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Forget about circuit boards and start thinking about circuit stitches with this illuminating tutorial by electronic art professor Jesse Seay on how to knit your own circuitry.

…I developed a method to “print” circuit boards on my knitting machine, with materials that are inexpensive, easily available, and solderable. The method works with both traditional electronic components and with e-textile components. And while I use a knitting machine for rapid production, the materials should work fine for hand knitters.

knit-a-working-circuit-2

As Seay explains in the introduction, this tutorial assumes that you already know how to knit and shows you how to integrate wiring into your knitting by design a knitting pattern that will allow you to make connections between electronic components, just like an ordinary circuit board.

Once you get the hang of it, it’s fun to turn “traditional” circuit designs into knitted circuit designs.[…] The knitted fabric is like stripboard, and each row is a track. Planning out the circuit isn’t so different from planning a stripboard circuit.

Then, just solder in your components and connect them to a power source and voilĂ  knitted circuitry!

Andrew Salomone

Andrew Salomone

Artist, writer, and teacher who makes work about popular culture, technology, and traditional craft processes.
http://www.andrewsalomone.com


  • Bryan Peterson

    This is awesome! I do have a question though.. that looks like exposed solder for the joints. How are you insulating them so the wearer doesn’t get lead poisoning?

    • Kristina Panos

      Jesse applied iron-on fabric backing before she soldered.

      • Cheese

        I’m pretty sure lead can leach through fabric.

        • jesseseay

          Thanks for bringing this up. I put a disclaimer on the instructable– don’t wear the circuit on bare skin, use a liner, wash hands, etc. You bring up a good point about lead leaching through fabric, though. As I understand it, this would only be a problem if the fabric gets wet, so I’ll add that to the list, too. (Don’t sweat on your circuits!)

    • NotThatGreg

      You could use lead-free solder (Bismuth/tin I think)