As a lighted costume designer, I get a lot of questions from people who want to know how to make their own EL wire costumes. I don't have time to help everyone individually, so I thought I'd consolidate my advice into one instructable. Hopefully this will help you understand the steps involved in this labor-intensive process, and get you started with your own lighted clothing projects.

Rather than describe how to make a single specific design, I am trying to make these instructions fairly general so you can create your own EL wire layout for almost any type of clothing, although many of my example photos refer to lighted coats. Also, since EL wire is very fragile in situations where it is flexed repeatedly, a lot of these tips will focus on methods for improving durability and getting the longest possible life out of the garment.

UPDATE: I never intended this to be a tutorial for copying other people's work, but it seems that some clarification might be useful. It's great to be inspired, but I'd like to encourage this community to take things a step further and use these techniques to create their own original designs.

Step 1: list of materials

piece of clothing to light up (see guidelines in that step)

sewing supplies:
needle, clear thread, scissors

EL wire (can be a single color or a mix of colors)
EL wire driver/inverter matched to the total length of glowing wire used in the design
battery holder and switch (if not included with driver)

If you are soldering:
soldering iron
wire strippers
wire cutters
heat-shrink tubing, heat gun

glue, pins, clamps

About This Instructable


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Bio: Founder / Chief Fashion Engineer of Enlighted Designs, Inc., specializing in custom illuminated clothing and costumes for performers. 10+ years experience with fabric-mounted LEDs, EL, and ... More »
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