Introduction: LED Slippers

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These LED Slippers are built to make your life easier. Never again will you need to use your cell phone display to navigate around your home in the night.

Read these imaginary testimonials from real customers:
  • "I was getting up to use the bathroom and didn't want to wake my partner, so I didn't turn on the lights. Not only were my feet cold, but I also stubbed 60% of the toes on my right foot."
  • "There I was, skipping along my darkened hallways, when all of a sudden I tumbled down the stairs. Wish I'd had these..."
  • "I was fighting ninjas in my pajamas, and I just couldn't see where my kicks were going."
They need these. You need these. The world needs these. And now you can make them for yourself. I gifted these to my coworker kazmataz, who had the dual problem of having cold toes and an inability to hit ninjas with her kicks. She was also nice enough to model them for the photo shoot, in between battling said ninjas of course.

Enough talk, let's light up some slippers!

Step 1: Tools + Materials

  • soldering iron
  • wire strippers/cutters
  • wire
  • hot glue gun
  • needle + thread
  • hobby knife
  • indelible marker
  • stiff wire (coat hangar)
  • scissors
  • Animal Print Slippers
  • 4x super-bright LED's
  • 4x LED holders
  • 2x button cell battery holders
  • 2x button cell batteries
  • 2x push-button toggle switch
  • heat shrink tubing
  • thin plastic sheet (like from a take-away container)

Step 2: Wiring

For the headlights I used an array of 2 LED's for each slipper, wired in parallel.

The super-bright LED was placed in the plastic holder, then wire leads were soldered to each end of the LED's. Heat shrink tubing was applied at the connection point, then heated to conform snugly.
This process was repeated for each LED.

While my soldering iron was on, I used the tip to burn an opening in my scrap sheet of plastic. The plastic I used was from a salad container I found at a grocery store. The plastic sheet was cut into a thin rectangle, the exact length was determined by placing it at the toe of the slipper to determine where the LED's would be placed.  Mark the locations of the LED's with a marker, then use your soldering iron to poke openings for your LED's. Don't install the LED's into the plastic sheet just yet!

After, the LED arrays were wired to the battery and then to the button switch. I've included my wiring schematic.

Step 3: Pull Wires

After wiring up the LED's it's time to pull them through the slippers. The slippers I used had a thick foam sole with plenty of room to hide all the wires along the inside edges without stepping on them. A small opening was made at the toe of each slipper, and another at the instep arch location inside the slipper. A stiff wire was inserted into the toe opening and fed through the inside edge of the slipper and out the instep opening. The LED clusters were wrapped around the stiff wire and pulled through, carefully massaging the wires along the way to ensure they didn't get caught and stayed along the perimeter of the foam. The process was repeated for the other slipper.

Step 4: Mount Lights + Place Switch

After pulling through the LED's they can be mounted on the plastic sheet. The LED's are held in place with a small dab of hot glue, then the plastic sheet with LED's was fed into the toe opening and positioned to have the LED's pointed correctly. At this point there is no opening for the LED's to shine through, we'll cover that in the next step.

Next, the button switch and battery was positioned at the arch instep, sandwiched between the foam and fabric with the top of the button exposed for each operation. Your button location may vary depending on your feet and desire.

Step 5: Haircut and Sew Closed

After the components have been inserted into the slipper it's time to make the headlight openings. Turn on your LED's and you should see their location beneath the fabric. Using scissors, cut a small opening at each LED location, then work the fabric so that the lights are exposed and poking out a little. Then give your slippers a haircut around the LED locations so that they can illuminate without getting covered over with fur.

With all the components installed and operating correctly all that's left is to sew up the openings you made earlier to secure everything in place.

Step 6: Wear and Shine!

These slippers are ready to go! Just step on the button switch with your toes before inserting your foot and your new slippers are ready for double duty: keeping your feet warm and showing you the way the refrigerator for that late night snack!

Did you make your own LED slippers? Share your version of this project in the comments below.

Happy making :)

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