Electric Sugar Skull

Introduction: Electric Sugar Skull

In this instructable you will learn how to make a sugar skull plushie with color changing LED eyes.


  • Round nose jewelers pliers
  • Scissors/snippers
  • Sewing needles


  • Fleece or bamboo felt fabric for the forms (not a lot is is a small project)
  • Color changing LED's (I use the color changing LED from microcondutivity. For this circuit you need two of the same kind of LED)
  • Conductive thread
  • Ring magnets
  • Sewing thread
  • Embroidery thread, fabric paint, pens (optional for decoration)
  • CR2032 Battery

Please note this project is not suitable for small children and small magnets are a very dangerous swallowing hazard.

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Step 1: Step 1: Cut Out the Fabric Ornament

I used a CO2 laser cutter to cut shapes out of polyester fleece. I also traced the path the circuit in conductive thread will be sewn.

Attached is a PDF file to cut out the form by hand as well as a .dxf file for those with access to a laser cutter.

Whether you use the paper pattern or a laser cutter and a dxf file you will need to cut three different pieces, the back, center and face.

If you cut it out using the paper pattern use a pencil or a piece of tailors chalk to trace the path of the circuit.

Step 2: Step 2: Place the LED's

Push the LED leads through the front of the form. Make sure the anodes are pointed toward the top.

(Leads are the anode and cathode wirey bits that stick out of the LED bulb)

The front of the form will not have the traced circuit.

Tip: Gently wiggle the leads through the polyester fabric. Leads are fragile and you can snap them off. Also be careful to make sure the leads do not touch eachother.

Step 3: Step 3: Prepare the LED for Sewing

Making sure the LED bulb is flush with the fabric gently bend the leads to the sides.

Use the round nose pliers to twist the leads into loops for sewing.

Step 4: Step 4: Sew the First LED

Sewn down to the LED leads using the conductive thread.

Stitch around the loop several times to make a good solid connection. Tie it off in a knot and cut the excess thread.

Tip: Use clear nail polish on the knot to avoid frey. Allow to dry.

Step 5: Step 5 : Sew to the Next Led

Sew from the first anode lead to the next anode lead with a medium running stitch. Loop around the second anode to make a good connection before sewing up to the center with a running stitch.

Step 6: Step 6: Add the First Magnet

Sew the magnet to the center top with the conductive thread. Placement matters. Match the center of the magnet with the circle on the pattern. Tie off the conductive thread once the magnet is secure.

Step 7: Step 7: Sew Down the Diodes

Sew from the first diode lead to the next diode lead with a medium running stitch. Loop around the second anode to make a good connection around each lead before sewing up to the etched dot. Stitch around the loop several times to make a good solid connection.

Tie it off in a knock and cut the excess thread.

Step 8: Step 8: Add the Back

Layer the back piece with the center piece with the battery circle facing pointed toward the left.

Step 9: Step 9: Sew Up to the Switch

Bring the conductive thread through the small hole next to the battery area. Sew through the top layer of the fabric WITHOUT going all the way through until you get to the magnet area.

Step 10: Step 11: Sew the Contact and the Magnet in the Switch

Sew the magnet to the contact pad with the conductive thread. Be sure magnets are not facing to repel each other.

Step 11: Step 11: Insert the Battery

Insert the battery... and you are lit!

Step 12: Step 12: Decorate the Front

Use embroidery thread to decorate the front layer. Embroidery thread works best with the fleece though other decorative mediums work such as fabric paints. Just make sure that anything you use is very dry before moving to the next step.

Step 13: Step 13: Putting It All Together

Take the decorated front and place it over the top two layers. Sew all three layers together along the edge using a blanket stitch and embroidery thread.

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