EL Panel Hat (aka Helm Biochip Hat)




About: I graduated from Cardonald College with an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design in 1999. He has worked as a Tattoo Artist, Community Artist, and Freelance Artist ever since. I like making instructables that ...


I have been a fan of the comic 2000ad since i was 7 and for a while now i have been wanting to make Helm, a biochip from Rogue Trooper and attach it to a hat (in truth i want to make Gunner and Bagman as well but this was a good place for me to start)

HOWEVER please don't let my comic fandom blind you as in this instructable I am going to show you how to make a simple light up panel for a hat that you can change the image to suit your mood.

Step 1: What You'll Need


A hat

Im using a one with a fold up but i imagine it could be done with any hat that is double lined (by that i mean it has space inside between the two layers of material)

EL Sheet

Electro luminescent sheet. This is just a 6 x9 cm sheet that i bought on line with the appropriate power source. For both it cost me £12. The most technical part of this instructable is buying the stuff.


Im using black here but any colour will do as we are going to cover it in..

Gaffa Tape

Again, Im using black so it matches the hat but you can use what ever colour


Or clear plastic of any sort. (im only using acetate because i want to print out the biochip design for accuracy)

Needle and thread

Again im using black for consistency




craft knife and something to cut on

Ruler (not pictured)

Step 2: Make Your Frame

Draw round your EL sheet and cut it out.

Mark about 0.5 com in from the edges and using your craft knife cut out the inner rectangle. DONT throw the inner bit away as you will use it later.

Step 3: Taping It Up

Now that you have your frame cut some lengths of gaffa tape,

2 x roughly 9 x 1.5 cm

1 x roughly 6 x 1.5 cm

1 x roughly 0.5 cm

I find the best way to do this is to peel a strip lay it lightly on a cutting mat and cut it with the craft knife.

Important note: before you start this next part make sure your EL sheet has the illuminating side pointed in the right direction.

Take the tape and attach it to the cardboard frame so it runs flush with the inner edge and holding the EL sheet in place fold the tape in half so that it leaves a lip of gaffa tape around the edges of the frame/EL sheet.

Repeat this for the other 3 edges leaving the short edge without the power connector open.

use the small piece of tape to cover the last bit of the card frame (not sealing the open end)

Step 4: Sewing It Up

Position your panel in the desired location of your hat and cut a small incision through one side of the hat so you have access to the inside gap and feed the power source in until the connector is flush with the hole.

Now sew the panel into place going through the gaffa tape lip on the 3 edges.

Step 5: Light It Up

cut some of your plastic into slightly smaller than 6x9 cm pieces and using the spare bit of cardboard that you didn't throw away as a guide to what space you have available draw up what ever design you want.

Or alternatively print it out on some acetate (as i did) and cut it to size

you should be able to feel the on/off switch through the material of your hat and there you go.

Please note the photos are taken with a camera phone and don't do the luminosity of the sheet justice




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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Oh, cool, I haven't read Rogue Trooper for years!

    2 replies

    3 years ago

    This nice, I've wanted to do something like this sense i saw a light up ID badge on Dr. Who

    1 reply