Introduction: Plushie LED Ornament

For people who never picked up a needle before this will take about an hour and a half. For folks with a bit of hand sewing experience, it will take about 30 min.

I made a bunch the other day with kids at Curiosity Hacked in Oakland it was quite fun.

This instructable is a mix of photos and illustrations.

To make this project you will need these materials:
Conductive thread
sewing thread
embroidery thread, fabric paint, pens (optional for decoration)
Fabric ornament form (including bit for battery)
CR2032 Battery
sewing needle (large-eyed)
Small round neodymium ring magnets (You could also use nickel plated snaps)

And these tools:
Needle nose pliers (round nose are best)

Step 1: Cut Out the Fabric Ornament

I used a CO2 laser cutter to cut the ornament out of polyester fleece. I also traced the path the circuit in conductive thread will be sewn.

Attached is a PDF file to cut out the form by hand as well as a .dxf file for those with access to a laser cutter.

Whether you use the paper pattern or a laser cutter and a dxf file you will need to cut out one ornament piece and one battery pouch piece.

If you cut it out using the paper pattern use a pencil or a piece of tailors chalk to trace the path of the circuit.

Step 2: Place the LED

Push the LED leads through the front of the form. Make sure the anode is on the left.

(Leads are the anode and cathode wirey bits that stick out of the LED bulb)

The front of the form will not have the traced circuit.

Tip: Gently wiggle the leads through the polyester fabric. Leads are fragile and you can snap them off. Also be careful to make sure the leads do not touch.

Step 3: Prepare the LED for Sewing

Making sure the LED bulb is flush with the fabric gently bend the leads to the sides.

Use the round nose pliers to twist the leads into loops for sewing.

Step 4: Sew the First Magnet in Place

Place the first neodymium magnet to the inside of the top of the ornament.

Using conductive thread to sew the magnet in place evenly along all sides.

Tip. tie a knot in the end of the thread and snip the end. Once you have taken the first stitch you can use a dab of nail polish to seal the knot.

Step 5: Sew From the Magnet to the LED Lead

Continuing with the same thread from the magnet, sew down to the LED lead using the conductive thread. Follow the lightly etched lines in the fabric form or the guides from the paper pattern.

Use small stitches to keep things in place.

Step 6: Connect to the LED

Stitch around the loop several times to make a good solid connection with the conductive thread.
Tie it off in a knock and cut the excess thread. Tip: Use clear nail polish on the knot to avoid fray. Allow to dry.

Step 7: Sew a Contact Pad on the Battery Holder

Sew a contact pad on the battery holder pouch with conductive thread. Avoid too much bulk. Follow the small circle on the pattern. Bigger will be bad.

Step 8: Place and Sew the Second Magnet

Place the 2nd magnet on the inside bottom of the form using conductive thread. Then sew up to the LED lead following the etched guide lines.

Step 9: Connect to the Second LED

Stitch around the loop several times to make a good solid connection. Tie it off in a knock and cut the excess thread.

Step 10: Sew on the Battery Pouch

On the inside of the ornament, match up the pouch with the bottom of the ornament form. Using regular thread sew with a whip stitch until securely closed.

Step 11: Turn on Your Circiut and Decorate

Place the battery in the battery pouch seating the battery firmly between the contact pads. Fold to close and turn on your ornament... and of course decorate!!!

I have used embroidery thread to decorate it. But you could use fabric paint, beads or fabric pens to decorate your ornaments. Avoid metal beads and decorates as you may short you circuit.

Tip: Make sure you place the positive side of the battery toward the lager ornament form.

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