Disco Tartan




Introduction: Disco Tartan

A long exposure photography project I've been working on. To make a tartan with light. Sorry about the lack of pictures in the materials and construction phases I hadn't planned on writing an instructable or even known if it would work. :)

I wish I could have had a black room to take the shot in but limited time and money....

Step 1: Picking the Tartan

The tartan you pick will determine the El wire you buy. Consider the long stretches of colors and tiny accented lines for your led selection.

For the Nova Scotian tartan I bought 6 foot lengths of green and blue with white and red LEDs for the accented lines.

Step 2: Materials

1 Black dowel
1 Package of hook up wire
3 on/off switches
12 white Leds
6 Red Leds
1 47ohm resistor
1 2k ohm resistor
Fill and accent colors of Elwire
EL wire Battery pack
Two 9 V batteries.
A boot load of electric or duct tape.

Step 3: Measurements

Measure the tartan sample across the bottom and do some math to ensure that your array of lights will be proportionate.

Step 4: LED Wireing

For each of the colors of LEDs you'll need to wire a separate circuit  that travels the length of the dowel. Wire the LEDs in parallel to make it easier to trouble shoot  if you have issues.

DONT SOLDER the Switches yet.

Step 5: Tapeing

Tape down the El wire with the electric tape or duct tape exposing only what ELwire you need to show as demonstrated by your proportions.
Cover everything else.

Step 6: Switches

Find your switch placement. Remember for shooting it has to be close together and easily maneuverable with one finger.

Wire the Switches to the ELwire off of the battery pack. Wire the LED switches off the 9V battery pack.

I chose to place my switches at one end of the dowel.

Step 7: Shoot

With your DSLR Camera crank your exposure time to 30s ~ 40s depending on how many passes you want. 

When you trigger the shutter move your dowel vertically then perpendicular at 90degrees and the exposure should prove to be a Tartan! Experiment and mess about then post back if you want.


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    11 years ago on Introduction

    Many years ago playing around EL wires, my friends found out that cheap one time cameras with flash can be used as power suply for EL wires. The curcuit that charges the capacitor for the flash, is high voltage. Beware of long time damage to EL wire because of over voltage. Most photo shops will give you used cameras for free. :)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Well, I never thought of doing that with EL wire :)

    It would be cool if you made one with individually addressable sections of EL wire, perhaps an inch long- then you could use the strip as a POV display that actually filled in the space with its pixels rather than lighting up lines like the LED ones do.

    Of course, this might require a lot of inverters and all the related gubbins so might be impractical.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I originally wanted to use a PVC pipe instead of a dowel with differentially sized PVC sleeves so I could make different family tartans quick and easily but highland games season is over around here. Maybe next year.