Fibre Optic Bracelet




About: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and likes to be in the centre of things, so you will see him in several of my instr...

In this instructable I will show you how to make a bracelet that lights up with an LED and optical fibre. I used organza braided with a silver chain; it looks nice whether the lights are on or off.  The bracelet is easy to make and uses material that can be found at a dollar store.

Step 1: What You Will Need

The majority of material for this project was found at a dollar store making this an inexpensive project with easy to acquire parts.  Since the dollar store doesn't have a website, I added links to other sites where you can find these parts.

  • Organza ribbon
  • LED Push Pins (If you can't find these, dollar stores often have other little toys that use LEDs)
  • Fibre optic strands (I got mine from a dollar store toy)
  • Chain from a necklace/bracelet etc
  • Jewellery clasp
  • (Optional) Jewellery end caps
  • Drinking straw
  • Binder clips
  • Duct tape and glue
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle nose pliers

Step 2: Preparing Organza

The organza ribbon that I had was 6 inches wide.  I took a piece about 10 inches long, cut it in half making pieces that were 3 inches wide.  Folded each piece in half twice along the length and stitched along the edge (this forms a loop inside to hold the optical fibre).

Step 3: Fibre Optic Strands

I used two bundles of optical fibres for the bracelet each containing about 20 strands each.  If you are using them from a fibre optic toy they are likely glued together at one end, try to keep the glue intact you can just take apart a piece with the 20 or so strands still glued together.  This is important since you need the ends of the strands to line up and sit flush against the light source.  If you are using optical fibre from a spool you will need to cut the pieces and glue them together at the end yourself.

As you can see from the first picture above, optical fibre conveys light along the strand and comes out at the end, but you don't see much light along the length of the strand.  For my bracelet I wanted to have light along the whole bracelet.  To this end, I took the two bundles of optical fibre that I will be using and cut a few strands shorter.  I also broke the inside of the strands with needle nose pliers forming cracks.  This produces more points of light along the fibre bundles (see second image). 

Step 4: Braiding

I then took the two bundles of optical fibre and inserted one each inside the inside layer of organza.  I clipped the two pieces of organza with the optical fibre and the chain together at one end.  I braided the three parts together along the length and then clip the other end with a binder clip.

Step 5: Preparing Light

I took apart the pushpin light, the LED, battery holder and switch are nicely contained in a compact part.  I fit a straw over the LED and trimmed it down to about 1cm in length.  Then glued it in place.

Step 6: Finishing Ends

Insert the two ends of the optical fibre bundles into the straw, make sure they sit flush against the LED, glue in place.  Wrap duct tape around the straw, the ends of the organza and chain. Make sure a piece of chain is sticking out so you can attach the bracelet clasp.  Wrap up the other end with tape as well (unless you have a bracelet end cap) and add a jump ring onto the chain for the clasp.

Step 7: Covering Up

The duct tape and the plastic of the light source look rather ugly, so I hid it with a couple of pieces of organza sewn into a loops that fit over them.  I made on piece that fit over the part were the straw is.  The second piece fits over the light and and clasp, this can slide over when you open the clasp to put the bracelet on.



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    18 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    You can also rub the fiber with a fine sandpaper - this also causes it to leak light.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I thought it was purple bacon before I read.... I guess I was hungry : )
    I like it, pretty little thingy! Thanks!

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Like the braid design and not just plain roll of organza around fiber optic - Great work, thanks for sharing!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is probably the most awesome use of fiber optic I have ever seen which is easy and simple :)
    Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    A proper engineering project designer you !!!!
    Plus it's always a good idea to spend mental time in a dollar store :-)


    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. Unfortunately, I am on a budget, so most of my project supplies will likely come from a dollar store.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    That may be how best to be creative.
    Budget be dam :-)
    Dollar stores carry neat stuff which is not available anywhere else.

    Favorited & voted for you..


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! I tried something similar, but with beads. Mine did not work out so well which is why I never published it. Using the fabric looks like it works well.

    Thanks very much for posting your brilliant Instructable. I want to make one soooo much, but I am not sure about how to do some of the steps you laid out- I don't quite know how to follow along. Is there any chance you might be able to make a YouTube video? I am going to read, and re-read your Instructable to see if I can catch on. One problem is that I don't have any experience with fibre optics. First I will go to the link you posted. You rock! Thanks again!

    2 replies

    Looking at it, there might be a bead cap big enough for one end, and then I wondered about making a cap out of fimo for the other end-actually, 2 fimo ends might work . what do you think?


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, making a cap is a great idea. It would look much better than the duct tape and you would only need to cover the light housing with the organza. I am not sure if I would be able to make a youtube video but optical fibres are pretty easy to work with. The important thing to know is that the ends need to sit flush against the light source to work best, think of them as tiny straws that convey light instead of fluid. Please feel free to ask more questions and I will try to clarify more in the instructable.