Introduction: How to Make Light-Up Cat Ears

List of Material:

  • Ribbon
  • 3D Printer and 3D Printing Material
  • 2 LEDs
  • 3V Battery
  • 3V Battery Pack/Holder with Negative and Positive Wire Prongs
  • Wire
  • Glue
  • SolidWorks Program to Create the Headband and Cat Ears
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Piece of Plastic to Use as Switch
  • Ruler
  • 51 Ohm Resistor


This Instructable is about how to make light-up cat ears. I thought this would be a fun project due to my sense of style. I always wear cat ears, so I thought why not create my own cat ears that even light-up! If you want to create your own light-up cat ears, then this Instructable is for you! Reading this Instructable will help you learn how to create the headband in SolidWorks, the cat ears in SolidWorks, how to wire the 3V Battery to the 2 LEDs, and how to wrap the ribbon around the headband to hide the battery in the battery pack and the wires. The finished product after the creating and building process will be amazing, very stylish, and unique! You get to express your creativity in a different way! Keep in mind, my ribbon, LEDs, and cat ears are red, but yours can be whatever colors you would like.

Step 1: First Step: Creating the Headband Testers

First Step: Creating the Headband Testers

When I started this project, I knew I had to figure out the measurements and how to make the headband piece in general. It was not as hard as I thought it would be. Though, my first headband tester was a little small due to my measurements being off. However, my next tester and my final headband were quite a growth in development. It was a great example of the engineering design process.

Step One: Open up SolidWorks and select the top plane to sketch on. After doing this, select the tangent arc to use as the top of the headband shape.

Step Two: After placing the tangent arc as the base of the top of the headband and it is set at the fixed 180 degrees, use tangent arc again on one side of the top of the headband. In order to do this, you will click on tangent arc and then click on one of the edges of the top of the headband base. Then, you will slide your mouse down to the desirable length and position that seems right for your headband shape. You will repeat the same process for the other side of the base.

Step Three: Once done with the round sides of the headband, you will select the regular line command to sketch the support holders on the headband. The support holders are used to help hold the headband to your head. I only added them due to most headbands I own containing them at the bottom. Anyway, you will select one of the round sides you made with the tangent arc, and using the line command u will draw a small line down from the end of the side of the headband. You will repeat it on the other side as well.

Step Four: Once you have completed the shape of the headband to your liking, you will use the Smart Dimension command on SolidWorks to correct the measurements to fit your head. I clicked on the original base tangent arc edges and made the measurement to 13 centimeters. Then, my next measurment fix was on my side arcs of the headband. I clicked on the edge of one side tangent arc and the edge where it connected to the base tangent arc. Then, I made the measurement 8 centimeters. I repeated this on the other side tangent arc as well. Then, I fixed the measurement of the support holders by clicking on the line made for them and making them 3 centimeters. The headband should be completely symmetrical to your liking.

Step Five: Once everything is to your liking in the sketch, you will then exit out of the sketch and extrude the headband sketch. Since this is a test, you will only need to extrude it to about 0.3 inches. This is only a test to see if your headband will fit to your liking and to see if you have to change any measurements to fit to you more.

After printing the headband out on the 3D printer, you will be able to see and try on the headband to see if it will fit your head to your liking. Then, once you see if you need to make changes to the measurements and change the measurements to whatever you need. You can print out another test. Then, the headband will have the correct measurements and you can use tht tester as the base for your final headband creation.

Step 2: Second Step: Creating the Final Headband

Second Step: Creating the Final Headband

Creating the final headband will be a lot easier, in my opinion, than when you were creating the headband testers. You will just be using the headband test with all of the correct measurements for you as the base of your final. You will also create holes at the top of the headband for the LEDs to go through on the final headband. You will also extrude it out more than the testing headbands you made before.

Step One: Keep in mind that the headband also has to hold a 3V battery, wires, and 2 LEDs. The measurements will determine how far you need to extrude your headband out. For me, I took my battery holder measurment and figured out the length between the two wire prongs. This went with my plan to have the headband go in between the two prongs for the wires to be able to go underneath the headband to reach the LED prongs. This plan later on changed however, but my headband extrusion was still a really good fit for everything. The measurement between the two prongs for me, using a caliper, was 0.84 inches. So, I extruded my headband to 0.7 inches. This way, the headband could fit between the prongs of the battery holder.

Step Two: After extruding the headband to the size you need, you will create another plane to draw the two circles that will be cut into the headband for the LEDs. In order to create the new plane, you will click on reference geometry, which is in the features sections of SolidWorks along with Extrude Boss/Base you used to extrude your headband. Click on the plane that will be able to go on top of your headband before clicking on reference geometry. After the new plane appears on the headband, it will have a place to enter how far up you want the plane to be on your sketch. Click the up arrow on that section till it is still on the very top of the headband, but not that much on the headband. Then, click the green check mark and your new sketching plane will be added.

Step Three: Click on the new plane you created on the side in the manager tree, and click on sketch. It should move you facing the new plane you created. Draw two circles where you think they need to be on the headband. Once you draw the circles, you can use smart dimension again to fix the placement on the headband and spacing between the circles and how big the circles are. In order to fix the placement of the circles, I clicked on the middle of my circle and the top corner of the headband. I then put the measurement as 1.2 inches. I repeated that on the other side and circle as well. Then, I changed the measurements of the circles based on the size of the LEDs. (I created a LED Size Tester to determine the size the circle for the hole needed to be. This will be in the next step.) Once I changed the measurements of the circles, I changed the measurements of the circles between the headband. In order to do this, I would click on the middle of the circle and one of the edges of the top of the headband. Then, I would change the measurement until the circles were in the middle of the headband.

Step Four: After the circles are drawn and in the right place on the top of the headband, click on the extruded cut feature. On the side where the options to fix the cut and everything is, click on the box that says "Blind". The box will drop down and you will change it to through all. This allows for the circles to be cut completely through the headband. These are your LED holes.

Step Five: Once everything is to your liking, you are able to print out your final headband piece for the project!

Once the headband comes off of the 3D Printer, you can clean out the extra material that could have ended up in the cut holes. Then, your final headband is done!

Step 3: Third Step: Creating the LED Size Tester

Third Step: Creating the LED Size Tester

The LED size tester was an easy little side project to make to determine the size of the holes to cut out on your headband for the LEDs. The LED sizes were in millimeters, but when you enter it into your original project, it will convert into inches along with the centimeters done for the headband measurements. This is a new part, so you will have to click on part to open up a blank work space on SolidWorks for your new piece.

Step One: Click on where it says IPS near the bottom of the screen on the right side of the screen. Then, click on MMGS. This will change the measurements to only be in millimeters. Click on top plane and draw a rectangle. After drawing the rectangle, you can smart dimension the measurements so the five different sized holes can fit on the rectangle. I changed the measurements multiple times in order for the circles/holes to fit. Once the rectangle is drawn, extrude it to about 0.4 inches.

Step Two: Click on the top face of the rectangle and click sketch. You will then draw five circles across the rectangle. Then, smart dimension each circle to size them for the LED size tests. I did the first circle as 5 millimeters then went up 0.1 for the rest of the five circles. Then, I click on the middle of one circle to the one next to it to distance them apart so they aren't touching or that close together. I do that for each circle. Then, I click on the first circle in the middle and the top corner near it on the rectangle and dimension it to where the circle isn't that close to the edge. If all five of the circles are on the same line, it will move all of the circles together. Mae sure that both edge circles are the same distance away from the edge. Then, I click on the first circle in the middle and the top edge of the rectangle. I then dimension it till the circles are in the middle of the rectangle.

Step Three: Once the tester is perfect, you can print it out to test the size of the LEDs! This piece will help determine the size of the holes on your headband for the LEDs.

Step 4: Fourth Step: Creating the Cat Ear Tester

Fourth Step: Creating the Cat Ear Tester

The cat ears were probably the hardest for me to figure out how to make the shape. My original design for them would have been awful. They would have just been pyramids on a headband. When I did figure out how to create the shape, I was extremely happy. I used my other cat ears as inspiration for the shape. I created a cat ear tester after to see what kind of size the arc needed to be to fit exactly on arc of the headband. It might take a few tries. Luckily for me, my first try fit perfectly. I really just eyeballed it because I really didn't know how to measure the arc of the certain part of the headband where the ears were going to be. So again, this may take a few tries.

Step One: Click on top plane for the new part. Then, click sketch and click on line. You will draw the sides and the top part of a rectangle, but the bottom of the rectangle will be the testing arc to see what arc you need to use for the final cat ears. Click tangent arc to create the bottom arc on the rectangle it will be a small arc. It won't be as big of an arc as you think it might need. It will be below a 180 degree arc. Then, use smart dimension and click on the two edges of the rectangle. Change the measurement to 2 inches.

Step Two: Once you have the tester piece sketched, you will then extrude the tester to 0.3 inches, since it is a test.

Step Three: After extruding it, the cat ear tester is ready to print!

Once it is done printing, you can test it against the headband to test the arc. Then, you can determine if you need to change the arc size or not to fit what you need for your headband. You may have to print a few testers if you do not get it your first try.

Step 5: Fifth Step: Creating the Final Cat Ears

Fifth Step: Creating the Final Cat Ears

The cat ears can be made on the same file as the tester. Once you have the arc figured out, you can use the arc as the base of the final cat ear sketch. So that way, you don't have to worry about creating a different file and worrying about the arc being the same size as needed. The cat ears are quite simple to make. The arc was just the hardest part of the shape.

Step One: Since you are using the cat ear tester piece as the base, the first step is to edit the sketch to make it look more like ears. Click on the sketch and click edit sketch, it will be on the feature manager tree. The sketch will be under the extruded feature. Once you are where you can edit the sketch, click on each straight line individually and delete it. Make sure to keep your arc for the base of the project.

Step Two: Click on the tangent arc sketch command. Click on one of the edges of the arc and drag the arc up high enough to how high you think you want the ears, and over enough to be in the center of the bottom base arc. Repeat this on the other side too. Then, you will have your cat ear shape with the correct arc at the bottom to fit your headband.

Step Three: The next step is to extrude the new and final cat ear shape. I extruded mine to 0.5 inches. This was enough to fit on the headband and also give about .2 inches on each side of the ears when placed in the middle of the headband.

Step Four: After extruding to your desirable size to fit your headband, you will need to shell the inside of the cat ears to make them transparent enough for the ears to light up from the LED. In order to do this, you will need to click the Shell feature on the feature options. I shelled mine at about 0.07 inches to make it thin enough to be transparent.

Step Five: Once you are done shelling the cat ear, you are ready to print. You will print out the same cat ear shape twice to have the two cat ears needed for the project.

The cat ears will turn out amazing! Once you see the LEDs light up the ears, it will be totally worth it! It is really cool.

Step 6: Sixth Step: How to Wire and Attach the Battery and Wires to the Headband and LEDs

Sixth Step: How to Wire and Attach the Battery and Wires to the Headband and LEDs

The soldering part was probably the most tedious part of the project. This was only due to having to solder wires while the wires and resistor were on the headband. It was worth it thought to see the LEDs actually light up after. This project is really cool to see once the whole project is done. If done right, your light up cat ears will even look store bought.

Step One: Drill two small holes in one side of the headband for the prongs on the battery holder to go through. They will be pretty small holes. They won't be that big. Calculate the Ohms you will need to see what resistor to use. Use a piece of plastic to put between the positive battery piece that holds the battery. Putting a piece of plastic or paper under that piece will act as an on and off switch for the LEDs.

Step Two: The wiring will be in a parallel circuit, so you will have to solder another positive wire on the resistor that is soldered on the first LED. The wire soldered on the resistor will go to the positive prong on the other LED. You will be able to flatten the LED prongs so they aren't stabbing into your head. The ribbon will also help make the headband more comfortable, but the ribbon is in the next step.

Step Three: After soldering the positive wires, you will then solder a negative wire on one side to the negative prong on the battery holder. After that, the wire will make a U-Turn up to the first LED. You will use the soldering iron to melt off a piece of the plastic in the wire to solder to the first LED prong. The other LED prong will be soldered to the end of the negative wire. Once everything is soldered in the complete parallel circuit, it should work.

Step Four: Test the circuit by taking out the plastic and seeing if the LEDs turn on. If your circuit is right, they should light up. When you see them light up, it really is a confidence booster.

Your soldering work is now complete! It is all wired up now, so now it is time to add the ribbon and then finally glue the ears onto the finishing piece!

Step 7: Seventh Step: How to Wrap the Ribbon Around to Hide the Battery and Wires

Seventh Step: How to Wrap the Ribbon Around to Hide the Battery and Wires

The battery and LEDs are the only things that won't be covered really. The ribbon will help hide the wires and make the final project look more aesthetically pleasing. I used red stretchy ribbon I bought from Hobby Lobby, but you can really use whatever type of ribbon you desire.

Step One: Add glue on to the beginning ribbon to lay on the end of one side of the headband. Begin wrapping the ribbon on one side of the headband.

Step Two: As you wrap the ribbon around the headband, make sure not to cover the LEDs or the battery holder.

Step Three: Add glue wherever you think you need to to really hold the ribbon on the headband.

Step Four: Cut the ribbon when it gets to the final wrap at the other end of the headband. Add glue onto the ribbon for it to hold and stay wrapped together.

The ribbon process is now complete! the wires are hidden and the project looks a lot better and definitely more stylish. The only thing left to do is glue the cat ears on the headband!

Step 8: Eighth Step: How to Attach the Cat Ears to the Headband

Eighth Step: How to Attach the Cat Ears to the Headband

The project is almost completely finished! The only thing left to do is gluing the cat ears down to the headband. When doing this, you want to make sure that the pointed part of the ears in the middle are lined up with the LED inside, so this way the LEDs are in the middle of the ears. Also, make sure the ears are in the middle of the headband and not too far forward or backward. Another thing to look for is to make sure the ears are lined up so they don't look off.

Step One: Take your glue and apply to the edges of the bottom of the ear. Do this to both sides, but it is better to wait and do one at a time and wait till the first glued on ear is dry.

Step Two: Attach the ear to the headband where it needs to be.

Step Three: Wait for the glue to dry before applying the next ear. You can use a hairdryer if you want to make the glue dry faster.

Step Four: Add glue and attach the other ear on the other LED where it needs to be.

Step Five: Wait for that ear to completely dry before doing anything with them.

Once the ears are completely attached and dried on, your light-up cat ears are complete! I hope your ears turned out the way you wanted them to. I know mine turned out way better than I expected them to. I'm really proud of what I made, so I hope you are too!

Step 9: Conclusion


After following all of these steps, your light-up cat ears should have turned out amazing! I thought this project would be a fun and creative way to show off my unique sense of style. I hope you’re able to show off your unique style as well. This project was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I hope to everyone that tries to make their own feels the same way. I hope this Instructable was helpful to everyone. Thank you for taking the time to read through each step! To everyone who followed the step by steps and created their own pair of light-up cat ears, I hope they turned out beautiful and awe-inspiring. This concludes my light-up cat ears Instructable! Thank you again for reading!