Snap Together Arduino Circuits




Introduction: Snap Together Arduino Circuits

It is very frustrating spend hours sewing a circuit together, only to find out that the circuit doesn't work!

The problem can be with the design, the construction, or the code. Sewing the arduino components and snaps onto a piece of felt will allow students and teachers to quickly and easily troubleshoot common problems. Students will stay more engaged as they are able to prototype different iterations of their design and spend more time learning to construct something they are truly proud of.

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Step 1: Gather Materials


· Lilypad Arduino Protosnap board

· Felt (different colors recommended)

· Conductive thread

· Sewing needle

· Sew on Snaps

· Clear Nail Polish

· Red Sharpie

· Black Sharpie

· USB cable

Step 2: Separate Components

Separate the components you intend to use from your protosnap board.

Step 3: Separate Your Snaps

Separate your snaps

Keep the male ends separate from the female ends so that you don’t sew the wrong piece on your project later

Step 4: Using Conductive Thread and Sewing Needle Sew Components and Snaps Onto Felt.


Choose appropriate color of felt. It will be useful to sew components that require an analog pin, on a different color of felt from components that require a digital signal.

· Leave at least a half inch of felt around edge so that there will be room to attach the sew on snap and tie off thread

· Use at least 3 stitches through each pin.

· Sew the female side of your snap next to each pin before you cut the conductive thread and move on to the next pin.

o Sew 3 stitches in the 6 O’clock hole of the snap

o Sew 3 Stitches in the 12 o’clock hole of the snap

o Sew an extra stitch in the felt and secure with a knot and cut close to the knot

o Repeat process with remaining pins on your component, using a new snap each time.

Step 5: Use Clear Nail Polish to Coat Each Knot

Step 6: Connect Male Ends of Snaps So That You Don’t Lose Them.

Step 7: Cut Components Out of Felt.


Clean up any loose ends

· Coat loose ends with clear nail polish

· Cut components out of felt

o Think of the snap as part of the component cut around outside of snaps.

o Don’t cut through any of your stitches

o Can cut shapes if that helps you identify parts later

Step 8: Color Positive and Negative Snaps


Remove the male end snap from the positive pins

· Carefully color female snap with red sharpie

· Replace the male end snap


Remove the male end snap from the negative pins

· Carefully color the female snap with a black sharpie

· Replace the male end snap

Step 9: String Conductive Wire


Thread sewing needle with conductive thread

Tie a knot in the end

Remove one of the male end snaps from your project

Insert sewing needle from the front side (the side with the nub) to the back side (the side without the nub). We will call this hole 6 o’clock.

Bring needle back up (from the back side to the front side) through the hole that is directly across from the hole you went down. (come up through 12 o’clock)

Continue to string as many male end straps as you desire. *

The snaps should be able to slide easily, but also be secure.

*If you want a common ground you may want to string several (5-6) male side snaps on a long line. You will also want several short and medium length lines with two snaps.

Step 10: Program Your Desired Code

I went on codebender ( and created a simple code for to make an LED blink, and I attached a button sensor. I used existing protosnap code ( ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Platform Example Code by: Pete Lewis SparkFun Electronics 8/24/11) I also had some help from my instructors and good friend.

*We had some trouble getting the code to transfer to the controller. We solved this problem by deleting the existing protosnap code, and recreating a smaller code to do only what we wanted. We think that somehow the longer code was interfering with simpler circuits.

Step 11: Play


Play with your finished product

Connect components by snapping the male end snaps (now on your conductive thread) to a female end snap connected to one of the pins on your component.

Ensure your connective thread does not cross

Ensure that you connect to the correct pin (positive, negative, digital, or analog)

Step 12: Potential Uses

Students have trouble drawing a diagram. It is hard to visualize and draw a circuit from memory especially when the concept is new. If students are able to snap together a working circuit they can draw their diagram from something that they know will work. This will reduce design errors such as drawing a common ground and common positive connections. Drawing the controller with the wrong orientation or inverting pins.

By color coding the positive and negative sides of components it is easy to check, if the reason your circuit doesn't work is because you mixed up the positive and negative sides. By color coding the components with different colors of felt students are less likely to put a sensor the requires an analog signal on a pin the has a digital signal.

Stringing the snaps onto conductive thread makes the circuit easy to manipulate. The thread can be cut to the exact size needed to test the circuit and then used on the project so that nothing is wasted. Testing a circuit with alligator clips can cause problems because alligator clips cannot be cut to size and it is hard to visualize the circuit with all of the extra wire. Also alligator clips are insulated and therefore the circuit still works if wires are crossed, which causes problems later when the wires can't touch.

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    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is so cool! I love prototyping blocks like this. Great job!