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Wearables - My LED Bracelet ROCKS

25 Nov 2012

Do you remember when you were a little kid and you got something you thought was awesome and you refused to separate yourself from it? Today, that's me with my handmade LED bracelet.

I think I made my first light up clothing in about 2003. When I found a grip of light up roses from my childhood stored in an old bag, I knew something had to be done with them. Of course that something would be a light up skirt. I made the skirt out of an old pink house dress from the thrift store that I cut off at the waist. I then proceeded to cut out a nature scene from various bits of felt and such. I sewed on a prop bird to give a 3D look and then sewed on the roses growing from the odd "grass" on the skirt. The proportions were all wrong and I loved it. I was to me, like Betsy Johnson meets Pee-Wee's Playhouse. (LOVE) At some point I will dig it out and post a pic. The roses were powered individually by batteries and it was glorious. At that time I had no idea about the actual category of "wearables".

For now, let's skip everything in between then and get to today. Using Arduino Wearables as a guide, I tackled project one. Soft LED bracelet. Oh Yeah!

I started this project last night, had two failed design iterations,(one involved using the cuffs from old pants and adding ruffles) and two trips to Joann Fabrics for various reasons. But oh, don't you worry, the time invested was totally worth it and from the time I finished it until even now, I am rocking my bracelet in fully lit up fashion. Check it out.

battery holder for led bracelet
LED bracelet turned on
LED bracelet turned off

Using conductive thread, two seams run the length of the bracelet. Then, using the lillypad coin cell battery holder, you can attach one positive lead to one of the seems with a line of conductive thread. Then you can connect one negative lead to the metal snap. When it is closed it will complete the circuit. Then, you can create loops with the leads on the leds and sew all the positive pins of the leds to the side seam where the positive side of the coin cell holder is attached. Then attach the negatives to the negative side. A good tip in the book was to use one shape for coiling the positive sides(usually the longer pin) and another for coiling the negative so that you could keep them straight. I went with a zip zag pattern for the feel of electricity. Here is how it looks when it is laid out flat.

LED bracelet turned off laid flat

Another tip is that you may notice the gap between the battery holder and the led next to it is a little large. I did this on purpose so that when your wrist is laid flat, you do not have an led in the way. Definite room for improvement but like a mother, I am in love. :)

I'm Baaaaacccckkkkk!!!!!!!

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