Introduction: Light-Up Backpack Charm - Star

About: I used to teach middle school science, but now I run my own online educational science website. I spend my days designing new projects for students and Makers to put together.

Backpack charms are all the rage - they add style and personalization to any backpack. By adding a light, the backpack wearer can be seen on the trail or use it as a handy source of light to dig small objects from the bottom of their pack!

Why not make your charm unique and useful? This project takes under an hour and requires just basic sewing skills to complete. Let's go!

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Other Supplies:

  • Felt in 2 or 3 colors
  • Keychain Ring (1 inch or larger)
  • Needle and thread (that matches the main felt color)
  • Embroidery Floss/Thread (accent color)
  • Clear nail polish (to seal knots)

Step 1: Gather Supplies & Print Template

Print and cut out the template shapes then trace the shapes onto the felt. (The shape with the two attached stars, pictured in white, should be in contrast to the star shapes, pictured in purple.)

Use your template to cut the shapes from the felt.

Step 2: Tack the Components in Place

Look at the diagram on the template, and place your components where shown.

Use a needle and thread that matches the color of the felt to tack the components in the place where the arrows show in the image.

Now is a good time to double-check that the components are correct. Compare your work to the photo, and be sure the "ground" holes (the ones with the white background) are in the correct orientation.

Step 3: Sew the Circuit: Part 1

Using conductive thread, stitch a secure connection to the battery holder's positive hole.

Tip: Use a series of finishing knots for this step. To create a finishing knot, pass the needle back through each stitches loop just before you tighten the stitch. This will help prevent your knot from untying.

Sew a running stitch to the switch's bottom hole and secure with multiple finishing knots. Trim the thread.

Starting with a new piece of thread, stitch a secure connection from the switch to the LED using the same method.

Step 4: Sew the Circuit: Part 2

Starting with a new piece of thread, connect the negative hole of the LED to the negative hole of the battery holder.

Tip: Be sure that the thread doesn't go underneath the switch component so that the metal pads are not connected accidentally.

Test your circuit by sliding the switch - you should see it light up!

When all connections are working, seal your knots with clear nail polish or a similar adhesive like super glue.

Step 5: Assemble the Felt Pieces

Place the small star over the LED and switch so that the dome of the LED pokes through the hole in the felt. Place the interior star (the one with the rectangle on the top) underneath the main star, aligning it with the main piece. Attach the keychain around both pieces, just like you would add a key to the loop (open the keyring slightly and slide the felt through until the keyring is completely around the felt, just as you would add an actual key.)

Step 6: Decorate the Star

Now it's time to decorate! Use embroidery floss to add stitches and embellishments to the purple star piece.

Tip: Embroider the top star before connecting it to the project for easy stitching.

Test your circuit one more time before the next step.

Step 7: Stitch It All Together

Whip stitch around the edge of your star to hold the project together.

Tip: To do a whip stitch, insert your needle through the same side of the felt for each stitch, and allow the thread to wrap over the edge.

Add a few more stitches to tack the top star in place.

Step 8: Turn It on and Use It!

Turn the switch on, and add it to your backpack. You're ready to use your stylish and useful project. :)