Intro: Rainbow EL Wire Belt
I really wanted a "light up belt" to go with my disco ball mirror pants. I searched the world wide web, but found nothing like what I had pictured in my mind, and since I couldn't possibly live without, I made one. The heart of the thing is a purchased five channel EL wire controller and five EL wires. I chose red, yellow, orange, green, & purple; but you could do all red and make an awesome traffic cop safety belt! This REALLY gets people's attention! The controller has an on/off switch and a small button that allows you to scroll thru the many different flash patterns.
Step 1: EL Wire and Controller
Ah, but here's the rub, an initial cash outlay. It ain't cheap to be this cool. A five wire controller, with five wires, all wired up, ready to go, will set you back the better part of a hundred dollar bill. The controller has an on/off switch and a small button that allows you to scroll thru the many different flash patterns. You can get a two or three or four or even a one channel setup if you want to save cash, but I wanted five channels to make a rainbow. Lots of places sell these. Measure your waist and add 6 to 8 inches to that measurement. You want to be sure that the wires will go completely around your body AND THEN SOME. (extra is fine) The in stock measurement was 48", which was perfect for me, but you can order the wires any length you want. I also saw on the web "how to wire" these units, and I think if a person had the inclination, it might be easy enough to wire up, and tons cheaper, however, I only solder in an emergency, so I ordered mine ready to go. Once it arrived, I put batteries in it to make sure it worked. Boy Howdy! When ON this EL wire stuff is impressive even hanging loose. Wow!
Step 2: Poster Board and Clear Packing Tape
So as costly as the previous step was, this one is cheap. I cut a piece of poster board 2.5" wide and long enough to fit the wires. (48") This is the basis of The Belt, a cardboard strip that goes around your waist, plus 6-8 inches. You will be taping the wires to this.
THIS IS NOT A BELT FOR HOLDING UP YOUR PANTS. USE YOUR REGULAR BELT TO HOLD UP YOUR PANTS, AND WEAR THIS delicate electronic BELT ON THE OUTSIDE, AROUND YOUR HIPS, AS AN ACCESSORY ONLY. The EL wire is "flexible", but I try not to bend and flex it too much, since I'm not sure how much bending it will take before malfunctioning.
Step 3: Reinforcing With Tape
I covered the back of The Belt with tape, twice. (I used construction tape from Lewe's but the clear packing tape would work just as well, I think it's the same kind of material, one just has Lewe's printed all over it, and my goal here was just to provide some strength for The Belt beyond that of the paper.) I double taped the seams and then put a second layer of tape down, over the first. Seems pretty sturdy to me.
Step 4: Layout Lines
On the front side, I used a straightedge to pencil in five lines to mark where the glo-wires go. I left a space on the top and bottom edges so I'd have room to work.
Step 5: Affix EL Wires
Using little bits of tape, I affixed the EL wires, one at a time, to The Belt. I used teeny bits of tape to get RED precisely where I wanted it, then cut half inch wide strips of tape and used those to carefully cover RED the entire length of the thing. RED ends up in a little tape tube, firmly attached to the belt. It ain't goin' nowhere. Do the same to all the the other wires, if you have more than one, one at a time, carefully taping them all down. I worked with the natural curve of the EL wires, they seemed to want to conform to the belt, in a roundish, belty fashion. It was meant to be.
Step 6: Details
I used black electrical tape to wrap the top and bottom edges, just for looks. Then I put another layer of clear tape over the whole thing. Next, I used carefully folded clear tape to make a couple SLIDER LOOPS, which slide over The Belt, and secured with tape on the backside. The Belt goes around your waist, and thru the slide loops. I use a small square of clear tape to "buckle" it. The controller has a clip, which I clip to the pocket of my pants.
Step 7: The Belt Is ON!
I absolutely GUARANTEE you will be the center of attention when you wear The Belt, even if you don't also have the mirror ball pants, the LED earrings, twenty glow bracelets, and a shiny polyester shirt to go with it. Now I gotta go make me some roller skate platform shoes.