LED Formal Dress

About: ITLS student at Utah State University

Hi my name is Sarah Rasmussen and I am a Junior attending Utah State University! This is a project that I am making in my design thinking course! I decided to DYI a LED Dress. This is an older dress that I have had since my senior year of high school. I am participating in my universities beauty pageant and I wanted to give my old dress some extra flair instead of buying a new one! As you can see above my dress is black and lacy. My plan is to use conductive wire, sewable Adafruit NeoPixels and the circuit playground express. I was given $50 from the school and this is my budget and step by step instructions on how to make the LED twinkle dress!

Step 1: Research

Before I started constructing I did some brain storming and research about the project. My project was very cause and we were allowed to do whatever we wanted to do. I knew I wanted to use the Circuit Playground Express because I previously used it in an earlier project. These videos inspired my project. The plan is to connect all the pixels using conductive wire. The LED's on my dress will be on the inside layer of my dress then be covered with lace. When I turn on the Circuit Playground I want all NeoPixels to preform a rainbow pattern. As I walk I want the NeoPixels to twinkle white.

Step 2: Layout Plan

After I did research about what I wanted to do I laid out a plan. I measured my dress and figured out how many NeoPixels I wanted on my dress.

Step 3: 3D Test

After I laid out my plan I took 40 pieces of tape that acted as the Neopixels and had my boyfriend help me place them on my dress in random places. In class I had some friends mention that I probably would not want my hair to cover up a lot of the pixels so I refrained from putting many around my hair line. I did leave one or two however because if I decided to wear my hair up with this dress (highly unlikely) there would be no dark spots on my dress. I also avoided placing neopixels anywhere that would be uncomfortable AKA my buttocks. I decided to do a sit test and see how close I could put them so there was not a blank spot or I was sitting on them.

Step 4: Gather Materials

After I had done my 3D test I decided to order the materials so they would get to Logan on time. I was allowed to spend $50 from Utah States budget but the rest would have to come out of my pocket. My materials included:

Circuit Playground Express https://www.adafruit.com/product/3333. 24.95

40 Neopixels https://www.adafruit.com/product/1559 80.00

18ish Feet of wire. https://www.amazon.com/Adafruit-Silicone-Cover-St... 5.00

Lithium ion battery https://www.adafruit.com/product/2011 12.50

Dress form https://www.walmart.com/ip/Zimtown-Adjustable-Dre... 39.99

I am currently about 162.44 in total. 112.44 out of pocket. It will definitely worth it. I ordered almost everything from Adafruit.com but they were out of wire so I had to buy the wire on Amazon.com

“Norman’s Law: The day the product team is announced, it is behind schedule and over its budget.”

Step 5: Put Dress on Mannequin

Step 6: Started to Make a Prototype

I started off by doing my make code code and testing my code on my circuit playground. I also started to sew 4 LED lights onto a piece of felt so I can make a mini model of my dress as a prototype and to do some user testing with.



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    5 Discussions


    14 days ago

    Excellent idea! I love taking something that exists and making it better! Best of luck with the Pageant! Go Aggies!!! :)

    Alex in NZ

    14 days ago

    Brilliant idea. I love the "plain, elegant dress" with the hidden twinkly bits. Thank you for sharing your work, and good luck :-)

    1 reply