Sew together various soft electronic components to turn your favorite clothing item into a wearable waste of energy!

These step-by-step instructions will show you how to combine fabric buttons, fabric pressure sensors, and conductive fabric traces as well as some funny elements, all in the name of wasting energy for no particular reason.

There are 7 different components to this wearable. And below is a list of the materials and tools you will need to complete them. The following 7 steps will explain how to make each of these components. And the idea is that you come up with your own design and layout for the components, and maybe even add some new elements.


Step 1) Conductive fabric traces
Step 2) 9V battery, battery snaps and little pocket
Step 3) Fabric switch
Step 4) Fabric pressure sensor
Step 5) Vibration motor embedded in Shapelock
Step 6) LED
Step 7) Decorative elements: the doll and the sun

- Old clothing item to modify!
- Fabric leftovers
- Stretch conductive fabric from http://www.lessemf.com
- Conductive thread from http://www.sparkfun.com
- Fusible interfacing from local fabric store
- Velostat by 3M from http://www.lessemf.com
- Thread
- 3mm thick foam
- Vibration motor
- 9V batterys
- Rainbow wire
- Shapelock from http://www.shapelock.com

- Hole maker
- Scissors
- Iron
- Sewing needle
- Popper/snap machine (handheld or hammer and simple version)
- Hot water

Step 1: Conductive fabric traces

Picture of Conductive fabric traces
So that the electricity can flow from the battery through the button or the pressure sensor to the component it needs a conductive connection. Since we are working with clothing, it makes sense to use conductive fabric to make these traces. Iron on some fusible interfacing to your conductive fabric before cutting it into thin strips. Then iron these strips onto the clothing item where you need them to complete the circuit.
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ElJefeUno6 years ago
Idea: Buy 3 of these Solar panels and tape them to the fabric with double sided tape. Wire each panel in series with each other (positive end of one with negative end of the other). Buy 6 1.5V rechargeable nicad batteries (might be a bit heavy), and wire them together in series as well. Put on a 3 position switch to switch the batteries between charging off the solar panels and running your stuff. Voila! Now your shirt generates no dead batteries.
Well then it would not be a waste of energy if its solar powered lol
It would be a waste of energy if it ran on coal or gas
Well they probably charged that battery using energy from a coal or a gas power plant. And she mentioned that she felt bad wasting energy, so I gave her and alternative :)
Derin ElJefeUno6 years ago
No,it's not charged,it generates by chemicals ;)
therefore you waste chemicals. Even better! Save the oil and stuff for muscle cars.
yeah... By the way you wasted energy on this Instructables that is on wasting.LOL
NeonLime7 years ago
"Wearable Waste Of Energy" ...? One word... No. Energy should be conserved. Not wasted?
Plusea (author)  NeonLime7 years ago
Of course! In a way it is just the title of the project, because.... what it the use of lighting up an LED on my sweatshirt or running a vibration motor? But of course in a further development sense, there are uses for these things.
shooby Plusea7 years ago
Still, the word is NO. That 9V is going to end up in a landfill, where it will slowly ruin my world. Thanks for wasting.
when did it become your world?
It's your world too kid. Stay focused.
antennas shooby7 years ago
Oh grow up.
you grow up
Wow. The bickering can not stop.
Loool, people on this website moan about everything! Be happy, it's cute!!
technically yes it is a waste of energy but is that 1 9volt gonna be the cause of the end of the world?? its a L.E.D (a light emitting diode) they do NOT use a lot of energy sure after a while it will add up but its still not gonna destroy the world because of 1 9volt
Derin shooby6 years ago
So, wait... Your world's a landfill? Probably isn't the best analysis, but it also raises a lot of questions... And answers.
Plusea (author)  shooby7 years ago
Exactly. So the point is to NOt follow this Instructable but come up with better things. Solar cells are an option.
agis68 NeonLime6 years ago
I agree...bytheway where you get that golden fabric u use as connector lines?
Plusea (author)  agis686 years ago
It is stretch conductive fabric from LessEMF. Check the first step for the list of materials and links.
agis68 Plusea6 years ago
rachel NeonLime7 years ago
The waste of energy is small, especially compared with the experience gained from working with these tools and materials. This is a stepping stone to Greater Things!
Plusea (author)  rachel7 years ago
I guess. But still. I felt bad having to use a 9V battery to power an LED and another 9V battery to power a 3V vibration motor, just because the conductive fabric sucks so much power. But conductive fabric is cool and you are right, it will surely lead to greater things!
rachel Plusea7 years ago
Have you tried using conductive thread? I think I recall testing and determining that the thread has a lower resistance than Zelt, at least; but I could be remembering that wrong. The stuff I use is intended for repairing fencing outfits, I get it from Lame Lifesaver at http://members.shaw.ca/ubik/thread/thread.html
Plusea (author)  rachel7 years ago
Actually the strips of stretch conductive fabric have less resistance than the thread. Especially since the fabric is stretchy and the stretchy stitch goes zig-zag as well as doubles back on itself, using more thread - more resistance. But in the future, maybe, yes. And thanks for the suggestion! Sparkfun now also sells spools of conductive thread >> www.sparkfun.com
One tip, if you put multiple threads as one line it'll lower the resistance, like have five threads to each leg of the LED instead of one, it'll help to some extent though at the cost of either flexibility or subtlety...
bustedit Plusea7 years ago
Plusea, you so crazee! I think it's a great USE of energy. Shooby needs to take a re-cycled pill n chill. Perhaps epaulettes of solar panels would be in order, or one of those pith helmets with a built in solar powered fan, with Faraday enhanced shoes that absorb the energy of each step, and link em up?
Einstein theorized that energy can be be neither created nor destroyed. Energy resources are a different story. I'm pretty sure Al Gore got a Nobel Peace Prize, though. Also, I think it's a responsible attitude to understand what pollution is, and then not do it. I also think this is a cute project.
Amen Brother
Its a joke against all that Global Warming stuff
puffyfluff6 years ago
Personally, I think this would pass as extremely fashionable.
i agree. and i think your name is awesome.
Thank you! All my friends say that, too.
the fashion industry doesnt make a lot of clothes that actively use electricity though.
almost everything you do uses electricity. i meant that the energy they "waste" just doing business. and most of their products probably never see production. i'm sure it takes a lot of time and energy to make people look good. there are aspects of industry that most people couldn't fathom. and all of that takes energy to run. so if making your own clothes look a certain way is a waste... just imagine how much the fashion industry wastes.
True. A monstrous amount of energy going to waste. Such a shame.
cool project. end of story.
Unit0427 years ago
Forget the landfill, this thing will only be on, wasting power, while this person is showing the sweater off to others(not long). It's not like it's going to be on 24/7. This is simply an experiment with wearable circuits. Efficiency can come later, experience starts now. Great ible! I wonder... what about that really thin "enameled" wire used for making incuctors and transformers?(more than meets the eye) Granted, it'll wear out after a bunch of bends, will short out against whatever it can, and is more intrusive to wear than conductive fabric, but it can carry much more power at lower resistance. Speaking of resistance, maybe, during wintertime, this idea can be taken further with a resistive element T shirt that warms you up! It was my idea first! But go ahead and build it, and make ibles! Bwahahahahahaaa! Screw the planet, I wanna wear an LED! Speaking of LED's, maybe you could do that invisible face IR hat idea and expand it to make your whole body invisible to cameras! Speaking of cameras....
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