Light-Up Superhero Cape

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About: Creative Technology and Design

I designed this cape for a kids super hero costume workshop. The pattern for the cape itself is pretty simple, and the electronic components do not require any soldering, which is ideal when working with kids!

See the other two iIstructables here:

Light-up Wrist Bracers

Light-up Superhero Belt Buckle

Step 1: Gather Materials and Equipment

For the base of the cape, you can use any fabric you like, though know that stretchy fabrics are really a pain to work with and result in a messier final product.

Materials:

  1. First Fabric 1.5 yards
  2. Second Fabric 1.5 yards
  3. Felt, a piece big enough to fit your logo on
  4. Fuse-Bond, a piece bigger than your logo
  5. Fusible Interfacing, a piece bigger than your logo
  6. Thread that matches your fabric
  7. Paper print out or drawing of the logo you want to use
  8. Glue Stick
  9. Lilypad LEDs (they come in a variety of colors)
  10. Lilypad Button
  11. Lilypad Coin cell battery holder
  12. Lilypad Twinkle
  13. Conductive Thread
  14. Flexible Wire

Equipment:

  1. Hot glue gun
  2. Large Eye Sewing Needle
  3. Sewing Machine
  4. Wire Strippers
  5. Alligator Clip hook-up wires

Step 2: Measure and Cut

To cut out the pattern of the cape you will first need to take two measurements on yourself.

1) Measure from the base of your neck to were you want the cape end and add one inch. This is the cape length measurement.

2) Measure from armpit crease to armpit crease going around the back of your neck. Divide this measurement by 4 and then add one inch. For example, if your measurement is 20" /4 = 5 + 1" = (6")

Fold fabric in half and add a couple pins.

  1. mark the length measurement along the folded edge and draw a line across the fabric
  2. mark the 2nd length( about 6") starting on the folded edge and the again on the opposite corner
  3. draw a straight line in between the two marks
  4. add a few pins along the lines to hold fabric in place and cut

Repeat on second fabric if they were too thick to stack and pin together.

Step 3: Pin and Sew Panels Together

  1. Place the large triangular piece of fabric face up on the table
  2. place both smaller triangles face down aligning the diagonal cuts with the large piece.
  3. pin along the diagonal outside edges
  4. repeat on second fabric
  5. sew the diagonal outside edges together
  6. repeat with second fabric

Step 4: Make Symbol

For the symbol, you will be cutting and assembling layers of fabric using fuse-bond and fusible interfacing. The process will vary a bit depending on how complex your symbol is.

For the "Bat Symbol" this is the process:

  1. Iron on Fusible Interfacing to the back of a piece of base (gold/yellow) fabric that is bigger than the outline of the symbol. This will add some stiffness to the fabric and keep it looking sharp.
  2. lightly tack the paper print out of the symbol to the back of base fabric making sure to only place glue outside of the symbol on the paper.
  3. Cut out the base shape from the base fabric, and save the paper piece.
  4. Iron fuse bond to the back of a piece of the second fabric (black) that is bigger than the logo part of your symbol.
  5. Leave paper on fuse-bond and use glue stick to glue the paper symbol to the fuse-bond paper. If you have a an intricate design, make sure to glue it really well and let dry before cutting.
  6. Cut the logo out of second fabric and peel off both layers of paper.
  7. Carefully place the logo on the background and iron in place

Step 5: Layout and Secure Components

I used the same components for this and the belt buckle we made in the kids workshop I ran. If you just want the lights to turn on and off without flashing, you can omit the LilyPad Twinkle board and just hook up the button between the positive side of the LED strand and the positive side of the battery holder. Or, you can omit the button and hook the battery straight to the LilyPad Twinkle board and the symbol will light up and blink constantly when you turn it on, but the battery will die faster.

The circuitry is pretty simple here, but it is essential that the "wires," which are conductive thread here, don't cross each other and short out the circuit. If you are having difficulty getting it to work, you can just use the flexible wire and wrap and twist them around the contact holes of all the components. Your symbol with look a little more bumpy if you use wire.

  1. Set all the components on top of your assembled symbol and decide where you want your lights to show through.
  2. Place felt over the components.
  3. feel where the LEDs are with your finger and mark them with a sharpie
  4. Tack LEDs in place with hot glue
  5. Attach all negative sides of LEDs with conductive thread
  6. Attach all positive sides of LEDs with conductive thread
  7. Test connection with alligator clips and decide which blink pattern you like if you are using a Twinkle Board
  8. Attach positive and negative threads to the appropriate terminals

Step 6: Attach Symbol and Button

  1. Measure two lengths of wire long enough to run from the middle of your symbol to wherever you want the button to be on the cape add 2" and cut.
  2. Using wire strippers, strip at least 1" of the coating off both ends of the lengths of wire.
  3. Thread one end of a wire through one of the contact holes in the button. Wrap around several times and twist a few time to tighten it.
  4. Repeat with other wire on other hole
  5. Connect other end of one wire to the positive contact on the battery holder
  6. Connect other end of second wire to the positive contact hole on the LilyTwinkle, if you are using it, or the positive contact hole on the end of the LED string if not
  7. Place felt pad with all the components to the back of the fabric symbol making sure that you feel where the LEDs are and that they are where you want them to be.
  8. Install battery and press the button to make sure the circuit works. If The LEDs don't show through the fabric well, poke holes to let them shine through.
  9. Hot glue the felt pad to the back of the fabric symbol.

For now, coil wire up and pin it to the back of the symbol stack

Pin the symbol the the assembled cape piece that you want to be the outer layer.

Sew the symbol to the cape with a stitch as close to the edge as you are able. Make sure to leave an opening, I like it at the bottom best, so you can get the battery in and out.

Step 7: Assemble Cape and Add Tie

You are almost done!

  1. Place the piece of fabric that is the inside of the cape on a table with right, or pretty, side facing up.
  2. Place the cape piece with the attach logo on top with the symbol facing down, sandwiched in between.
  3. Pin along both diagonal edges and bottom of cape
  4. Sew these three edges together leaving the top open

If you are installing a button: with the cape still inside out, snip a small hole in the cape fabric behind the symbol, and thread the button and wires through, then make a small snip in the fabric where you want the button to be and thread the button and wires back through.

Turn the cape right sides out and iron the bottom and side edges to make the nice and crisp.

sew or hot glue the button in place so it doesn't slip back through

For the tie, cut a strip of fabric that is 4" wide and as long as you want it to be. I like to tie my cape under my arms and behind my back because it is safer in case it gets caught in something and it doesn't choke me the whole time I'm wearing it. Sew the tie to the top of the cape, and your done! :)

Step 8: Have FUN!

If you make one of these, I would love to see it! :)

Halloween Contest 2018

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Halloween Contest 2018

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