Introduction: Wearable Electronics TfCD
Make your own wearable electronic tattoo. There are two ways of making an electronic circuit in a tattoo. We will explain both ways, one will be more flexible. The other will be sturdier and more weather proof.
With the first method the circuit will be made on paper and then placed on the body. This will make it make it more weather proof, however if overstretched the circuit can break. The second method will be first placed on the body before making the circuit, this will make it less breakable because it is more flexible. However, it is not weatherproof.
Step 1: What You Need
- Tattoo paper (Make sure you are not allergic to the tattoo paper)
- Bare Conductive ink (Water based)
- Coin cell battery
- aluminium foil
Step 2: Print on the Tattoo Paper
Design or download your favorite picture and print it on the tattoo paper.
We designed our own lamp using illustrator.
Step 3: Apply Conducitve Ink and Electronic Components
Apply the conductive ink on the template you printed. First make sure to do the components and after that has dried do the lines between the components. You can add the battry already in your circuit now or do that later, place aluminium foil (to get the best conductivity) on both sides of the battery attaching it with conductive ink. From these pieces of foil you can than draw a line from the aluminium to the rest of the circuit.
Let the ink dry for 15 minutes to make it conductive.
Step 4: Apply Adhesive Top Layer
When the ink is dry, apply the adhesive sticker over the template with the ink.
Make sure no air bubbles are present under the top layer and the template. Placing the adhesive paper on the printed paper can be difficult due to the components, if necassary cut before pasting around the elements to ensure a smooth layer. When you have applied the top layer, cut the tattoo to the appropriate size. After applying the layer and cutting it to size wait at least 1 hour before taking the next step.
Step 5: Apply on Your Skin
Remove the last layer of the adhesive sticker, the circuit will now be sticky. Apply the tattoo on your skin and press evenly. Take a cloth and make it a bit wet. Make sure it is only damp and not soaking in water, because the conductive ink is not waterproof. Place the cloth on the tattoo and when it is all wet, you can take the top layer of. Lastly, make sure that the ends of your design and conductive circuit are not attached to the skin, for the battery.
Step 6: Remove Paper Backside
Remove the white paper backlayer of the tattoo.
Step 7: Connect the Battery
Then you have your tattoo almost finished. The last part is the most difficult one, placing the battery in the circuit if you have not done that yet. Make sure to leave the ends of your design not sticky to your body. Use these ends to finish up with a battery, place some extra conductive ink on the battery attaching it with aluminium foil and then to the circuit. To tidy up the battery, apply a layer of adhesive top layer over the battery.
Let the ink dry for another 15 minutes.
Step 8: Done
Than you have a nice conductive tattoo.
Step 9: Second Method Introduction
.Print the images on the tattoo paper. Place the adhesive sticker of the tattoo paper on the printed part. Remove the top layer of the adhesive sticker. Place the sticker with the sticky part down on your body. Take a cloth and make it a bit wet. Make sure it is only damp and not soaking in water. Place the cloth on the tattoo and when it is all wet, you can take the top layer of.
Step 10: Another Approach
With a conductive ink tube or with a brush you can apply the conductive ink on the tattoo. Make sure to first put the components on the body, before placing the lines. Wait at least 15 minutes to let the conductive ink dry. This can be a bit more difficult, since you need to hold still for this amount of time.
The last part is the most difficult one, placing the battery in the circuit if you have not done that yet. Place the battery in place with some aluminium foil. From these pieces of foil you can than draw a line from the aluminium to the rest of the circuit.
If you want to make it stays in place, you can maybe place a new adhesive layer on top of it. However, we have not tested this with our tattoos, so it might be that it the extra layer makes it irritating to wear.
Step 11: Future Applications
- More advanced circuits can be place on the body, with more electronic components.
- When printing with conductive ink you can make stickers that can be distributed on large scale; Different colors of conductive ink are now introduced so printing images does not have to be done with one color.