In this tutorial, I will show how to make a tilt motion LED hoodie.
When you put the hood up, a sad emoji appears in the back with LEDs. It represents how people shelter themselves or do not want to be seen when they feel down. The light is strong when the person wearing the hood tilts their head down, as if staring at the floor.
Step 1: Materials Needed
- A garment with a hood (I sewed mine)
- Fabric that matches your garment (Unless you don't mind the contrast)
- Thread to match the fabric + garment
- Handsewing needle + sewing machine (optional)
- LEDs (Enough to create the shape you want)
- Conductive Fabric
- Conductive Thread
- Two washers of 1 inch diameter and 1/8 inch width
- 1 Coin Battery
- 1 Sewable coin battery holder with on/off switch (a normal holder can work as well)
- Artist's tape or any tape that can peel off your garment
- Fabric Chalk
Step 2: Mapping Out the Washer Movement
Wear the hoodie and tape the washers in the ideal spot where you would hang them from. I hung my washers 2 inches from their hanging point to touch the conductive fabric.
Tape the washers on with the tape, swing your head all the way back and mark that spot. Swing your head all the way to the front and mark that as well. Create a shape around the entire perimeter of limits of where the washer can swing. Transfer that shape to paper and mark where the conductive fabric + washer will be placed.
Cut two pieces of the shape out on the matching fabric.
Step 3: Attaching the Tilt Motion Switch for the (+) Side of the LEDs
Sew the conductive fabric + washer onto one of the fabric shapes, pulling the conductive thread of the washer through to the inside of the hood. (IMPORTANT: Make sure the thread is very long so that it can reach the battery inside the hood and be sewn onto it on the positive side.)
Next, sew a conductive thread onto the conductive fabric (with very long thread) and sew it through to the inside of the hood. Leave the thread alone for now. This will later be connected to the LEDs on the positive side. (If you run out of thread, you can sew new thread onto a knot of the previous thread. As long as the link is connected, it should work.)
Sew the second identical fabric shape on top of the tilt switch to conceal it from the surface.
Overall, the connection for the positive side of the LEDs goes like this.
Battery (+) -> Washers -> Conductive fabric -> all positive ends of the LEDs.
There is the connection from the battery (+) to the LEDs (+)!
Step 4: Sewing Conductive Thread for the (-) Side of the LEDs
Next, to prepare connection from the (-) side of the battery to the LEDs, just sew a very long conductive thread from the negative end of the battery to where your LEDs will be. (Again, long thread and if you run out of thread, you can sew new thread onto a knot of the previous thread.)
Step 5: Preparing the LEDs for Attachment to the Hoodie + Long Threads
Mark out your LEDs into whatever shape or pattern you want. (I did a sad face for the concept of my project)
Make sure all the colors work. Cut out two square shapes from the matching fabric and poke the LEDs through both layers to make the shape. Make sure to keep all the positive ends on one side, and the negative ends of the LEDs on the other side to make it easer to remember. Also, the positive end of the LEDs tend to be longer.
Bend all the ends of the LED's to lie flat against the fabric. Make sure none of the ends are touching, and if they are, clip them with pliers or scissors.
Next, sew the LED's with two conductive threads (one for (+) and one for (-)).
IMPORTANT: Do not let the negative and positive threads touch! Or else the LEDs will not light up. Tip: Go under and above the second layer of fabric with the threads to avoid having them touch together. The second layer of fabric acts as a barrier between the threads.
Once you go around the LEDs with both threads (+ and -), leave them long at the edge of the square fabrics. These long threads will be pulled inside the hoodie and connected to the other long threads that are attached to the battery + washers/conductive fabric.
Step 6: Final!
Once the threads are connected, from the LEDs to the long threads connected to the batteries (+ to +, - to -) the LED's should light up when you put the hood on and the washers swing forward to touch the conductive fabric!
Thee should turn off when the hood is put down because the washer then does not touch the conductive fabric and the connection on the (+) positive side is lost. Have fun!