LED Ideas for Melissa & Doug Costumes

Here are some quick ideas for jazzing up those nice Melissa and Doug costumes (fireman, policeman, etc). Many of these costumes have clear plastic shirt pockets with a name tag that shows through. This presents the perfect opportunity for using an LED backlight and stick-on letters to make a glow-in-the-dark name tag. Next, how about adding some blinky-blinky red LED's to the fireman's hat and policeman's badges?

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Step 1: Make Your Name Tags

This is pretty easy with the Adafruit.com LED Backlights. I am using the medium size LED backlight ($2.50) which is about 1-inch high. Then go to Walmart to get some stick-on letters, and stick them on the LED backlight, using a pencil line to allow straight alignment of the letters.

I am scotch taping the LED module onto the plastic name tag provided with the costume. I put two small holes into the plastic name tag to allow passing the positive and negative leads through to the back of the name tag. Then I am using a switched CR2032 button battery holder to provide power. In this example, I used conductive thread to make the wiring attachments.

Kids love the switch to turn the light on, so let 'em do it.

Step 2: Add Blinky-Blinky LED's to the Police Badge

For the moment, I am assuming the reader knows how to make a Blinky-Blinky circuit. Here I am using a Radio Shack parts (555 Timer IC, 1 Meg and 1k ohm resistors, 1 uf tantalum capacitor, mini on/off switch, PC board) to make a blinky circuit with two standard 5mm red LED's. I am using a CR2025 battery for power. Double sided foam tape attaches the circuit to rear of the badge.

Step 3: Add Blinky-Blinky LEDs to the Fireman's Hat

Same as Step 2 but now we add the LED's to the fireman's hat. Two approx. 1/8-inch holes are drilled into the hat for this purpose. Shown here with 5-mm red LEDs, but I may re-do the hat with larger 10-mm red LED's.

Step 4: Final Project View

Here's what the policeman's outfit looks like.

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