EL Wire Stick Man Suit

About: Founder of Arduino For Autism, a club that teaches kids with Autism how to code and build Arduino projects.

This Halloween I made my first EL wire Stick Man Suit for the kids, overall this project was a fun build and the results are very satisfying. EL Wire can be a pain sometimes to solder, so consider doing less joints in your own design.

Lets get started with soldering EL Wire.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

In my opinion, AliExpress offers the best deals, but you get can faster shipping from ebay:

Supplies

Tools

Outfit

Step 2: Powering the Unit

I used a 11.1 v Lipo battery for a quadcopter. You can also use 7.4 Lipo battery or a bank of AA. Your EL wire should have come with a DC to AC converter. The EL wire converter will shut off if it doesn't get enough power.

When you plug in the battery to the converter it has a low squeal. I highly recommend testing your EL wire after every solder. Be sure to disconnect the battery when you are soldering.

Step 3: Plan Out Your Outfit

Be sure to plan out your outfit, draw it out on a piece of paper first and then lay it out to ensure you have it all connected right. Always test it after every solder.

I did one with 7 solder joints that could go on the clothes before you put them on. After realizing how much soldering there was I did another with just two solder joints that goes on after you have your outfit on and hides the excess in your sleeves and pants.

Step 4: Prepping EL Wire

EL wire can be one of the hardest things to solder, it generally has two protective sleeves that reveal two angel hair wires.

  1. Strip outside sleeve.
  2. Carefully strip the inside sleeve, this can sometimes strip off the two angel hair wires. Try adding a slice to the end and peeling it like a banana.
  3. Strip off the inside copper core's phosphorus coating.
  4. Bend inside copper core wire adding a little hook.

Step 5: Soldering in the Power

The converter converts our 12v DC to 110 AC with very low amperage, so it's safe. This means there is no polarity in the wire, but for good practice, you should always connect the same colour-coded wire to the copper core. I use two layers of shrink tube, a small one and large one with a cutoff matchstick for better stability.

  1. Strip your power wires to match the distance between the copper core and the angel hair wire.
  2. Put on the shrink tube.
  3. Wrap the shorter wire around the copper core.
  4. Wrap the longer wire around the outside with the angel hair wires.
  5. Solder both wires and putt on the shrink tube.

Step 6: Adding the EL Wire to Your Outfit

  1. Using clear scotch tape on the brooch pins to the EL where it should connect to your outfit.
  2. Pin it to your outfit as needed.
  3. Put black electrical tape over and coloured and connectors you don't want to see.

Step 7: Have Fun!

This project was so rewarding with such an awesome outcome, the kids loved it and so did all the other Trick or Treaters. It also looks great on camera at night.

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