I got the idea for this project here but added a small twist to make it machine washable. Being the practical person that I am, I just couldn’t do it any other way.
Step 1: What You Will Need
- a hoodie (duh!)
- electroluminescent wire (also known as EL wire) with inverter and batteries. You should be able to get about 2 meters (at least 6 feet) for less than $20 including the inverter if you buy it as a kit. The wire I used is 3 mm thick and I chose the aqua/turquiose color to get a nice Luke Skywalker kinda glow. You can also go full Vader with a red one if that’s your thing, or choose any of the other color options available.
- velcro (a.k.a. hook and loop) - try and get it in a color that matches the hoodie. I used white because I figured it would reflect the light, making it look brighter and more diffused.
- fishing line or something else that is preferably strong and clear (as in see-through). The one I used is 0.30 mm thick.
- you’ll also need measuring tape and a sewing needle. No special skills or sewing machine needed.
Step 2: Measure and Cut the Velcro
Measure the inside of the hood and cut the velcro to size. You can use multiple smaller pieces if you don’t have one piece that is long enough. If you have a hoodie with zippers, you can use a longer piece of velcro attached along the inside of the zipper to make the amount of light adjustable.
Step 3: And the EL Wire
Measure the EL wire and cut it to size. If it’s only in the hood, leave it longer than the velcro so that the end of the wire can be tucked nicely under your hoodie. I left about 10 cm extra on each end. The inverter should come with a long enough cable to reach the EL wire from one of your pockets. If not, you can leave the EL wire longer as needed.
Step 4: Sew Things Together
Stitch the soft half of the velcro to the inside of the hood (and along the zippers if you want to). Using the soft half here means it shouldn’t stick to anything in the washing machine. Leave it a little bit loose, because if it’s stitched too tightly, it will wrinkle. (You can easily readjust the tightness while you’re sewing, so don’t worry about that.) Stitch the other half of the velcro (with the hooks on it) to the EL wire. Make it tight enough so that the wire is held in place and doesn’t slip too much, and loose enough that the velcro strip can be flattened out. Stitching as closely around the wire as possible without piercing it will help.
Step 5: Put It on and Test It
Connect the inverter to the EL wire and turn it on. If it doesn’t work, check the batteries. If the hoodie is long enough to cover the cable, you can put the inverter in your pants pocket. Otherwise you can cut a small hole in one of the pockets on your hoodie for the cable to go through.
Step 6: Wear It With Pride!
Don’t be one of those people who make something this cool and then never wear it in public! What’s the worst thing that can happen? If you feel uncomfortable about this, consider it an opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone. (Something we all should do from time to time.) Think of it this way: people who already know you will not change their opinions of you significantly because of this. Everyone else will either not care about it too much, or they will find it cool too.