Sparkle* TuTu




Posted in CraftFashion

Introduction: Sparkle* TuTu

So you didn't win this Sparkle TuTu given away by Gala Darling?
Dry your eyes, show your radical self-reliance and make one!

to keep up to date on all my giveaways, classes, lectures, uStreams and HowTos please follow my FaceBook Page.

Step 1: Supplies

sewing machine
Sparkle from Aniomagic
LED sequins from Aniomagic
thread to match skirt fabric
needle for hand sewing
6 ply conductive thread
4 ply conductive thread
coin cell battery
coin cell battery holder
fray check

Step 2: Meet Sparkle!

Sparkle is a new blink and bling board from Aniomagic.
Connect to a 3V power source and the surface mount LED on the Sparkle board will blink and bling.
Connect LEDs to the Sparkle board and they too will blink and bling.
It has three different blink patterns programed into the board. Depending upon how you sew the LED sequins to the board you will have a different blink pattern.

For detailed information on Sparkle connections please see Aniomagic.


Step 3: Design Your Circuit

Using paper and pen design your circuit.
I have uploaded a hi-res image of my schematic to my flickr account for you to study. 

Please note:  The positive and negative traces should never ever ever touch.

Step 4: Sew the Positive and Negative Traces

On the outside of the skirt following the hemline machine sew a zig zag stitch over the 6 ply conductive thread.
One positive trace.
One negative trace.
Sew parallel lines close enough to connect your LED sequins but, do not let the two traces touch or overlap.

Using a multimeter test for short circuits and resistance.

Once you are confident that the traces are sewn in the correct locations and have passed the multimeter test use the satin stitch sew over the conductive thread again.  This is not necessary however it serves as a decorative element as well as protecting the conductive thread from the elements and possible sort circuits.

Step 5: Sew the Positive Terminals

thread a hand sewing needle with 4 ply thread.
you can also use 2 ply, however these images demonstrate with 4 ply

sew the positive terminal of the battery holder to the inside of the skirt fabric.
pull needle and thread to the outside of the skirt and sew the positive terminal of the Sparkle board to the skirt.

pull the needle and thread to the inside of the skirt, tie a knot and cut the needle free.

Step 6: Sew the Negative Terminals

With a hand sewing needle and 4 ply conductive thread.

sew the negative terminal of the battery holder to the inside of the skirt fabric.
pull needle and thread to the outside of the skirt and sew the negative terminal of the Sparkle board to the skirt.

pull the needle and thread to the inside of the skirt, tie a knot and cut the needle free.

Step 7: Test for Short Circuits

Using your multimeter test for possible short circuits between the positive and negative terminals on the battery holder or the Sparkle board.

Please note that the metal panel on the battery holder conducts a positive charge so be sure you do not have any loose threads touching this metal or you will have a short circuit.

Step 8: Insert Battery

Slide the 3V coin cell battery into the holder positive side up so it is full contact with the positive metal connection point.

The LED on the surface of Sparkle board should BLINK!

Yes, this is a groovy Pavlovian moment.... now take the battery out and place it to the side so you can finish sewing. <sigh>

Step 9: Sew Positive Trace to Sparkle LED Positive

Using 4 ply conductive thread and a hand sewing needle sew into the positive trace.
Make sure the 4ply is in full contact with the 6 ply thread encased in the satin stitch.

Sew into one of the the positive terminals of the Sparkle* board. - this is the hole closest to the positive terminal for the battery attachment.
loop the conductive thread 3 times thru the terminal hole and then sew the tread back into the positive trace burying the tale ends of your conductive thread then cut the needle free.

Step 10: Test the Positive Connections

Test for any possible short circuits between conductive thread and terminal connections.
Test for resistance from the positive LED Sparkle terminal to the beginning as well as the end of the positive trace.

The resistance was 2.6 ohms from positive LED terminal on Sparkle to the beginning of the 6 ply positive trace
In this example the positive trace is 20 feet long and the resistance was 17.5 ohms.

Step 11: Sew Negative Trace to Sparkle LED Negative

Sew 4 ply thread into the negative trace making sure to have full contact between the 4 ply and the 6 ply.

Sew into the negative LED terminal on the Sparkle board.
Loop the tread 3 times thru the negative terminal.
Follow the negative thread back to the 6 ply trace encased in the satin stitch.
Bury the thread tails into the satin stitch again making contact with the 6 ply thread.

Step 12: Test the Negative Connections

Test for any possible short circuits with all other conductive thread and terminal connections.
Test for resistance from the negative LED terminal to the beginning as well as the end of the negative trace.

In this example the negative trace is 20 feet long and the resistance was 17.4 ohms.

Step 13: Sew LED Sequins

Using the conductive thread and a hand sewing needle attach the Aniomagic sequins to the positive and negative traces.

begin by burying the thread tails in the trace making full contact with the 6 ply conductive thread.
sew to either the positive or negative terminal on the LED sequin by bringing the needle and thread thru the sequin bead 3 times.
bury conductive thread tails in the trace.
clip thread.

repeat for the corresponding terminal and trace.

test for short circuits.

Indulge your Pavlovian needs and slide the battery into the power source and see if the LED blinks and blings.....

Alternate the positive and negative sequin orientation to allow the multiple blinking patterns to be activated.  See Aniomagic's website for details.

Step 14: Don't Forget To:

do a photo shoot!
post the pics!
go clubbing.
have a cocktail.
sit in the dark and enjoy the blink and bling fun!

A great big THANK YOU to
photographer: Dan Jahn
Model: Sharla
MUA/Hair: Julie



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    Please be positive and constructive.




    I can see a future where each of my four granddaughters will be going to Sunday School in a modestly blinking dress for Easter! (Is it weird for grandfathers to love to design and create fashion?)

    Just thought I'd let you know I included you in my guide! I'm not sure if the pictures are showing up properly because my internet is a little weird, but hopefully I'll figure it out tomorrow :)

    Do you have any videos of the dress in action?

    Real nice instructable. Good descriptions and use of photographs.

    For a while I have been wondering how to either hide or integrate the conductive thread, or just use old-fashioned colored wire instead and hide it in plain sight.

    I think the idea to cover it beneath stitches from a sewing machine is excellent, and as a father of a girl I will most likely put it into practice within the next couple of years when over the counter fairy/angel-wings has top upgraded.

    Kudos for using a model and a photographer.

    I've been working on a similar project, but I bought pre-wired LEDs..18 on ultra thin wire...from They have an always on, blinking and a running pattern at the click of a switch and come in a bunch of different colors. It takes a couple of "AA" batteries.

    By buying prewired, all I have to do is sew them onto my skirt! (yeah, i'm lazy, but if you're looking for a shortcut...)

    See ya on the playa!

    3 replies

    Thats a great idea! Do you have a link for this product. Maybe some pictures of your design? Perhaps some other viewers would like to give it a try.

    See you in a dust storm!

    Yup! The lights are available at
    and I'll try to post a pic when the project is done. I just finished a little el wire decoration on the bodice. The blinky LEDs go on next!

    I tried the link, and I guess the don't have them any more ( sigh) so I'm going to go with aniomagic. I hope to combine sparkles with polymer clay to make jewelry. I asked the folks there if I could bake them into PC & they say yes, and if it works, I guess I'll have to do an instructable ( gulp!)

    I knew it! I knew the sparkly tutu was you before I saw your name on it!
    Good work!
    I'm showing Gameshow when he gets home.
    Will we get to see it on you in August?

    1 reply

    How sparkly should I make my tutu? Is there an amount of sparkle that you would advise against?

    8 replies

    Its just like glitter baby - there is never enough sparkle!

    This tutu has 20 LED sequins. I have to test just how many LEDs I can connect to a Sparkle board. Research. Research. Research.

    I can foresee this turning into an arms race.

    I can already envision a day when you go into a bar and all the women will be glowing like Times Square.

    Not 'all'. I'm just helping you decided who to pay attention to, yes?

    I guess this is true.

    You go to the wrong kind of bars, where I go that's already true ;)

    Can't wait to use this for a ballet production!