Introduction: E-textile Cuff Creation

Let's get started making some awesomely e-textile bracelets!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Gather up all of your materials that you'll need for this project.

  • a few pieces of craft felt
  • 8 alligator clips
  • 3V coin cell battery
  • Lilypad battery pack (non-switched)
  • thread
  • sewing needles
  • male and female snap
  • needle threader
  • conductive thread
  • scissors
  • Lilypad LEDs

Step 2: Create You E-textile Cuff Bracelet!

By this point, you've gone through our preliminary activities in the Maker Quest, you're ready to come into the SELF Design Studio to create your e-textile cuff.

Step 3: First Stitch - Battery Pack to the LED

For your first stitch:

Thread a piece of conductible thread onto your needle. You need about 1' of thread. Double the thread over and knot it securely.

Securely attach the battery pack to the strip of felt by looping it through one of the NEGATIVE (-) terminals. Loop it through this hole about 3 times and make sure it's tight.

Run a tight stitch to the end of the strip of felt and secure one half of the snap to the felt. Make certain you are sewing the snap with the correct side up. (Try snapping the other half of the snap to this part to make sure you are not sewing the snap to the felt upside down).

Step 4: Second Stitch - Battery Pack to the POSITIVE Terminals of Several LEDs

Thread another piece of conductible thread onto your needle. (about 2' of thread). Double over the thread and knot the thread tightly.

Now you'll start to sew your LEDs into a parallel circuit.

Starting at POSITIVE (+) terminal of the battery pack, loop the thread through the terminal 3 times and pull tightly.

Flip over the strip of felt and line up your LEDs on the felt. Make certain that the LEDs are positioned the same way (with the positive terminals lined up on the same side). Continue your stitch from the positive terminal through each of the 3 or 4 LED lights. Each time you loop through an LED, make sure to loop through the terminal 2 or 3 times and make sure it's tight.

It's a good idea to test your circuits each step of the way. Put your battery into the battery pack. Then, attach an alligator clip to the negative terminal of the LED and back to the negative terminal of the battery pack or to the snap you sewed on in the previous step. Do this for each LED you sew on.

Continue sewing down the positive terminals of the LEDs until you get to the last LED and tie off your thread and cut it off.

Make sure to test you circuit with alligator clips!

Step 5: Third Stitch: Sew the NEGATIVE Terminals of the LEDs Down

Thread another piece of thread (about 2' of thread), double it over and tie a secure knot at the end.

Starting at the NEGATIVE terminal of the first LED (closest to the battery pack), sew down all of the negative LED terminals in a row. Make sure to go through each terminal 2 or 3 times and make sure they are sewed down tightly.

Continue this stitch to the end of the piece of felt and sew on the other half of the snap. Loop it through the holes of the snap several times to make sure it's secure. This is important: Make sure you have sewed the snap onto the OPPOSITE side of the felt so that when you snap it together, it will form a bracelet.

Step 6: Snap It Together - Does It Work?

When you snap the two sides of the snap together, your LED lights should turn on!

Does it work?

  • Yes? You're awesome! Congrats on your first successful e-textile bracelet?
  • No? Oh man, don't fret. Check a few things on your e-cuff
    • Is your battery in the battery pack correctly? Try turning it upside down.
    • Check for any loose pieces of conductive thread that might be crossing. This is a common source of short circuits in e-textiles.
    • Neither of those work? Find one of our makerspace staff to assist you. We'll help you get it working!