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Inspired by the wearables class from push_reset, I wanted to come up with a simple, engaging project on soft circuitry to hold at UMakers, a makerspace in Claremont, CA. I knew that the project should target any age group, from younger children to full-grown adults, and thought that classic comic book superheroes would do the trick. The project would have to be simple enough for high schoolers to handle, but complex enough that people can actually learn about combining electrical circuits and fabric. Cost shouldn't be prohibitive (so $10 and under range) so that people could make their own in their free time, and the concept should be adaptable for any other designs that the maker wished.

With those restrictions/guidelines, I came up with a simple wearable patches that light up. Conductive thread connects homemade LED sequins that glow behind layers of felt, which are supported by a harder layer of leather. A coin battery breakout board is used for housing the battery, though simpler sew-on holders are available (just used breakout board since it had a nice on/off switch.

Step 1: Materials

  • CR2032 breakout board (or just a simple sew on battery pack, though the files will be slightly different for these since the circuit layout is different)
  • CR2032 (just typical 3V coin cell battery or battery with similar power -- just make sure you have the appropriate battery holder for that)
  • conductive thread (I used 3 ply since it's more for general use, plus it's for heavy duty applications compared to the 2 ply thread)
  • felt or fleece
  • needle (make sure that the eye is big enough to insert the conductive thread through)
  • leather (or hard-yet-flexible material of some sort. This is used as a support base to sew the circuit onto before adding the fleece superhero details.)
  • laser cutter (not required but really handy for cutting out the different pieces, especially the leather since I added some guidance holes for people who have trouble sewing straight)
  • glue
  • surface mount LEDS (I used 5050 surface mounts, but similar LEDs will work. Just make sure that they're big enough for you to easily handle and solder extra wire to the sides to make sequins. You can also just buy Adafruit's LED sequins, but they're ~$4 for 5 whereas I got 100 SMD LEDs for $5)
  • butterfly pin backs and nails (if you want this to be a pin-on patch)
<p>Another beautifully executed instructable! Well done!</p>
<p>Thank you for your kind comment! :)</p>

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Bio: In which I turn the thoughts from my head into objects in my hands
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