LED Embroidered Art

LED embroidered art

Lit up with LED Chibitronic stickers, conductive ink and some conductive thread.

Not surprisingly, I love art.

I love to make art. I love to draw, to paint, to sew, to embroider and to knit. I like to attend musicals and theater performances, and I loved tap dancing in college. But, like most people, my art is done on the side and usually done at home. It has changed mediums over the years – from drawing to sewing to knitting, but it’s always there. The creative side of my INFJ personality needs some sort of artistic outlet.

Thankfully, as I have delved more deeply into the study of robotics, programming and electronics, I see more ways to mesh art with simple technology. In fact, there was a whole field of study at MIT with a focus on high-tech and low-tech. How much fun do you think those grad students had?!

chibitronic and conductive ink

Using the Circuit Scribe conductive ink pen, I added a Chibitronic SMD LED sticker and a coin cell battery. Instant flow of electrons!

If you are in the Gainesville area, you may be interested in how UF students are combining art and science. A friend tuned me into this limited exhibit and I can’t wait to check it out.

LED Embroidered Art

As I was brainstorming samples for the upcoming Making in Action camp, I was messing around with a conductive ink pen and some leftover Chibitronic LED stickers. Voila! What if I hand-embroidered a picture and found a way to light it up?

First, I brainstormed something to embroider on card stock. I was inspired by fireworks, so I drew out the pattern and made sure to poke holes in the card stock (with my needle) before I tried to embroider. I also determined where I would put the LED lights. I knew I wanted them in the middle of my embroidered fireworks.

hand embroidered art

I used a Crewel size 12 needle and only 3 strands of embroidery floss.

Lately, embroidering has become a zen-like activity for me. I like the ease of use, and the accomplishment that I get from quickly finishing a piece.

B&W Hand-embroidered fireworks

I like how you can see the contrast of the colors in this black and white photo.

After I finished the embroidery, I started work on the LED lights. I knew I needed parallel circuits  to power the three LEDs, so I sketched out my circuit path onto another piece of cardstock. I made sure to mark where the LEDs would line up.

Then, after a little bit of testing and rummaging through my electronics stash, I came up with a Lilypad battery holder (with embedded on/off switch) and some conductive thread. After a failed attempt at soldering the thread to the conductive ink, I settled for a piece of Scotch tape.

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Place the LED card behind the embroidered card and enclose in a frame, making sure to allow the battery to be connected to the backside of the frame. That’s the purpose of the conductive thread. Hot glue the battery holder onto the back of the frame and your light-up LED embroidered art project is ready to display. Feel free to “wow” friends, in-laws, and hopefully, the parents of the kids you teach.

LED Embroidered Art - small

Lit up with LED Chibitronic stickers, conductive ink and some conductive thread.