Note: I created this tutorial last Sunday, sitting cross-legged on my bed, taking one-handed photos with my phone, all with anywhere from 1 to 3 cats within arms-reach at all times. (Cat-proximity is not relevant to the project but, I just thought you should know.)
This is a way to power some LED necklaces with a less-bulky battery pack. This needle felted battery holder attaches at the back of the necklace, which also makes it easy to have a light-up jewelry piece that only turns on when it's clasped.
If you are as excited about the possibilities of mixing needle felting, the most addictive fiber art on the planet, and soft circuitry, here's a nice little exploration.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- A hunk of wool roving in whatever colors you like - less than 1/4 oz
- 1 or 2 felting needles
- 1 piece of foam
(Bekathwia has a great starter kit for sewing LED circuits. She's the one who taught me!)
- a 3v coin cell battery
- Conductive thread - about 24"
- a Sewing Needle
- 2 Figure-Eight Eye Rings
Step 2: Wait!! Read Me!!
Before you start, you need to know:
Felting needles are sharper than the sharpest sharp thing you can think of. While felting, always watch your hands and fingers to avoid boo-boos. Make sure your pokes are gentle, too.
(Image used with permission from ifeltawesome.com... that's me!)
Step 3: Make Two Felt Discs
Note: For more detailed felting techniques, tips, and tricks, feel free to check out the non-electronic-but-equally-cool free needle felting tutorials I made for you!
Start with a small tuft of wool and loosen the fibers a bit
Place the tuft on the foam and gently poke the needle into the fiber. (Gentle pokes work best. The business end of the needle is only an inch at the tip. Poke any further than that and it’s a waste of your efforts.)
Pick up the disc, flip it over, and poke some more. (Flipping often keeps it from permanently sticking to the foam.)
If the disc is about the right size but it isn’t as thick or as strong as it needs to be, pull a little more roving, loosely wrap it around the disc and keep poking. Repeat as needed. (For this project, the final discs should be about 1/8" thick.)
It's fine and dandy to have a little bit of fuzzy around the edges of the disc. You'll be able to use that to connect the discs together later.
Repeat the whole poke-y process and make a second disc... go, go, Felter!
Step 4: Sew a Conductive Patch
Note: This could be done easily with a little bit of conductive fabric or tape but, I don't have any on hand and I was all "Carpe Diem" and stuff so, that's why I used thread. Holla.
Thread the needle and tie your favorite knot at the end.
Stick the needle into the center of the disc and pull it through about 1/2" - Sew into the thickness of the disc, but not all the way through to the other side... like a tunnel that begins and ends on the same side of the felt.
Pull the thread through so the knot is snug in the center of the disc.
Insert the needle again near the knot, using the tunnel technique I
invented described above, creating a long straight(ish) stitch across the center 1/2" of the disc. Repeat this process, creating some parallel stitches.
Step 5: Connect the Connector
Now we're going to secure the figure-eight eye ring to the edge of the disc.
Insert the needle into the disc near the last exit point and pull it out about 1/8" from the edge, using the innovative, future-shattering, patent-pending Tunnel Technique™ as mentioned in step 4, in the past.
Slide the needle through one side of the ring, hold it in place on the disc so that the other side of the ring sticks out, almost over the edge of the disc, and secure it with little stitch. Keep making stitches through and around the ring until it's secure and snug enough to stay put but a little flexible so it moves with ease when you wear it.
Step 6: Accentuate the (+)
The battery is going to be sandwiched between the discs. I decided that the orange side will be the + side of the battery. But! Once the discs are attached together, it'll be impossible to tell the eye rings apart. So, pick the eye ring and give it a surface detail so you can always keep things running smoothly.
I'm going to make a small white dot to mark the + eye ring.
Take a tiny wisp of fiber and roll it into a loose ball. Anchor the ball to the center of the flower with a few gentle pokes.
Gently poke the edges of the dot towards the center. This will make it even more secure while creating a puffy shape.
When the dot begins to take shape, use very gentle pokes all over it to felt the surface without flattening the shape.
Step 7: Embed the Battery
Place the battery between the discs with the eye rings on opposite sides of each other. Make sure that the conductive thread on one disk doesn't touch the thread on the other disc or you might cause a short.
Gently poke around the edges of the disc, securing them together. Flip and continue working around the edges with tiny, deliberate pokes.
To clean the edges and further secure the discs to each other, turn the lightly-assembled battery holder on its side and gently gently gently poke all the way around.
Repeat these steps as needed. Poke as closely to the edge of the battery as you can in order for it to stay in one place and not go sliding about willy nilly.
Step 8: Test and GO!
NOTE: You should probably do this part before you totally felt the disc closed but I didn't do that so I can't show it to you. I hope you don't mind.
Use the alligator clips and see the light!
I've not done this yet but I had an idea: what if we had lobster clasps on each side of this holder instead? That way, you could make multiple necklaces for yourself and switch the battery pack between them freely.