Introduction: Stuffed Bunny Using CPX Sequences
Make your own stuffed animal or soft sculpture that reacts when tilted in various angles, to loud sounds, and to lights, by using LEDs. This object uses the Circuit Playground Express (CPX) by adafruit.
Fabric (cotton is easy to work with. I encourage you to dye it, paint on it, of have a patterned fabric to add extra interest)
Embroidery floss (any colors)
Some stuffing (you can stuff your toy with any material, not necessarily stuffing; for instance, old rags, shredded paper, rice)
Circuit Playground Express (CPX) by adafruit
A computer to code on MakeCode https://makecode.adafruit.com/
Draw the shapes to make your stuffed toy. (HINT: Fold your fabric in half and draw the shapes on the back side of the fabric. Use the fold as an edge of your shapes so when you cut it you have a front and a back that are attached together already.)
I traced some different sized circular shapes to make the body, head, and arms of the stuffed bunny. I drew some ears coming off the medium size circle meant for the head.
Cut out the shapes using your fabric scissors. (HINT: Use sewing pins to hold the fabric together as you sew.)
Start stitching your patterns together inside out with a whip stitch. To do so, hold your front and back together (you can again use sewing pins to make it sturdier), take your thread and needle (with a knot at the longer end of the thread) and pull through both the pieces of fabric. Start on one of the ends of the folded edge. A whip stitch consists of going back and forth both pieces of cloth. After you pull through, go back and forth both pieces of cloth, stitching close to the edge of the fabric. Keep going, leaving an opening of about an inch.
Turn your patterns inside out, having now the right side of the fabric visible. You’ll notice the stitches are hidden now.
Here I decided to embroider some decorative elements such as the eyes and nose to the bunny. This can even be done before cutting out the shapes if you want to do more intricate embroidery and would want to use an embroidery hook. Take your stuffing and stuff your shapes (you can use a pencil to push the stuffing if it gets hard around edges). For the body of my bunny, I inserted the battery pack of the CPX and left poking outside the wires.
After your shapes are stuffed, close them up with an invisible whip stitch. If you have a leftover thread, re-thread your needle; if not, make sure you make a knot from your past thread and have a new one. To begin the stitch, bring the needle up through one of the edges, meaning one of the fabric pieces (get close to the previous stitch). This way your knot will be hidden. Then go to the opposite side, meaning the other fabric, and slide the needle through so you pick up a little of the fabric, just as you would do in a running stitch. Next, go directly across to the other side and do the same thing. Repeat this until you close off your shape, adding more stuffing if needed. The trick here is that you are sewing back and forth both sides of the fabric, meaning what is the front and the back of the toy.
Start assembling the shapes (body parts) together just by stitching back and forth the pieces with tight stitches.
You can take a break from sewing and make sure your code is ready. I added 4 different features with different color patterns and sounds. When turned on, a sound goes off and the rainbow pattern is shown. If the bunny is titled up, down, left, and right, the CPX shines different colors of LEDs and makes the sounds described in the image. When a bright light is flashed on the bunny, such as a flashlight if one is looking for it, a bright white light will reflect back and then this sort of star pattern will shine through. It also makes a different light pattern when it hears a loud sound.
Once your code is ready to go, disconnect your CPX from the computer and it can now be attached to your toy. To make this easier, I attached it onto a smaller piece of cloth, larger than the CPX. I went through the circular holes around the circumference of the CPX and basically couched it onto the cloth. Couching is a similar stitch to the whip stitch where you go back and forth the object, in this case the CPX, looping your thread tightly so the object is secured in place.
I then embroidered, using a running stitch, the cloth with the CPX attached onto the body of the bunny.
I decided to cover the CPX so the bunny was less distracting. The fabric on top still lets the light shine through. I cut out a bigger piece of fabric, around one finger wider in circumference than the CPX. On that extra half an inch piece, I cut down short slivers into the fabric, that way this new circle can bend and I can stitch it easier. I went around again with another running stitch in yellow thread.
I had cut out a whole in the back of the bunny to have access to the on/off switch of the battery. I just cleaned it up and decided to couch the extra wires coming out of the battery so they wouldn't be hanging.
I then cut out a smaller rectangular piece to use as a flap to cover the switch. I embroidered the bunny’s tail and then attached it onto the back of the bunny, covering the wires and the on/off switch of the battery. I did this by folding about half an inch of the top of the rectangle and doing a running stitch on the folded edge.
Now the bunny is all ready to play with!