I was looking for something that I could wear to a festival of light parade around Christmas - So I created this light up scarf! It was perfect that night to keep away the chill, and also works as a perfect winter night-biking visibility accessory.
Step 1: Light Up Scarf: Gather Your Materials & Tools
- Fleece - about 4 feet by 13in
- Ribbon Wire
- 24 LEDs (3mm)
- I used white, but you can of course use any color you like
- 3V Battery Holder with switch
- I used this one, but any 3V battery pack with a switch will work.
- Sparkly trim (optional)3V Battery
- Hot Glue Gun (and hot glue)
- Fabric scissors
- Wire Snippers
- Wire Strippers
- Needle Nosed Pliers
- Soldering iron (and solder)
Step 2: Cut Fabric
Cut the piece of fleece to what ever size you find comfortable as a scarf plus a few inches at either end. - I used the dimensions 4ft x 13in to work well for me
Step 3: Place and Solder Leds
At the end of the scarf (the short side) measure out the space between the LEDs using the ruler, place 12 of the LEDs 1 inch apart, starting .5 an inch away from one side and arriving 1.5 inches before the other. As you're placing them, make sure all the positives are on one side and all the negatives are on the other, this will prevent you from having to cross your wires over while you solder.
Using ribbon wire, soldering iron, and solder, solder the LEDs together in parallel. Start soldering on the side of the scarf with the smaller margin (the side with a .5in margin, not the 1.5 in margin). The technique I have found that works best is by stripping part of the ribbon wire to expose about 1/8 in of wire, and then wrapping that bit around the appropriate leg of the LED. If you do this, be sure to move all of the plastic covering as far down the wire as possible, otherwise the plastic with bunch up, and you'll try to pull too hard, which will break the wire.
When you are soldering, make sure that there is enough ribbon wire to reach to the other short end of the scarf, plus a little extra. If you've already soldered, and don't have that much, simply solder on more.
I left all the LED legs to the end to be clipped, but you can also clip as you go if you choose. Either way, you should end up with two clean lines of wire and a string of LEDs that lights up (make sure you test that they all work!).
Step 4: Hot Glue!
Cover all the LEDs substantially in hot glue (to protect the soldered joints and LEDs from breaking) and fold the hem of the end of the scarf over the hot glued area. The hot glue dries very quickly, so I don't have a photo of it covered in hot glue, but hopefully you get the idea. (:
Step 5: Cover Ribbon Wire in Scarf Hem
On the side with the larger margin (the 1.5in margin side), fold the hem of the scarf over the ribbon wire and glue into place with hot glue so that ribbon wire is in a tube you are creating with the fabric.
Once you reach the other end, repeat step 2 on the other side to place and solder the LEDs.
Step 6: Solder Battery Pack and Cover
Once you have finished soldering the LEDs on the second side, solder the positive line to the positive hole on the battery pack, and the negative line to the negative battery pack. Put the battery in the holder, and switch it on, and you're done!
[Optional] Cut a small square piece from the extra fabric, enough to cover the battery pack, make a small slit in it so the battery can be changed (you should still be able to use the switch without cutting a hold for it, but I would advise marking its location with permanent or fabric marker if you're giving this as a gift), hot glue it on and you're good to go!