint
:)
scooch- you should see this:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkbyqo_americas-got-talent-2011-team-iluminate-quarter-finals-performance_shortfilms

seems someone took this costume one step further.

I saw their first performance a while back and new I recognized that idea from somewhere, it wasnt until I stumbled upon this instructable again today that it hit me. EL wire costume+microcontroller+music+choreography= one of the coolest performances i have ever seen.

I think a call to NBC for your cut of the royalties is in order. lol

As for everyone else, this is a video from America's Got Talent of the dance group Team iLUMINATE performing in the quarterfinals showing what can truly be done with this costume.
omg is there a video of this suit dancing? that is so beautiful! i love anything that lights up. :) now, to learn how to make things light up! :D
joehudy3 years ago
a good place to buy el wire is coolneon.com its like a $1.10 a foot
numbuh1323 years ago
If you were to create one of these to sell to someone, how much would you charge?
CrazySheep3 years ago
This is very impressive! :D
Reminds me somewhat of the movie 'TRON'.
Very well done! ^^
I know!
FrozenIce3 years ago
GO DJ! THATS MY DJ! GO DJ.....
aterese3 years ago
could you also use fishing wire to sew with? It would be clear then both in the daylight and dark and extra sturdy...
scoochmaroo (author)  aterese3 years ago
Absolutely! I don't knot fishing wire well, so it wasn't a great option for me. Really, even thread is invisible from the distance of a few feet.
idogis13 years ago
"You will be deleted!!!"
I was thinking it...
enteraction4 years ago
I would suggest a compartment on the back for the battery packs. You could use the same fabric and create a velcro panel to keep them safe.
1of34 years ago
That is excellent work. Did you ever post the video for this anywhere?.
scoochmaroo (author)  1of34 years ago
You know, I did, and I linked it here, and a lot of people didn't like it because it was shaky and a little weird and I think someone took the video from their phone (I wasn't at the event to take the vid). When I get back into town, I can post it on my personal YouTube page and provide a link if you're interested.
Yes please. I would love to see the video. I used EL wire about 10 years ago around the dashboard in my car and never thought of putting it on clothing.
what does "tron" mean?
TRace ON (now I'm showing my age)
Tron is an movie from the 80's they're re-making it too! :D

www.youtube.com/watch <New trailer
Oh :0) thanks for teling me. I had my kids in the '80's and that decade is all a big blur lol ;0)

 
I wasnt even alive in the 80's :p
lol
mg0930mg4 years ago
Very cool effect. I have a few questions, as I want to try this, too, and they will help me.
  • How tall was the model?
  • How much had the final costume cost?
  • How long did the batteries last?
  • Do you have an exact list of what you used?
scoochmaroo (author)  mg0930mg4 years ago
I don't have a list of what I used exactly, as it was 2 years ago.
The model was about 5'10".  They changed the batteries before every performance and swapped those into other devices, just to make sure he was never going on with low power.  I charged $2000 for the costume, which included design consult, and sewing expertise, but I couldn't tell you how much materials might cost if you were starting everything from scratch. 

Call Andy!  He's my go-to man.  If you know what you want to make, you call him and he'll make it happen.  Talk about a time and money saver.  I didn't waste an inch of wire!  http://thatscoolwire.com/  Tell him Sarah sent you. 
Daft Punk paid you $2,000! That's cool. I wish Daft Punk would pay me. :-(
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