Introduction: Teddy Bear Remote Control

Picture of Teddy Bear Remote Control

The teddy bear remote sits nicely on your sofa or bed and can be used to control your iPod or computer. It's a cute modification to an RF remote control and is surprisingly soft! The project is difficult to make and requires quite a few odd materials, some soldering skill, and a lot of hand and machine sewing.

Step 1: Get Materials

Picture of Get Materials

You will need:

- conductive thread, order by email at http://members.shaw.ca/ubik/thread/order.html
- any Griffin RF (radio frequency) remote control such as the airClick or airClick USB, all Griffin remotes use the same signals so they are interchangeable and you can use one remote for multiple devices
- soldering iron and solder
- sewing machine, hand sew everything at your own risk of arthritis
- pins and needles (big holed needle for conductive thread)
- grandmotherly floral print fabric
- plain colored fabric for the buttons and face
- white muslin fabric for sewing the circuit
- matching thread (for seams) and contrasting thread (for buttons)
- hook and eye fasteners, size 0 (or fairly small)
- snap fastener
- velcro (1 - 2 inch piece)
- sticky back fusable web (for fusing the fabrics)
- cotton or polyester stuffing
- conductive metal tape, found at hardware stores in the plumbing section
- about 1/4 inch thick foam tape, found at hardware stores

Step 2: Solder Hook and Eye Fasteners on Remote

Picture of Solder Hook and Eye Fasteners on Remote

Carefully disassemble the remote control. The circuit board is nicely labeled and has 5 buttons and a hold switch. You will need to solder the eye fasters on the circuit board so the thread can be tied to something. The right side of each button dot is the power and the left is the specific function. So any right side can be connected to a function on the left side to activate it.

The hold button is a tricky beast. When the arms of the bear are snapped together, the remote is turned on. The two left metal spots need to be connected for the remote to be on. This is usually accomplished by the tiny switch. I would recommend pushing the switch into the hold position (towards the top of the remote control) and soldering a hook or eye to each of the on leads.

It is important to arrange the eye fasteners so that the conductive threads do not cross.

WARNING - Soldering metal of any kind is a dangerous activity. Please use appropriate safety measures to prevent burning and inhaling fumes. Please do not attempt this project if you do not have the appropriate equipment or safety knowlege.

I would recommend just playing around with the remote and figuring out where all the buttons go on your own. It is important to test the remote and all the functions throughout the project in order to catch mistakes quickly. Draw a diagram of where all the eye fasteners will go and a map of where the threads need to go without crossing.

Step 3: Sew a Circuit

Picture of Sew a Circuit

Draw a bear body pattern on a piece of paper. Make it about 3/4 inches larger than you want the finished bear because it will get smaller when you sew it together and stuff it. Draw some arm and leg patterns on the paper as well. Cut out your fabric pieces using your patterns. Cut out a piece on muslin fabric in the same shape as the body.

Design a face and use the fusable web to attach it to the front of the bear. Using a wide stitch, outline the face and make a cute smiley face.

Some nice tips - draw your face design on paper first using a pencil, then rub it on to your fabric and darken with a marking pen. After sewing the design use a permanent marker to fill in any gaps or mistakes.

Place your remote control circuit board on top of the piece of muslin in a strategic position - I placed mine in the bear's left armpit. On the muslin, mark where the buttons will go. Tie a piece of conductive thread to an eye fastener on the circuit board and then sew it across the muslin to the button location. I doubled the thread so that two threads went to one place so if one thread broke, the other could still make the button function.

Leave the threads trailing out the back of the fabric. Repeat for each side of each button and the hold switch. The hold switch should have one thread going to each side of the bear's body, to be connected in the arms. Leave plenty of extra thread.

Using the fusable web, attach the muslin to the back of the front piece of the bear. The fusable web makes the fabric stiffer, so attach only a few points on the muslin to the front piece to hold them together and keep the threads from crossing.

After the muslin circuit has been attached to the front, mark on the front where the buttons should be placed. At each button location place two rectangles of conductive tape, one for each connecting side of the circuit. They should be about 1/6 inch apart. Then stitch each conductive thread over its piece of tape so the thread touches the conductive part of the tape. Leave the threads for the "on"/hold button hanging loose.

Be careful not to cross the "on"/hold button threads too long. This will drain the battery.

Step 4: Make Buttons

Picture of Make Buttons

If you know someone who does custom embroidery, they might help you out with this part. Another option for those unsure of such tricky sewing would be to use ink jet iron-on transfer paper and print out the button icons and iron them on the fabric.

The hardcore way to make the button icons is to draw the designs on paper with pencil and rub them on the fabric. Then darken them with a marking pen. Next, trace the outlines using a thick stitch and fill in the gaps by hand-sewing and using a permanant marker to fix mistakes. I cannot stress enough the importance of clean, freshly-washed hands for this part.

After the button icons are on the fabric, make a pattern and cut out the buttons with an icon in the center of each. Attach a square of conductive tape to the back of each button. Cut a piece or pieces of adhesive foam to fit around the conductive tape squares. Test out the button by placing it in the correct spot on the front of the bear. I used alligator clips to temporarly attach the "on" button for testing.

Place fusable web on the back of each around the outside and press on to the correct place on the front of the bear. Then sew a border around each button.

Step 5: Bear Arms

Picture of Bear Arms

The next step is to make the bear's arms which also function as the "on" switch. Cut out the bear arm pieces and attach the inner paw decoration similarly to the bear face. Hand sew one part of a metal snap fastener to the inside of one paw and the other to the outside of the other paw.

Sew the two sides of each paw together, reverse, and stuff each with cotton or polyester stuffing. Run the conductive threads corresponding to each arm through the arm and tie around the snap. Each snap should now connect to the sewn circuit by the conductive thread and the arms are hanging loosly from the bear body.

Step 6: Assemble the Bear Body

Picture of Assemble the Bear Body

Cut out the bear legs, sew together, and stuff. Pin the arms and legs on the front of the bear, pointing inwards. Place the back of the bear on top, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other and pin in place. Sew completely around the bear only leaving a 2 inch gap near the remote piece. Turn right side out, remove pins, and stuff the bear. Add a little extra stuffing between the remote and the front of the bear. Sew velcro on the inside of the gap so the bear can be re-opened for changing the battery.

Amaze your friends with a stuffed bear remote that never gets lost in the couch cushions!

Comments

The Pencil Guy (author)2013-03-02

cool!!

MissGelic (author)2009-06-20

--> I REALLY need one of these for my Mum. --> What would you charge to make one for me? She's bedridden and in a home and keeps dropping/losing her remote, which is frustrating becasue TV is one of the few things in her life that she CAN control herself. When the remote is lost, she has to call an aide to change the channel for her, and they are sometimes slow/impatient. The teddy would be harder to lose and the batteries wouldn't fall out when she drops it (I assume they're cushioned within the bear). PLEASE HELP!

Fasteners (author)2009-01-19

Awwwww

drjonesaa (author)2008-09-24

Really like it could be used for a hospital children system spread the word.. cool If we make any animal agentz we will try this out... best mark

ukiha_nagara (author)2008-05-04

patent this, man. Patent this up.

Shut Up Now (author)ukiha_nagara2008-08-29

yea dude, this could be money. *calls patent office*

ak13 (author)2008-04-14

I'm going to try this project over the weekend, but I don't quite understand the on snap switch. What on the remote is it soldered to? and can you add a picture of both snaps? please? thanks

ak13 (author)ak132008-05-15

I still don't get the snappy thing, has anyone made this yet?? ps-the text from the box in the box reads "conductive thread from inside the arm"

ukiha_nagara (author)2008-05-04

Kudos for you! Cute instructable! Got to make one!

sletts02 (author)2008-02-29

Great tutorial! I want to adapt this for my car. How would I go about attaching a "button" (like a normal electrical button) to the play/pause, next etc on the remote? Thanks =)

inquisitive (author)2007-10-16

Definitely get a patent...I wish I had more skill to make something like this. My Mom would just love this! Great job!

dancook (author)inquisitive2008-01-04

Unfortunately now that the idea is in the public domain with no patent application number you'll have difficulty obtaining a patent and defending the patent if and when it's been granted. Worth a look though. Look out for any company that promises to take you through all the steps to get you to a patent and your product released, they usually just do a little off the shelf market research and draw a picture that costs alot. Best way to go is to write down the "unique" points of the bear and what makes the control + bear device unique to any current product and then go and talk to a bona fide patent lawyer company. They won't charge for a consultation, but you have to get a good quote off them and ensure you have all the hidden costs involved. Check out....
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/105-7329441-6441250?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=patent&x=0&y=0
on amazon for a list of books.... Good luck!

flio191 (author)2008-01-01

dont put a comment inside of a bigger comment box, we cant select them! XD

multicrafty (author)2007-05-17

sorry but I just had to comment again. You sure do have some talent there. I am in complete LOVE with this bear. The sad thing is that someone from Fisher Price is going to see this and mass produce YOUR idea and they'll be the ones that get all the credit. Anyways, GREAT JOB!

Ward_Nox (author)multicrafty2007-09-08

yea thats true get thee to a patent lawyer

multicrafty (author)2007-05-17

that is really cute.

hyoomen (author)2007-05-01

This is super great. Now I just need a stuffed rubber ducky pillow and a little bit of redesign on how to make it so you must be touching two places at once to activate the remote (would like to avoid the concerns with the designer version of this where people worried about laying their head on a surprising "Increase Volume" button).

thingygoboom (author)2007-04-26

You have a girlfriend and are an instructables junky... wow. Sorry bout that one but i couldn't help it.

Mad Cat (author)2007-04-26

Maybe you could just stuff a pre-made teddy bear with the electronics...

AeroEngineer (author)2007-01-25

Can I just Say I love this.

gforcerocks (author)2006-12-10

super duper cool I WANT ONE!!!!!!!!!!

leahculver (author)2006-11-20
robthinker (author)2006-10-15

ooo wow thats so cool very well done is it on the market to buy??

leahculver (author)robthinker2006-10-24

Probably never. I'm pretty lazy. You are welcome to make one though!

dotTim (author)2006-10-12

This is awesome Leah!

At Liberty (author)2006-09-26

I wish I had the patience to make one - Awesome.

Nachimir (author)2006-08-13

Genius design :) Great switches, I've been comtemplating stuffing electronics in clothing and wondered about soft switches.

starphire (author)2006-05-19

Nice work and a winning idea. I wonder, though: wouldn't it be easier to just run some small insulated wires inside the bear between the switches and the circuit board? Does the conductive thread stand up to more flexing than stranded copper wire?

leahculver (author)starphire2006-05-19

I'm sure thinly stranded wire of any kind such as copper wire or the threaded wire used for curly phone cords would be flexible enough. The nice thing about the conductive thread is that it is indistinguishable from the stuffing and sews on to the fabric nicely for the buttons. It is also super creepy to squeeze the bear and not feel anything but stuffing inside it. I already owned some conductive thread - but since it is a bit of a hassle to aquire, some other types of wire would probably work fine too.

pbwingman11 (author)leahculver2006-06-15

I was thinking regular wire also. It would save me the 20+ dollars to get the conductive thread shipped to me! but what a cute design!

andy olmsted (author)2006-06-04

very cool, Leah. i like it. Keep up the fun ideas. How's CA?

leahculver (author)andy olmsted2006-06-06

thanks... san jose is crazy. I've been enjoying the In and Out Burgers and cheap wine.

fungus amungus (author)2006-05-16

Awesome. Very, very awesome.

SugarTeen52 (author)2006-05-16

P.S. It was a skillfully done project!

SugarTeen52 (author)2006-05-16

That`s a great idea! Ever think of making a collection of remotes with different animals for different devices? (e.g., bear for TV, giraffe for DVD player, etc.)

Junkyard John (author)2006-05-14

I am using your switch idea to sound a buzzer when my dog or any unsuspecting person sits on my couch. It works great!

leahculver (author)Junkyard John2006-05-15

Very funny idea! I would love to see someone sit on that couch. Let me know if you've found any new tricks for the switches.

Junkyard John (author)leahculver2006-05-15

Sorry, my parents don't have a digital camera. It's great though, most people jump right up and say "OH!" Since my switch is huge, I used aluminum instead of conductive tape.

jamesiserman (author)2006-05-15

Didn't the aliens in Aqua Teen Hunger Force attempt this, with very pathetic results.

Code128 (author)2006-05-14

Reallly cool stuff. I like it alot.

ranex (author)2006-05-14

this would make a easier ro use remote for childrten- you dont have to worry about your todler trying to eat your little remote

karma-laboratory (author)2006-05-13

oh thank you... this totally made me smile. I love "soft" electronics!

clothbot (author)2006-05-12

Nicely done!

andy (author)2006-05-12

woah, well done, this rocks!

kathaclysm (author)2006-05-12

OMG I gotta make one of these!

nospleen (author)2006-05-12

What a great idea. I think I want one.

radiorental (author)2006-05-12

very very cool

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