Light Up Leggings





Introduction: Light Up Leggings

About: Former Instructables employee CHECK OUT MY WORK

Create a light show with these light up LEDs.  Wear them dancing and all eyes in the room will be on you.  Wear them running and drivers will know to get out of the way!

This is super easy to do even if its your first time building a circuit.

I submitted these leggings to the Soft Circuit Contest!  Check out all the awesome projects submitted and submit a project yourself!

Step 1: Materials

1. Leggings
2. Conductive Thread
3. 2 Coin Cell Battery Holders
4. 2 Coin Cell Batteries (3V)
5. 2 220 ohm resistors
6. 12 LEDs
7. Metal Clasp or Snap (not in picture)
8. Needle
9. Cardboard - 5" wide and 9-12" long, cut the edges so they are rounded, this cardboard insert will be used to help you sew

Step 2: The Circuit

Plan out your circuit on paper first.

Each leg is a separate circuit with 6 LEDs.  The LEDs are wired in parallel.  The rest of the circuit is in the back of the leggings.

This circuit can be transfered onto a t-shirt, bracelet, you name it!

Step 3: Prepare LEDs and Resistors

I usually use LED beads but I had some small blue LEDs that I decided to use for this one.

Using a pair of pliers or tweezers curl the ends of the LEDs and resistors so they are easy to sew.

Step 4: Prepare Leggings

Using a pen, mark where you want the LEDs to go while the leggings are on you.

Put the cardboard insert in the leggings where you are sewing so you have a surface to sew on.  If you don't use this you will need to have one arm in the leggings as you are sewing and this will be hard.

Step 5: Sewing the Circuit

Start with the LED closest to the foot of the leggings. Sew the positive end to the leggings. Sew up the leggings attaching only the positive ends of the LEDs.

Use the cardboard insert to help while sewing. When you run the needle in the leggings let it hit the cardboard and bring it back up through the leggings.

Continue sewing around to the back of the leggings.  Connect the thread to the resistor.  Sew the rest of the pieces in place as illustrated in the diagrams.  Leave some thread slack when connecting one of the clasp ends so you can screw them together.

The other end of the clasp will be connect to the (-) end of the LEDs.  Sew back around to the side of the leggings and end at the first LED you sewed on.

Step 6: Light 'em Up

Put in the battery and twist the clasp together!

Its that easy : )

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    These are awesome! Where did you buy these LED lights? I'm having trouble figuring out what kind to use!

    1 reply

    You could use the lights found on christmas ornaments ;)

    How do you wash or clean them?

    you mentioned that you used led beads, where did you get them?

    I'm totally making a few pairs of these to dance the nights away while I'm doing the festival tour this year. Thanks! :]

    Yeah it is a GREAT idea i'd never thought of! much cheaper and easier than an actual switch makes me wonder if a hook and eye could work well on a stretch fabric too!

    I immediately thought of, um, well, a *different* placement for the lights, perhaps for a more 'adult' party or an intimate tête-à-tête. Proper insulation will probably be crucial. ;)

    3 replies

    On the other hand, strategically placed, little electric shocks can be quite good fun ;)
    if you're into that, although reading your comment I'm not particularly worried about offending you anyway

    No offense taken and agreement rendered. It's all about the wattage. :D

    :D it's good to find someone like-minded.
    I normally get odd looks when I make that sort of comment xD

    Yes, this would be pretty awesome on jeans! Nice job!

    Disguising some LEDs among rhinestones on a jean jacket would be awesome and equally nice looking when powered or not!

    They SHOULD be in series. You don't want to put multiple LEDs in parallel on one resistor - you'll find the small manufacturing differences in the LED forward voltages will essentially mean one or two of the LEDs will hog almost all the current and the others will be too dim.

    If you connect them in series, they all share the same current so will all be approximately the same brightness, however you'll have to add up the total forward-voltage, and subtract from the supply voltage (which must be greater) to determine the best value for the current-limiting resistor.

    ... then, if you wish, you can put several of THOSE CHAINS (each with their own resistor) in parallel if you wanted more LEDs.



    1 reply

    Actually, I've done some maths... IF you're running off +3V, you don't have enough voltage to break the forward-voltage of 6 in series. Typical forward-voltage of a red LED is about 1.7V-2V, leaving about 1V from your 3V supply. 1V across a 221ohm resistor gives about 5mA, which is pretty low even for one LED, but even worse divided between 6 in parallel, especially if the one with the lowest forward-voltage steals almost all the current off the others. Really you'd need one resistor per LED, then connect the resistor-LEDs in parallel, like:

    + LED resistor -

    + LED resistor -

    + LED resistor -

    [etc etc]

    Alternatively, find yourself something like a 9V battery, then you could do:

    + LED LED LED resistor -

    + LED LED LED resistor -

    + LED LED LED resistor -

    [etc etc]

    ... with (let me see) (9V-2V-2V-2V)/0.1A = 300ohm resistors

    Looks Great! It would be good for Halloween too.

    Not to be overly critical but if I remember circuits correctly, one of the sketches shows the LEDs in series rather than parallel. Perhaps that was part of the design process.

    2 replies

    I concur. Just to be clear, I attached a diagram of, what I'm guessing, is the way she actually wired each leg. 6 leds are wired in parallel with each other, and that group of 6 is wired in series with a single resistor and a switch.


    Yes, the first one is in series.