Introduction: Working 'digg Me' Tshirt Using the Digg Button Kit

A working 'digg me' tshirt made using the digg button kit.

digg me

Step 1: Introduction/Inspirations

I wanted a project that was related to digg, I can't exactly remember how I came up with a working 'digg me' tshirt, but it might have been while I was browsing the digg button kit and 'digg me' tshirt and I put two and two together.

Links to this project's inspiration:
digg me tshirt ( digg comments)
digg button kit ( digg comments)

It was noted that while writing this instructable digg user SnOwie mentioned he was working working on a shirt like this in the comments. This was purely coincidental; I would love to know how his is going.

I ordered the digg button kit from adafuit industries on the 30th June, so this project has taken approximately three and a half months to complete, working a few hours on the weekend.

Step 2: Research

There was quite a large amount of research undertaken to make this project. The research was mainly to do with making wearable electronic circuits.

The following is a list of resources that helped me greatly.
Attached are the following datasheets:
0900766b80200898.pdf the Kingbright 1.5" 7-segment display
C4724JR.pdf the lighton triple digit 0.4" 7-segment display

Step 3: Materials/Equipment

the following materials were used to construct the working 'digg me' tshirt:

the follow equipment was used to construct the working digg me tshirt:
  • rule
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • pens
  • iron and ironing board
  • soldering iron
  • wire cutters and strippers

Step 4: Prototyping

I was unsure if the new 1.5" 7-segment displays would work okay with the digg button kit. I was worried that the current draw would be too much for the microprocessor and hence would result in the displays being too dim.

The digg button kit was assembled on a bread board with the 7-segment displays. The results are below:

Step 5: Designing the Digg Logo

The digg logo was constructed in Adobe Illustrator using the logo found on as a reference.

All colours were matched precisely and the gradients were quite close. The Adobe Illustrator files can be downloaded below. Feel free to use it in any of your digg projects in the future. Note, when applying iron-on transfers, the image needs to be reflected.

Step 6: Fabric Switch

The fabric switch was quite a challenge, I initially researched touch switches and capacitive switches, but it turns out the simplest fabric switch was made by sandwiching some nylon netting with two pieces of conductive fabric. I read this idea on the internet but can't remember or find the source anymore.

I didn't have any conductive fabric, so the conductive thread was sewn to cover the fabric, two pieces of nylon netting was used to separate the fabric as this seemed to work the best.

Below is a video of the fabric switch in action:

Step 7: Sewing the Electrical 'tracks'

I decided to use conductive thread over wires as this would make the tshirt more wearable. It turned out there were some positive and negatives about using conductive thread.

  • greatly more wearable.
  • interesting experience.
  • very messy: whilst I planned where each thread would go, it was impossible to make nice stiches (as seen in the below photos).
  • problem of shorts due to no insulation: whenever the thread needed to overlap, a piece of fabric was required to insulate the overlapping thread.
  • visible: even though white thread was used on the outside and the conductive thread on the inside the almost black colour still showed through.

Step 8: Applying the Iron-on Transfer

Applying the iron-on transfer was quite straight forward.

The procedure is as follows:
1. print the design on the iron-on transfer paper with an ink-jet printer, the design must be reflected
2. trim any excess paper around the edges. Intricate detail can be left.
3. iron the tshirt to remove any creases, the iron should be on the driest setting.
4. apply the iron-on transfer to the tshirt facing down.
5. with a piece of fabric over the transfer, start ironing the iron-on transfer. The iron should be on the driest and hottest setting.
6. continue for 5 minutes. Remember to concentrate on the edges.
7. check that the transfer is stuck to the tshirt, if it can be removed continue ironing.
8. remove the backing paper of the iron-on transfer.

Step 9: Wiring (or Threading)

This was the most tedious part, and I was quite surprised when it worked straight away.

I used an idea I read on Leah Buechley's website where crimping beads were soldered to LEDs and then threaded with the conductive thread. The same principle was used here on both the 7-segment display and on the digg button PCB.

The 7-segment displays where glued together and all common anodes had soldered wires connecting them together.

It was determined that 4.0V was the optimal voltage (this was achieved by using a variable power supply and a multimeter). However, 4.0V batteries seemed to be quite a rarity. Hence, having owned a phone with a 3.7V battery, this was used instead and seamed to produce nice results. Phone batteries also have the advantage of being quite thin.

Step 10: Finishing It All Up

A piece of foam was placed around the 7-segment display with the idea to make it more comfortable to wear. After wearing the tshirt it was realised that the foam was too obvious and was attempted to be removed. The foam also made the 'digg me' print crinkled due to the glue.

The 7-segment displays had white faces, and ruined the yellow on the digg logo. Using a transparency and the liquid crystal display font, a logo was printed out with clear (white text) sections for the 7-segment displays.

Step 11: Final Photos and Videos of the Working 'digg Me' Tshirt.

Final photos and videos.


chatman made it! (author)2010-06-20

its cool but seems like a waste of time

Jr Hacking kid made it! (author)2008-01-12

how about washing to t shirt ?

xtank5 made it! (author)xtank52008-07-03

I would make the electronics removable (with Velcro). Then I would just remove the electronics before washing it. A simple and elegant solution.

raykholo made it! (author)raykholo2009-06-26

that is a good idea. However, i would use a series of headers to be able to easily connect/disconnect the pcb from the kit... other than that, the displays, resistors, and other components used should not be affected by water. if the board from the kit is sewed into the shirt, though, at least remove the microcontroller before washing.

Derin made it! (author)Derin2008-09-11

remove batteries,hand wash(NO MACHINE WASH),dry to the point it is dry as your computer,install batteries,VOILA

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2008-01-13

washing is the only problem, I don't wear it that often though. bit of Febreze maybe? :P

Kopolis777 made it! (author)2009-01-24

Do you really need the led displays? Can't you just use the digg kit display?

Kopolis777 made it! (author)Kopolis7772009-01-24

NVM i see why now.

Lego man made it! (author)2008-09-23

I digg this

timmy1234s made it! (author)2008-07-06

How do i build the circuit in Step 4!??!?!?!

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2008-07-06

the circuit in step 4 is just the digg button kit.

schematic available here

ll0ll made it! (author)2008-05-29

anybody have a source of conduictive thread in the UK? I have a few ideas which require it, and cannot find it anywhere

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2008-05-29
ll0ll made it! (author)ll0ll2008-05-30

thank you!

archammer made it! (author)2008-05-29

really cool, just looks a bit complicated. you should try getting digg to sponsor you making and selling these shirts, id buy one

chicks dig me made it! (author)2008-05-29

friggin awesome!anybody whos listening(technically reading)has got to try this

PamelaWeir made it! (author)2008-05-26

This is awesome. Sadly, I'm the only one in my offline circle who would even understand the joke.

Einsteins Circuitry made it! (author)2008-01-12

Could you re-program it to do other things as well? Or does the kit come pre-programmed?

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2008-01-13

The kit comes pre-programmed. but yes, you could re-program to do other things.

ArtisticBabe made it! (author)2007-10-09

This is a really great project. :) I like how its interactive, plus its an amazing conversation starter. What happens when the number reaches 999? Resets? Do you really think it belongs in the DIY Halloween though?

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2007-10-11

Thanks! Whilst I have never actually had it past 999, I am assuming it would reset, or you would need to manually reset it by holding down the button (a feature of the dig button kit) About the Halloween group, whilst it could possibly be classified as a costume. I thought I would add it to the group anyway.

Labot2001 made it! (author)Labot20012008-01-12

you're pretty cool if you get that many diggs tho ;]

The Gentle Sherpa made it! (author)The Gentle Sherpa2007-10-12

This definitely belongs in the Halloween group. In that same spirit, I could see this making nerd-flirting even more fun as a 'hot or not' button. I really hope someone uses this idea!

alvincredible made it! (author)2008-01-12

LOL that was cool. man, i want one! good work.

ArtLizard made it! (author)2007-12-05

Very COOL!

zuixro made it! (author)2007-10-24

Ha Ha, this is hilarious. I love digg. Great instructable by the way.

!Andrew_Modder! made it! (author)2007-10-07

thats awesome! but, if i wore it in my school no1 would have any f'in idea wtf it was lol :-( saad. lol but go to a geek convention and youd get crap load o diggs lol :-D nice instructable!!

Trebawa made it! (author)Trebawa2007-10-12

Same here, unfortunately.

bbisme made it! (author)bbisme2007-10-20

yea, same here all the ppl @ school only go to facebook and myspace when they get on the the only one on indie places or other...

HIGHVOLTAGE-Z made it! (author)HIGHVOLTAGE-Z2007-10-19


btop made it! (author)2007-10-09

Where is the conductive fabric from?

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2007-10-09

I didn't use any conductive fabric; I am not sure where it can be purchased from.

As a substitute for conductive fabric; I basically covered a normal piece of fabric with conductive thread, which made one side of the fabric conductive. This can be seen in step 6 Fabric switch.

You may also have some success with aluminium foil.

btop made it! (author)btop2007-10-10

Sorry, I have to learn to read things properly before asking dumb questions.

Ward_Nox made it! (author)2007-10-08

JiNX sells a kit to make the Digg button thats very close to what you linked to for the Digg it button

Digg Button

not bad price wise either its 14.99 +s/h (vs. the time to get the parts from other sources this isn't a bad price)

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2007-10-09

I have a feeling adafruit is the official seller, as it it linked from the official digg button site.

adafruit lists it as $15, and also the PCB and cover which can be bought individually.

plus, $1 from each kit sale goes straight to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization that supports online rights.

gorgo333 made it! (author)2007-10-08

the only problem I can see is the fact that you can't wash it.

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2007-10-08

correct, you may be able to hand wash it, but generally you don't want any of the electronics to get wet as it may corrode.

thatkidej made it! (author)2007-10-08

This is freakin awesome, nice work!

Sidney Floyd made it! (author)2007-10-07

THIS MAN IS A GOD! A GOD AMONGST MEN! seriously, good job mate (i love the thumbs up after being dug

IamTheCreator made it! (author)2007-10-07

Haha nice! Hopefully not too many strangers come and touch you though...might spread the flu

oskay made it! (author)2007-10-07

Nice work!

CameronSS made it! (author)2007-10-07

Nice concept, well executed, and well documented. +1! My only recommendation is to use screen printing instead of iron-on transfer paper. It would be more durable, and look better.

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2007-10-07

Thanks. Screen printing would be more durable, but it is also time consuming and relatively more expensive (the iron-on transfer was only $3). It would be quite difficult to screen print a gradient that the digg logo has as well.

CameronSS made it! (author)CameronSS2007-10-07

Oh yeah. I didn't catch the gradient. Great job, anyway!

btop made it! (author)2007-10-07

I want one! I have to make one! great job and well described. could you post the edited digg logo?

thydzik made it! (author)thydzik2007-10-07


edited digg logo on step 5, includes Adobe Illustrator files and a png.

DeusXMachina made it! (author)2007-10-07

That is so geektacular and awesome! I'm gonna have to go make interactive clothing now...

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