Instructables

Make your own EL wire at home

Featured
I loved all the Instructables entered in the EL wire contest, but since I really like to explore the science and engineering behind such beautiful creations, I thought I'd share how I made my own electroluminescent wire at home. You may have already seen some of my other hacks, like how I made transistors in my home chip fab, but I promise this will be much easier, and require no special equipment. If there is enough interest, I'll follow up with a video on building your own EL wire power supply. 

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
Blazing_Joe4 months ago
Is it possible to to this on an iron bar? Instead of wires.
ManifoldSky5 months ago
I would expect the wire to have higher luminescence if you first coated the core with phosphor, let it dry, THEN wrapped the ground wire, thus placing the phosphor as part of the dielectric.
btadili2 years ago
its great , better to be inside fluo tube,will be great for writing :)
This seems to be very high voltage...not my style...
Does it have to be AC? I have a small circuit that produces around 300 volts DC. would that work to power it?
i mean no.
wrecche -max-2 years ago
:) Funniest comment ever.

Yes.

*12 hours later*

I mean, No.

ROFL.
-max- wrecche2 years ago
haha, ok... now i confused myself... NO, dc wont work. YES, it needs to be AC. okay...
Yes. Yoe can think of EL as a capacitor, and will only flick on for half a second if powered by DC.
-max-2 years ago
to drive the EL wire, you need a source of about 300V of high frequency AC.
120 volts at 1000Hz works just fine.
Da7mi2 years ago
Where can i buy this phosphorus from?
joypad Da7mi2 years ago
get enough pee you can get it from there lol.
sweeety joypad2 years ago
challenge accepted.
joypad sweeety2 years ago
lol
iongets Da7mi2 years ago
I thought fluorescent paint contained phosphor and will fluoresce , so why can't it be used here ? granted the paint is stimulated by ultraviolet light, but would it matter how it was stimulated.
-max- Da7mi2 years ago
Lowes, lighting section, flourescent tubes
Da7mi -max-2 years ago
But then, how can i choose colors?
-max- Da7mi2 years ago
i guess you dont. if you can find color tubes, your ether in luck, or the glass is tinted for the color
Da7mi -max-2 years ago
this does not seem to be the same material this chick is using. because her's is colored and hers is in liquid form while the inside of the tubes is powder. Maybe there is another source?
Rhamkota3 years ago
It looks kind of fake because when you put you hand over the wire you can still see the glow.
(removed by author or community request)
I doubt it, she's a well known engineer, and I checked and what she says about EL wire is completely correct.
You are correct.
ITS REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She put her hand behind the wire ...
Have you ever squinted your eyes looking at a lamp-post? All the light seems to spike out, if you keep your eyes like that, and put your hand in front of your face, a bit away from your face, the light still seems to overlap your hand even though your hand is in front of you.
I'm not saying its fake i'm just saying it looks fake.
you do realize the wire isnt laying on the table, it's standing erect and her hand actually goes under or behind the wire. you just cant tell very well from the video.
emcelhannon3 years ago
You're very charming in the video, but I'll still look forward to the steps laid out in still shots and paragraphs. As far as probing for interest in building  power supplies, consider me rivited.
I cracked open some crts for the phosphors on the screen.  I think I might try spraying, dipping or rolling the wire with adhesives, and then sprinkling it with the phosophor powder.   Does anybody see problems that might make this a waste of time? Barring scoldings or warnings about the obvious dangers of broken glass and electricity)
My chemist friend told me the lead and/or phosphors in a CRT will cause liver damage and health problems. Does anyone know more about this?
-max- snotty2 years ago
i know phosphor isnt the best for the body, nor is mercury.
zack2472 years ago
wow, that is REALLY cool.
once i figure out where i can locally get the phosphor im gonna make some of this, EL wire can get expensive when you buy it, hopefully this would end up being cheaper.

do you just dip the wires in the phosphor or do you mix the phosphor with something and paint it on?
-max- zack2472 years ago
i think you can get phosper from fluorescent tubes but it's dangerous
zack247 -max-2 years ago
because of the mercury and the glass, right?
and i think theres a possibly harmful gas in fluorescent tubes as wel...
-max- zack2472 years ago
The mercury. Inside flouescent tubes is a few miligrames of mercury vapor, possibly argon, and a phospher coating inside. You won't get hurt by breaking a tube or 2, but prolonged exposure to mucury is bad.
zack247 -max-2 years ago
how would i get the phosphor coating off once i get the tube apart? a brush?

and is there any way to protect myself from the mercury other than not breaking the tubes?
-max- zack2472 years ago
doing it in a well ventilated area will help, and maybe a gas-mask. although not necessary for that little mercury. and dont cut yourself with the glass.
-max- zack2472 years ago
phosphor can be obtained from florescent lights, "some" neon lights CRT TVs, (the old tube tvs) and some Chinese websites
pkrouse2 years ago
This is exciting! Quick question: how did you stick the phosphors to the wire?
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!