This is a fun, simple cosplay project I designed for a kids superhero costume workshop. Using conductive fabric tape and thread, an incomplete electrical circuit between the small LEDs and the battery pack is created, and the action of touching the gap in the circuit to the complimenting bracer with a strip of conductive material completes the circuit and the lights light up.
You don't need any sewing skills to make this project and can just use hot glue, but I find that stitching creates a more secure and durable item.
See other two Instructables here:
Step 1: Gather Materials
- Fun Fabric (any kind you like, so long as there are no conductive fibers. Most metallic looking costume fabric does not actually contain any metal, but check the label on the bolt when you are buying it!)
- Heavy duty fusible interfacing or Felt
- Conductive Thread and or Conductive Fabric Tape (I used both)
- LEDs (these come in a variety of colors and I like them because they lie flat and have a built in resistor)
- 2032 Coin Cell Battery and Battery Holder
- Needle and Thread
- Sewing Pins
- Sewing Machine(optional)
- Hot Glue Gun (optional-ish)
Step 2: Layout and Secure Components
This is the simplest type of circuit which just requires creating a positive trace and a negative trace connecting the LEDs to the battery. Leaving a gap in the positive trace crates a switch which is off until the conductive tap from the second bracer is touched to bridge the gap an d turn on the LEDs.
- Lay down first layer of conductive tape and arrange LEDs on top of the tape aligning the positive sides
- Lay down second layer of conductive tape to secure the LEDs in place. You can also run a conductive thread between the two layers of tape tying a knot in each LED hole. You don't have to add the thread, but it makes for a more secure connection. Make sure to leave a gap between the battery holder and the LEDs on the positive trace.
- Run the negative trace using the same two-layer method and connect the end to the negative terminal on the battery holder.
Step 3: Cover With Fabric
Here are two examples of how to hide your components.
1. Cut cover fabric big enough to wrap around and completely cover the heavy duty fusible interfacing, cut a hole in the fabric to allow the gap in the positive trace of conductive tape to show through, use iron to secure fabric to the interfacing being careful to avoid ironing the LEDs, pin and sew or hot glue the fabric on the back.
2. Another option is to use felt, which comes in many fun colors as well, and allow the LEDs to be seen when they are not lit up. Add some drops of hot glue between the LEDs along the conductive tape traces and fold over the felt to hide the conductive tape. Cut away a piece of felt to reveal the gap in the positive trace.
Step 4: Make Second Wrist Bracer
The second bracer is significantly simpler.
- Cut fabric so that it is big enough to wrap around and fully cover the interfacing or felt
- Sew or hot glue it in place
- Add a strip of conductive fabric tape along the outside
- Add some Velcro
- ...and you're done!
For the felt version, just cut a piece, fold over, and attach the conductive tape
You can also just add a piece of tape to your clothes or skin as alternate contact points.
Step 5: Power and Play!!!
Install the battery and complete the circuit with the conductive tape on the second wrist bracer, or any conductive metal, to light it up.