Sewable Electronics Projects:
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For this project, we’ll be using multiple LEDs in a circuit to create an illuminated mask. Rather than stitching just one LED to the battery holder (as we did in the Glowing Pin project), we’ll use a parallel circuit to connect all of the LEDs to the battery.
For this project we’ll be using the Illuminated Mask templates. If needed, download and print the provided template on our website.
Click here to download:Illuminated Mask Template
There are two template pieces: a top layer and a bottom layer. Hold the top layer template up to your face to check for fit, and make any adjustments to the eye or nose shapes before tracing onto felt.
Using a pen or marker, trace the template shapes onto the felt. Both templates will fit on one piece of felt, but feel free to mix and match colors for your design. The electronics will attach to the top layer, while the bottom layer will be used to give the mask extra support. Set aside the bottom layer for now.
To light up the mask, we will be connecting the LEDs to the battery holder with conductive thread using a parallel circuit layout. In a parallel circuit, components are connected to get the same amount of power running through them. Each LED in the mask will shine as brightly as the others by sharing a connection to the battery. Most of the e-textiles projects we make use parallel circuits.
Cut a long piece of conductive thread, thread the needle, and tie a knot at the end. Sew your first connection: starting from the positive sew tab of the battery holder, connect each of the three LEDs with a running stitch and three loops of conductive thread around each positive (+) sew tab. Tie and cut your thread.
Finish your line of stitching by tying a finishing knot on the last (+) sew tab and trimming any excess thread.
With a new piece of thread, repeat the process for the negative side of the circuit – connecting the three LEDs’ negative sew tabs to one another and, finally, the negative sew tab on the battery holder. Tie a finishing knot, and trim any excess thread.
Insert the coin cell battery into the battery holder with the positive, labeled as (+), side facing up. Slide the switch to ON to see the LEDs light up. Remove the battery, and then continue to the Finishing Touches section.
Always remove your battery when working on your project to avoid damaging your components.
After you’ve checked your circuit, it’s time to get creative with adding some details to the mask. With the battery removed, glue the second layer of felt on the back of the mask to add some extra stability and insulate the back of the circuit.
Next, cut small holes on either side of the mask with scissors or a hole punch, and tie the elastic to hold the mask on.
Add craft supplies such as glitter, paint, or other decorative accents to enhance or hide your LEDs and stitching. If you want to cover the battery holder on the front of the mask, feathers or big buttons can add pizzazz and hide the board. Make sure you leave an opening so you can replace the battery when necessary.
Here are a few examples of creative decorations on finished masks: