A Book Might! (bookmark/booklight)




Introduction: A Book Might! (bookmark/booklight)

About: I get restless, so I make things.

A bookmark that also acts as book light! Put the baby kangaroo into mama kangaroo's pouch to turn the light on. The bookmark is soft and malleable, it can be shaped to form an arch over your book illuminating the pages evenly.

I have used many book lights, and have never been satisfied with any of them. Some are too bright and light the entire room. Others get hot and smell like burning plastic. Batteries never seem to last long enough.

Before Instructables posted a 'Soft Circuit' contest I had no clue what a soft circuit was. With some research I found that soft circuits are most commonly used to integrate electronics into clothing. None of my shirts or sweaters would look too cool with LEDs, so I didn't give the idea much more thought,  until...

Late one night, I was using my cell phone as a reading light (because I hate reading lights!), I realized a bookmark would be a great place for a soft circuit. Why couldn't a bookmark also act as a book light?

This Instructable describes how to integrate LEDs into a bookmark, and will show you a clever way to turn the lights on and off.

Step 1: Design the Circuit

  • 3 Volt  battery used for the power source, installed in mama kangaroo's head.
  • Conductive thread used as the conductor.
  • Baby kangaroo is the switch.
  • 220 Ohm resistor from Radio Shack.
  • Resistor is in series and LEDs are in parallel.

Step 2: Materials

  • Conductive Thread
  • Conductive Fabric
  • Non-Conductive Fabric
  • Sequin LEDs
  • Felt Glue
  • 1 Pipe Cleaner
  • Felt
  • Thread
  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Embroidery Thread
We were lucky to be within driving distance of Aniomagic. We drove up to Boulder, Colorado to pick up all of the soft circuit supplies.  Aniomagic makes cute little sequin LEDs, they also have conductive fabric and thread.

Step 3: Cut Out Felt, Fabric, Detail

I made a kangaroo and a baby kangaroo. The baby kangaroo completes the circuit when inserted into the mama kangaroo's pouch. The battery sits behind the mama kangaroo's head, and is replaced by lifting her chin.

You will need these felt pieces (well, unless you are making something weird)...
  • mama's head
  • mama's torso
  • mama's pouch
  • baby
  • bookmark
Draw the kangaroos (or marsupial of your choice) on paper and transfer to felt with embroidery floss. Cut out your embroidered shapes, making sure that you have room for a small battery holder in the head of the mama kangaroo.

Cut the bookmark piece as big as you'd like.

Glue a pipe cleaner, using fabric glue, down the center of the bookmark.

Step 4: Sew Circuit Into Fabric

  • Sew two vertical stripes of conductive thread inside of mama kangaroo's pouch (see photo), when the baby kangaroo is in the pouch this will complete the circuit.
  • Sew conductive fabric to the back of the baby kangaroo. Cut to match the size of the baby kangaroo.
  • Sew a line of conductive thread down the length of each side of the bookmark.

Step 5: Make a Battery Holder

  • Cut a small piece of fabric that is large enough to enclose your battery when folded in half. (I used non-conductive fabric from aniomagic, but felt will work).
  • Sew contact points on each half of the fabric using conductive thread.
  • Stitch the sides of the fabric together, forming a pouch for the battery. Gather the edges in as you sew, making the battery holder as small as possible.

Step 6: Sew the Pieces Together

NOTE: Do not cross thread from the positive side of the battery and thread from the negative side of the battery as you sew the circuit into the bookmark.
  • Attach a length of thread to contact on the back side of the battery holder.
  • Sew the battery holder onto the back of the head, opening down (see photo).
  • Choose a positive and negative side of the battery holder, mark with a pen.
  • Loop the ends of the resistor so they can be sewn into the fabric (see photo).
  • Sew the conductive thread from the positive side of the battery holder to one side of the vertical lines on the kangaroo pouch, attaching the resistor inline at the top of the bookmark. (see photo)
  • Sew the conductive thread from the other vertical line in the kangaroo pouch to the line of conductive thread on the bookmark.
  • Sew the conductive thread from the negative side of the battery holder to the other line of conductive thread on the bookmark.
  • Sew the LEDs along the bookmark, space as you'd like. Be sure to sew the positive side of the LED on the same side for each LED.

Step 7: Finally, DONE

Now, add detail to the bookmark, I glued ribbon over the stitching on the bookmark, careful not to glue the conductive thread. Glue some felt shapes to the fabric for a more finished look.

Insert the baby kangaroo into the pouch, the LEDs will ignite!

The pipe cleaner glued to the bookmark allows you to arch the bookmark over your book, adjust until the pages are evenly lit.

If you make a book light/bookmark, please post photos!

Participated in the
Soft Circuit Contest

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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Awww! Adorable!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Cute, I like how the baby kangaroo is the on/off switch.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I love your bunny bus pass holder.