A soft button is or can be an interactive element  used in clothing.
It can be used to switch something on. This something can be a gadget or a LED or an action of an ARDUINO. It is called soft because it is made of cloth or other pliable materials in contrast to a hard button or switch, for example a light switch.

Because you design the soft button yourself it can take all kind of shapes, from simple, like a circle or a square to imaginative like images of animals.

You can also make soft buttons in existing things, like a soft button in a pocket in your trousers, or inserting it into cushions.

You can make a soft button work when pushed slightly or only when really wrinched.

This instructable tells you how to make a button, which is on when you press, off when you do not . A button is not a swicth. A switch, having two states, on or off, can be made also, but needs more design in the sewing of the cloth, for instance with a flap and a few magnets.

Eventually when using a microcontroller, for instance an ARDUINO,  you can make a button which serves a s a switch, but this instructable focusses first on the principle and making of the simple soft button.

This instructable will also give experiences and design tips. Of course you should experiment yourself. The soft button is an excellent field for experimenting and doing it yourself.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

For a simple soft button you need at least:

aluminium foil (from the supermarket)
some electrical wires,
soft material like foam, foam rubber, polystyreen
duct tape
cloth to cover your button

scissors or a cutter
sewing thread
no soldering yet!

more advanced, and more expensive:
you can replace the aluminium by conductive aluminum laminated fabric, see plugandwear.com
or by velostat
or by conductive thread,
you can replace the simple electric wire by a thinner wire, I prefer the thinnest possible in clothing


I really like the instructable. I made this button for a project. I had to tape the inside of the foil side to keep it from shorting out after the layers were together. I made a tape mask around most of the foil, except for the parts that would touch when squeezed. After that, it worked fine.
Just what I was looking for. Simple and to the point. Many thanks!

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