Introduction: Sewing Simple Circuits

Picture of Sewing Simple Circuits

This is a set of simple instructions for when introducing soft circuits to kids. By sewing with conductive thread, kids will light up an LED with a button battery.

Step 1: What You Will Need:

Picture of What You Will Need:

Fabric (square or cut out shape; pocket for battery)

Needles (wide eyes for those new to sewing; pre-thread if needed)

LEDs

Conductive thread

Regular thread

Scissors

Pliers

Marker

Step 2: Draw Your Circuit and Pattern

Picture of Draw Your Circuit and Pattern

Before starting on fabric it is always a good idea to try your design on paper and make sure the kids understand that the positive and negative threads can not cross.

Step 3: Cut Fabric, Mark Pocket and LED

Picture of Cut Fabric, Mark Pocket and LED

Cut a pocket square the size of the battery. Cut a larger piece of fabric to sew to - this could be a shape and could be sewn into a pillow, stuffed animal, etc.

Mark on the fabric where the pocket and LED will go to reflect your design.

Step 4: Stitch Conductive Thread on Pocket

Picture of Stitch Conductive Thread on Pocket

On your pocket square sew a few stitches of conductive thread. Keep this needle threaded and put to the side.

Step 5: Stitch Conductive Thread on Fabric

Picture of Stitch Conductive Thread on Fabric

Repeat the previous step but on your fabric square with a new needle and piece of thread.

*It is important that there are 2 strands of conductive thread as one will be the positive and one will be the negative. If you do not use two threads you will not complete the circuit.

Step 6: Stitch Pocket to Fabric

Picture of Stitch Pocket to Fabric

Use the regular thread to attach the pocket to the fabric.

Step 7: Add Your LED

Picture of Add Your LED

Mark the positive side of the LED with a marker. Curl up the ends into loops so you can sew the LED directly to the fabric.

Step 8: Sew Conductive Thread to LED

Picture of Sew Conductive Thread to LED

Start with the thread that is on the top of the pocket. Carefully sew a running stitch from the pocket to the LED. Be sure not to sew the pocket closed. Stitch the LED a few times to ensure a connection. Tie off once this side is sewn.

Repeat using the second thread from the back of the pocket. Again, be sure not to sew the pocket shut. Also be sure the threads do not cross. This will short the circuit.

Step 9: Add Battery

Picture of Add Battery

Your circuit should now be complete! Add your battery and make sure it lines up with the conductive thread on the pockets. Watch the LED light up!

Comments

seamster (author)2014-08-14

Nice project, thanks for sharing!

maura.mckay.7 (author)2014-08-11

This Is great!

1) What kind of battery is that?

2) Can you explain how to do this with multiple LED's still using just one battery?

3) Where did you get your the conductive thread?

sicchio (author)maura.mckay.72014-08-11

Hi!

1) it's a lithium coin battery (CR2023)

2) Just keep sewing the negative side of the first LED to the negative side of the next LED and the same for the positive sides, to daisy chain them and add more

3) You can find conductive thread at Sparkfun, Adafruit or even Amazon

Hope that helps :)

dazzlingdiscoveries (author)2014-07-29

And to turn it off, simply reverse the battery!

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