The teddy bear remote sits nicely on your sofa or bed and can be used to control your iPod or computer. It's a cute modification to an RF remote control and is surprisingly soft! The project is difficult to make and requires quite a few odd materials, some soldering skill, and a lot of hand and machine sewing.
Step 1: Get Materials
You will need:
- conductive thread, order by email at http://members.shaw.ca/ubik/thread/order.html
- any Griffin RF (radio frequency) remote control such as the airClick or airClick USB, all Griffin remotes use the same signals so they are interchangeable and you can use one remote for multiple devices
- soldering iron and solder
- sewing machine, hand sew everything at your own risk of arthritis
- pins and needles (big holed needle for conductive thread)
- grandmotherly floral print fabric
- plain colored fabric for the buttons and face
- white muslin fabric for sewing the circuit
- matching thread (for seams) and contrasting thread (for buttons)
- hook and eye fasteners, size 0 (or fairly small)
- snap fastener
- velcro (1 - 2 inch piece)
- sticky back fusable web (for fusing the fabrics)
- cotton or polyester stuffing
- conductive metal tape, found at hardware stores in the plumbing section
- about 1/4 inch thick foam tape, found at hardware stores
Step 2: Solder Hook and Eye Fasteners on Remote
Carefully disassemble the remote control. The circuit board is nicely labeled and has 5 buttons and a hold switch. You will need to solder the eye fasters on the circuit board so the thread can be tied to something. The right side of each button dot is the power and the left is the specific function. So any right side can be connected to a function on the left side to activate it.
The hold button is a tricky beast. When the arms of the bear are snapped together, the remote is turned on. The two left metal spots need to be connected for the remote to be on. This is usually accomplished by the tiny switch. I would recommend pushing the switch into the hold position (towards the top of the remote control) and soldering a hook or eye to each of the on leads.
It is important to arrange the eye fasteners so that the conductive threads do not cross.
WARNING - Soldering metal of any kind is a dangerous activity. Please use appropriate safety measures to prevent burning and inhaling fumes. Please do not attempt this project if you do not have the appropriate equipment or safety knowlege.
I would recommend just playing around with the remote and figuring out where all the buttons go on your own. It is important to test the remote and all the functions throughout the project in order to catch mistakes quickly. Draw a diagram of where all the eye fasteners will go and a map of where the threads need to go without crossing.
Step 3: Sew a Circuit
Draw a bear body pattern on a piece of paper. Make it about 3/4 inches larger than you want the finished bear because it will get smaller when you sew it together and stuff it. Draw some arm and leg patterns on the paper as well. Cut out your fabric pieces using your patterns. Cut out a piece on muslin fabric in the same shape as the body.
Design a face and use the fusable web to attach it to the front of the bear. Using a wide stitch, outline the face and make a cute smiley face.
Some nice tips - draw your face design on paper first using a pencil, then rub it on to your fabric and darken with a marking pen. After sewing the design use a permanent marker to fill in any gaps or mistakes.
Place your remote control circuit board on top of the piece of muslin in a strategic position - I placed mine in the bear's left armpit. On the muslin, mark where the buttons will go. Tie a piece of conductive thread to an eye fastener on the circuit board and then sew it across the muslin to the button location. I doubled the thread so that two threads went to one place so if one thread broke, the other could still make the button function.
Leave the threads trailing out the back of the fabric. Repeat for each side of each button and the hold switch. The hold switch should have one thread going to each side of the bear's body, to be connected in the arms. Leave plenty of extra thread.
Using the fusable web, attach the muslin to the back of the front piece of the bear. The fusable web makes the fabric stiffer, so attach only a few points on the muslin to the front piece to hold them together and keep the threads from crossing.
After the muslin circuit has been attached to the front, mark on the front where the buttons should be placed. At each button location place two rectangles of conductive tape, one for each connecting side of the circuit. They should be about 1/6 inch apart. Then stitch each conductive thread over its piece of tape so the thread touches the conductive part of the tape. Leave the threads for the "on"/hold button hanging loose.
Be careful not to cross the "on"/hold button threads too long. This will drain the battery.
Step 4: Make Buttons
If you know someone who does custom embroidery, they might help you out with this part. Another option for those unsure of such tricky sewing would be to use ink jet iron-on transfer paper and print out the button icons and iron them on the fabric.
The hardcore way to make the button icons is to draw the designs on paper with pencil and rub them on the fabric. Then darken them with a marking pen. Next, trace the outlines using a thick stitch and fill in the gaps by hand-sewing and using a permanant marker to fix mistakes. I cannot stress enough the importance of clean, freshly-washed hands for this part.
After the button icons are on the fabric, make a pattern and cut out the buttons with an icon in the center of each. Attach a square of conductive tape to the back of each button. Cut a piece or pieces of adhesive foam to fit around the conductive tape squares. Test out the button by placing it in the correct spot on the front of the bear. I used alligator clips to temporarly attach the "on" button for testing.
Place fusable web on the back of each around the outside and press on to the correct place on the front of the bear. Then sew a border around each button.
Step 5: Bear Arms
The next step is to make the bear's arms which also function as the "on" switch. Cut out the bear arm pieces and attach the inner paw decoration similarly to the bear face. Hand sew one part of a metal snap fastener to the inside of one paw and the other to the outside of the other paw.
Sew the two sides of each paw together, reverse, and stuff each with cotton or polyester stuffing. Run the conductive threads corresponding to each arm through the arm and tie around the snap. Each snap should now connect to the sewn circuit by the conductive thread and the arms are hanging loosly from the bear body.
Step 6: Assemble the Bear Body
Cut out the bear legs, sew together, and stuff. Pin the arms and legs on the front of the bear, pointing inwards. Place the back of the bear on top, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other and pin in place. Sew completely around the bear only leaving a 2 inch gap near the remote piece. Turn right side out, remove pins, and stuff the bear. Add a little extra stuffing between the remote and the front of the bear. Sew velcro on the inside of the gap so the bear can be re-opened for changing the battery.
Amaze your friends with a stuffed bear remote that never gets lost in the couch cushions!