Introduction: Attach a Lilypad LED

Attaching LEDS (and other components) to your fabric is one of the most important skills to have while using Lilypad for e-textile projects! Without attaching components properly, your projects are in danger of falling apart or your circuits might open by accident.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

In order to attach your Lilypad LED, you'll need the following materials:

  • Felt (or other fabric that you want to attach it to)
  • Needle
  • Thread (conductive thread if it will be part of the circuit)
  • Needle Threader
  • Glue

Step 2: Thread Your Needle

Pretty self explanatory!

Use the needle threader if necessary, but make sure that your needle is threaded. Don't forget to tie off the end as well!

Step 3: Glue Your LED in Place

While you're trying to sew your LED onto your fabric, you'll more than likely be moving and repositioning the fabric as you sew each stitch. Before you begin to sew, glue your LED into place by dabbing some glue onto the back and then pressing it into place. Let it dry before you begin to sew.

Step 4: Sew Up to Your LED

A Lilypad LED can't light up on its own, so you'll more than likely be connecting it into a circuit. Instead of sewing the LED into place and then working on connections, sew from the previous piece of your circuit UP TO the LED. No need to tie off or cut the thread--you can go right into attaching it to the circuit.

Step 5: Sew Your LED Into Place

Now that you have everything prepared, it's time to sew your LED onto your project!

Bring your needle up through the center of the closest hole of the LED. It may take a few tries to estimate where you should be bringing the needle through, but you'll eventually get it right. Once you've brought the thread up to the front side of the project, loop it back around to the outside of the LED again and bring the needle back down through the fabric in a similar location to where the stitches came up to the LED. Repeat this process 3-4 times, looping the thread up and back around the LED circle.

There are two reasons you want to do this multiple times:

1. The LED will remain in place and there will be less of a chance of the component ripping or falling off of your project.

2. The circuit will be closed. (The thread itself is a conductor and is a part of the circuit that will make the LED light up. With multiple loops, you can make sure that the circuit is closed.)

Step 6: Tie Off Your Stitch

Depending on how much thread you have left, you may choose to continue stitching to the next component of your project.

However, if this is where your project ends or you need to get a new length of thread it will be necessary for you to tie of your stitch and prevent the LED from falling off and the stitches from falling out. Bring the thread to the back side of your project and flip it over onto the side that doesn't contain any components. Slide your needle through a collection of the stitches and then bring it back through the loop of thread and pull tight.