Open Heart LilyPad Arduino Brooch




Introduction: Open Heart LilyPad Arduino Brooch

About: Making and sharing are my two biggest passions! In total I've published hundreds of tutorials about everything from microcontrollers to knitting. I'm a New York City motorcyclist and unrepentant dog mom. My wo…

Here's how to combine Jimmie Rogers' Open Heart Kit with a LilyPad Arduino microcontroller board to make an animating LED heart brooch.



Open Heart kit or make your own
LilyPad Arduino
LilyPad AAA power board
conductive thread
scraps of fabric
embroidery floss
hot glue/epoxy
safety pin or pinback
stranded wire

USB cable regular to mini
LilyPad programmer
soldering iron
wire strippers
hot glue gun
wire snippers
sewing needle

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Step 1: Assemble the Open Heart

Assemble your Open Heart according to the instructions on its website. Make some fancy animations using Jimmie's easy Flash program that generates the Arduino code you need. No programming experience required!

Step 2: Assemble the Heart/lilypad Sandwich

Cut out two pieces of scrap fabric (I used ultrasuede because it's thick without being too fuzzy) and sandwich them between the heart and the LilyPad. They help insulate the various conductive materials involved.

Step 3: Sew the Sandwich

With the heart and Arduino back to back, figure out which pins on the heart line up with which pins on the arduino, and write them down. You'll need to plug those into Jimmie's code generator when you program the board.

Sew those same pins together, hiding the knots between the two fabric layers so they don't flop around and short out your board.

Step 4: Adding Power

Because I chose to dangle my heart from the power source, I needed to make the positive power lead be on one side of the board and the negative be on the other. To do this, I first tried using conductive thread, but had a short I couldn't find, so I decided to redo it with just a little bit of insulated stranded wire. Solder a small piece from the + on the LIlyPad across the board to one of the analog inputs.

I used two more pieces of stranded wire to make the dangly connections between the battery board and the main board. I had to bridge the + on the battery board over to one of the unused pins on the opposite end of the battery holder to keep the dangly wire supports symmetrical. I used conductive thread for this; you can see it on the back of the battery board.

Step 5: Pin It Up

I used hot glue, and we'll see how long it holds, but you should really use epoxy to attach a pinback or, in my case, safety pin to the back of the battery holder. Make sure it's not touching any of the metal or conductive parts on the battery holder, or insulate those with more hot glue or epoxy. Use a little bit of embroidery floss to stabilize the top end of the dangly part, as shown in the picture.Pin it on, and you're done!

With this configuration, you have access to the programming pins on the LilyPad to change the animations any time you like.

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    6 years ago

    Nice! please let me know....... any fire risk?


    Amazing combination!!
    I love the t-shirt. Color Contrast with back ground and text is beautiful.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    I love the shirt. yahoo sn: one_foot_in shoot me a hello and let me know where you got it? :)


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You should check out to create your own custom t-shirt. We have a state-of-the-art design studio offering tools and features giving you the capability to upload and edit your own design, or use one of our custom design templates. Look at some of our design ideas if you need help getting started. GIve it a try!


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    It's from my undergrad school, we only did a limited run!


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    There are places that will make short runs of one or more of a shirt you'd like:

    Like Vista Print for instance.

    Custom Ink
    is another

    OR you could type in T-shirt into the search engine here, and do your own :-)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    God that bekathwia is cute. She is like a little highly-skilled, tool using ginger dinosaur.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Great project.  I just finished a project that yours helped inspire.  Thanks for the ideas.