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For my children and technology class, we were challenged to make a product using a Lilypad Arduino.
I am currently obsessed with the movie Frozen, so I decided to create something using one of the most iconic characters of the movie, Olaf.
I used a blank, reusable grocery bag and created a picture of Olaf with led lights and music that plays the most popular line of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman."

I have attached a video of the bag in action below as well!

Step 1: Materials

Crafting Materials:

  • Bag (I used a reusable grocery bag I already owned but any bag will do)
  • White felt
  • Orange felt
  • Brown felt
  • Black felt
  • Felt snowflakes
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Thread (any color)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Extra hot glue sticks


Electronics Materials:

Step 2: Planning

Sketch Craft:
I planned to create Olaf surrounded by twinkling/flashing snowflakes. I also planned where all the electronic attachments for the LilyPad Arduino hardware. (First Picture)

Sketch Circuit:
I sketched how I was going to sew the pieces of my LilyPad and attach them via conductive thread. The point of the sketch is to ensure no "wires" (stitches) are crossed, because then the final product won't work. This is on a piece of fabric separate from the bag, so none of the electronics are exposed. (Second Picture)

Step 3: Create Olaf

1. Print the attached picture of Olaf (also available here).
2. Cut out the individual pieces necessary to create Olaf out.
3. Trace the pieces onto the appropriate colors of felt (white for body, brown for arms/hair, orange for nose and black for eyes/mouth/coal).
4. Hot glue them onto the bag to create Olaf.

Step 4: Sewing the Circuit

1. Using the diagram from step two, lay out the LEDs, button, buzzer, and LilyPad board on the piece of fabric that will be the backing to your project.
(I used a single stitch of regular thread to hold each in place before I used the conductive thread to attach everything securely and ensure the circuit would work. You definitely don't have to do this, but I wanted to make sure everything was laid out properly)
2. Begin sewing the conductive thread from the correct location on the LilyPad board to the corresponding pin. Wrap enough thread around the connection sites to ensure that it will conduct electricity.
3. After all of the positive connections are sewn, go back and sew the ground to each of the pins from the "-" on the LilyPad board.

Step 5: Programming

In the movie "Frozen," there are several jokes about Olaf's carrot nose, including when it is shoved into his head (since it's made of snow). I wanted to play on this, so I came up with the idea to have a button in his nose that would make the bag play music when pressed. Naturally, I wanted it to play the title line from "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" I also wanted the snowflakes to light up and "twinkle."

I have coded in the past, so I am familiar with the process, however I had never used the specific programming language "C" that is required. There are also so many great examples of code available online. I picked through several and found pieces that I liked and incorporated into my code. I have attached my code and hopefully labeled it so it is understandable. It is a fairly straightforward and simple code.

Step 6: Upload the Code

Now that you've written your code, attach the battery to the LilyPad board so it can charge when you are attached to your computer. Using the FTDI breakout board, connect your LilyPad board to your computer via the mini USB cord. There will be an orange light when the battery is charging, so you will know the connection is working.
Import (or copy and paste) your code into the Arduino IDE and upload the code to your board. It should work!

Step 7: Adding Snowflakes

The felt snowflakes I used were adhesive, so all I had to do was peel and stick to the corresponding points on my bag in comparison to my diagram. The LEDs were bright enough to shine through the layers, so it wasn't an issue. If you were using other snowflakes, simply hot glue them onto the bag. Viola! You're done!

I'm totally obsessed with Frozen too!!! Jinx! Jinx again !! Our mental synchronization can have but one explanation !!!!
<p>This is so cute!</p>

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