Programmable Light Up Fairy Wings

Introduction: Programmable Light Up Fairy Wings

About: I'm a digital artist/crafter/maker who likes electronics and sewing. I used to run the blog Soft Circuit Saturdays, which is now part of my site GellaCraft - dedicated to techy crafts, costuming, and art.

Create light patterns on your fairy wings using a microcontroller called Schemer. This is a simple example with 10 Lightboards; the Schemer can power up to 20. You can also get another component called Max which lets you add additional battery power to plug in even more. 

What I like about the Schemer system is that you can connect all its components  using only two wires/threads instead of having to wire each one to the board individually. This makes for less conductive thread used, but also a more simplified design for your wiring. All the components are small enough that they will fit on fairy wings and be relatively unobtrusive. And for added fun, since the Schemer is programmable from an iPhone/iPod you can actually change the patterns while wearing it/out and about without having to hook up a computer.

Here's a video of them in action:

Step 1: Materials


* Schemer Board and 2 sets of lightboards from Aniomagic. Unfortunately the Schemer only works with Schemer compatible components, so you can't substitute regular LEDs.
* Sewable Coin cell battery holder - I am using a plastic one, but you can also substitute with a felt one.
* 3V CR2032 Coin Cell Battery - if ordering from Aniomagic's site it is the 'large' battery.
* Conductive Thread
* Needle and Cotton Thread (make sure your needle fits through the holes in the Schemer, Lightboards, and battery holder holes)
* Felt
* Hot Glue Gun & Glue
* Scissors
* Pen/Pencil
* Velcro
* Cardboard/Posterboard

Step 2: Plan Your Design

Cut 2 pieces of felt that will cover the battery holder and act as an anchor for your Schemer board. 

Trace your wings on a piece of cardboard or posterboard with a pen or pencil. Plan out your placement of components - the Schemer in the middle and Lightboards on the wings. The Lightboards connect with the Schemer using  two sewn lines (one + and one -) attached to the holes on the side of the board. The top and bottom holes of the Schemer will connect to your battery holder on the back of the wings. I've attached a diagram of how I attached my components for reference.

A note on Schemer and Lightboards:

Each Lightboard has an ID number assigned to it, 1-5, marked by dots. If you have more than one Lightboard of each ID, they light up at the same time. Because of this, I used one set for each side of the wings and mirrored their placement so they would light up together. The color of the Lightboard makes no difference, if you have a '1' of green and '1' of red they will both light up together.

[Lightboard and Schemer diagrams are from Aniomagic's website]

Step 3: Transfer Design to Wings

Trace your outlines onto your wings with a pen or pencil. Press softly and use a fine point pen so the ink doesn't bleed onto your fabric.

Step 4: Attach Battery Holder and Schemer Board

Take one of your felt circles and hot glue it in the middle of the front of your wings. Turn the wings over and glue your battery holder in place on the other side of the wing frame/wire. Make sure it is aligned correctly - the tab should be at the top. If your wings have metal wire as a frame, make sure they are covered with fabric or paint to avoid any short circuits from the conductive thread.

On the front of your wings, place the Schemer board in the middle of the felt and draw lines from the holes to the traced lines on the wings. The top holes are your positive and bottom are negative. Attach the Schemer by sewing a line from its top hole to the edge of your felt with conductive thread.

Fold the felt over and continue sewing to connect the thread to your battery holder. Loop the thread a few times to make a secure connection. Repeat for the bottom hole on the schemer and the other side of the battery holder.

Step 5: Attach Lightboards

Next start sewing the positive (+) lines  on your wings. Sew through the side holes on the Schemer and work along your traced lines, connect the Lightboards as you go by looping the thread through the holes a few times for a secure connection. Make sure that your Lightboards are oriented correctly - the end with the painted dots attaches to the top line(+).

Work your way around the top wing. When you reach the edge of the top wing, carefully push your needle through both layers and continue the line to the bottom wing.

After the positive lines are sewn, repeat with the negative lines until all your Lightboards are secured. The two wings do not need to connect with each other, only with the Schemer board.

Step 6: Test and Program Schemer

Put your battery in the holder and test it out. There should be a default pattern blinking along the Lightboards.

If everything is working correctly, start programming. 

Instructions from Aniomagic's website:
Go to the schemer page.
Press the touch pad for 1 second. The onboard light will flash 3 times, then turn off.
Put the ambient light sensor in front of the yellow flower.
Press "Send".
Hold it still until the web browser finishes sending the program.
Help programming Schemer can be found here.

You'll need to hold your wings up to your computer monitor to program them. On my laptop I had to tilt the screen backwards a bit to get the Schemer aligned with the screen correctly. You can also use your iPhone/iPod to program it, which might be easier than holding the wings up to the screen.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Once everything is working, remove the battery.

Make a back cover for your battery holder to protect it and add some padding for when you wear the wings. Sew your second felt circle to one side of your top felt circle and sew a bit of velcro on the other side to make a flap.

Insert the battery and close the flap when you are ready to wear them.

If you don't like the look of the bare components, you can add decorative flowers or fabrics over them, letting the light shine through. You can also insulate your conductive thread with some puff paint if desired (Lynne Bruning has an Instructable for this technique). Make sure to leave access to the schemer, as the on/off button is in the middle of it, and the light sensor needs to be unblocked for reprogramming.

Participated in the
Halloween Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Lighting Challenge

      Lighting Challenge
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Puzzles Speed Challenge

      Puzzles Speed Challenge

    2 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very tastefully done. The choice of light and fabric makes the illumination look like a natural part of the design.

    Lynne Bruning

    Even better - fancy programable blinky bling fairy wings!!
    perfect for next weekend.