Introduction: LED Loot Llama

This is a great introduction to using conductive thread in a fun sewing project for kids and adults alike. The project will take about an hour from start to finish. Gather your materials and get set to create your own LED loot llama!

You will need:

  • Stitched llama cutting die (available online)
  • Die cutting machine
  • 3 different stiff felt sheets
  • Embroidery floss (114.2 cm/45 inches)
  • 2 cotton balls
  • 1 needle
  • 1 needle threader
  • Conductive thread (60.96cm/24 inches)
  • Micro Cord (15.24cm/6 inches)
  • 1 mini tassel
  • 2032 coin cell battery
  • Sewable 2032 coin cell battery holder with switch
  • Sewable LED
  • Optional: Glue gun
  • Scissors

Let's get started!

Step 1: Cut Out the Sewable Llama Pattern

Using a die cut machine, cut out the sewable llama die twice so that there will be a "front" and a "back" side. Using a different colored stiff felt sheet, cut out the loot sacks. Each part of the loot sack should be a different color.

Step 2: Hot Glue Sewable Electronic Components (optional)

This is an optional step but I find it helps hold the electronics nicely in place when sewing the conductive thread.

Select one of the llama felt cutouts and hot glue the battery holder on one side near the middle of the llama. Be careful not to cover the holes in which you will stitch your llama together later on.

Next, flip the llama felt cutout over to the other side and hot glue the LED in place. This will be the eye of the llama so carefully center it where you want the eye to be positioned on the llama.

*IMPORTANT: When hot gluing the components in place, make sure that the negative sewing terminal on the battery holder is aligned with a clear path to the negative terminal on the LED. Same for the positive side terminals. You do not want the conductive thread to "cross over" each other in order to connect to the proper terminal as that will cause a short circuit.


Step 3: Sew Using Conductive Thread

Measure and cut 24 inches of conductive thread. Using the needle threader (if needed), thread the conductive thread on the needle. Make a knot at the other end.

Now we are going to start sewing the circuit! Using the needle, loop the conductive thread around the negative (-) battery terminal tightly 5-6 times to ensure a good connection. Once this is done, sew a line to the negative (-) terminal on the LED sewable. Once you have sewn a line to the negative (-) LED terminal, loop the conductive thread 5-6 times tightly around this terminal. Tie a knot securely and cut the thread. I like to place a small dot of hot glue over the knot to ensure that it does not unravel while working on sewing/stuffing the llama.

Follow the same sewing process connecting the positive (+) terminal on the battery holder with the positive terminal on the LED sewable.

Place a 2032 coin cell battery in the holder and turn the switch on. The LED will light up!

Step 4: The Loot Sack

Next we will sew the loot sack and attach it to the llama.

Using the embroidery floss, thread your needle and tie a knot in the other end of the floss. When stitching the pieces together, start at the "back" of the loot sack so you will not see your thread knot in the finished product.

Note that I started stitching in the upper right hand corner of the loot sack, second hole down. Sew the two pieces together weaving in and out of the holes. Once you reach the other side of the loot sack, reverse your sewing and double back. This creates a more finished look between the sewing holes. If you prefer to only stitch it once, that will work as well too.

Note: Do not sew the top holes of the loot sack as these will be used to attach it to the llama.

Step 5: Sewing/stuffing the Llama Together

Next, start stitching together the two llama felt pieces with the loot sack. Align both llama felt pieces together and place the loot sack on top. Note that the battery pack should be on the "back" side of the llama so that you can change the battery easily when the project is completed. The LED will be on the "inside" of the llama when sewn together. Do not worry, the LED will shine through the felt when turned on.

Note in the picture that I started sewing the pieces together by sending the needle through the third hole from the right on top of the loot sack. This matters only if you are going to stitch and then reverse stitch. Otherwise, you can start stitching anywhere you like.

You are going to gradually sew and stuff the llama. Let me explain: Sew the llama loot sack on and continue up and around the llama head. Stop sewing at the base of the llama neck. Take part of the cotton ball and stuff this gently in the head/neck section. Careful not to jab the conductive thread.

Continue sewing and stopping to stuff as you go along. If you are double stitching the llama, once you reach the loot sack, reverse your stitch and go back around the llama. This will give it a more polished look but is not necessary. Stitch a knot when you are completed sewing the llama.

Step 6: Adding a Tassel

Take the tassel and place it on the micro cord. Place it around the neck of the llama and tie a knot in the back. Cut off the excess micro cord.

Step 7: Finished Llama

Turn on the battery holder switch and enjoy your LED Loot Llama!

Again, all the components can be purchased at local craft stores or online. However, if you don't want the hassle I am selling ready-made-kits on Ebay that include everything you will need to successfully make this project (minus the glue gun, scissors, and a 2032 coin cell battery). I will be available to answer any question you have as you complete the LED Loot Llama project.

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