Introduction: Glowing Christmas Stocking With EL Wire

About: I'm a digital artist/crafter/maker who likes electronics and sewing. I used to run the blog Soft Circuit Saturdays, which is now part of my site GellaCraft - dedicated to techy crafts, costuming, and art.

Add some glow to your holiday stockings with electroluminescent (EL) wire. This is an easy project that requires only a few materials. It takes a little more time in construction and planning than my Glowing Christmas Stocking with Fairy Lights instructable.

This is the second in my Glowing Christmas Stocking series, check out the Glowing Christmas Stocking with Fairy Lights and Glowing Christmas Stocking with LilyPad LilyTiny projects for even more holiday crafting ideas.

Materials Needed:

  • Christmas Stocking - if following a design on the stocking, avoid sharp corners as EL wire does not bend at severe angles easily. I chose a stocking with a nice wave embroidery that I used to stitch the EL wire to.
  • EL Wire - I used chasing EL wire from SparkFun for a fun animated effect. You can get EL wire online or at some party or costume shops.
  • EL inverter - if sourcing the EL wire and inverter separately, make sure you get one that is compatible with your chosen wire, different EL product lines use different connectors. Since I chose chasing EL wire, I needed a chasing EL wire inverter .
  • Batteries (if not included with the inverter)
  • Needle
  • Invisible/clear and cotton sewing thread
  • Sewing Pins
  • Scrap fabric (1" x 2.5-3")
  • Scissors
  • Fray check or clear nail polish

Step 1: Plan EL Wire Placement

Plan out the placement of the EL wire on the stocking using pins to hold it down, making sure not to pierce the wire. In this design, I wanted to continue the wire up and down the wave pattern in the stocking. I left loops at the top and bottom for strain relief during planning. These parts of the wire will be hidden in the final construction.

Step 2: Stitch EL Wire

Unpin the EL wire from the stocking before stitching, wrap excess wire up an zip tie to keep it out of the way. Begin whip stitching the EL wire down to the stocking with invisible thread, starting from the battery connector end. Be careful not to sew the stocking shut as you stitch. If you need to switch direction or move the EL wire to another part of the design, see the next step.

Step 3: Hiding EL Wire

For any places where you want the wire to stop, such as the bottom of this design, cut small holes in the stocking where you want to conceal the wire. Seal with fray check or clear nail polish to protect the fabric from fraying. After it is dry, feed the end of the wire through the holes to hide it. If your stocking is made of a thin fabric, you may want to wrap electrical tape around the wire to keep it from glowing through the interior.

Leave some slack or small curve in the wire if reversing direction so it doesn't pull on the fabric. You can also whip stitch this loop to the back of the stocking to keep it getting caught on any presents you put in there.

For the top parts of the stocking I made, I didn't bother cutting holes to hide the wire because the collar of the stocking would cover it when folded back down.

Step 4: Attach EL Inverter

To attach the EL inverter, stitch a piece of fabric on the back of the stocking for the inverter clip to slide onto. You can place this under the collar of the stocking if it has one. After sliding the battery pack on, install batteries if needed, and attach the connector to the EL wire.

Now your stocking is done, time to fill with some presents!