Make: Projects

LED Shoe Clips

Soft circuit twinkle toes.

Steps

Step #1:

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  • Gather materials and tools: you'll need a LED sewing kit (conductive thread, 4 LEDs, 2 CR2032 batteries), as well as some standard sewing supplies and a pair of paper clips.
  • I was trying to match these to my yellow dress.

Step #2:

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Trace and cut 16 fabric circles, eight for each clip.

Step #3:

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LED Shoe Clips

Gently singe the edges to prevent fraying.

Step #4:

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  • Pierce LEDs through the centers of two circles.
  • Fold the circles in half twice to form a wedge.
  • The wedges are then stacked up to form the ruffle.
  • I want the light to radiate from inside the ruffle, so I'm piercing the centers of two circles with the LEDs.

Step #5:

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LED Shoe Clips

Fold remaining circles into wedges and compile in a stack with the illuminated wedges evenly distributed in the ruffle stack.

Step #6:

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Be sure both longer positive leads are facing the same side of the stack, and stitch the fabric in place with plain thread.

Step #7:

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  • Splay the leads out and coil them up with pliers to make them easier to sew.
  • I like to make the positive leads square coils and the negative leads round coils so I can tell them apart.

Step #8:

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Start the soft battery holder with a piece of felt shaped to double over the coincell battery.

Step #9:

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Using two pieces of conductive thread, sew a pad at the center of each felt circle with leads hidden in the felt sprouting from one outer side.

Step #10:

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  • Sew the battery holder shut around the edge with regular thread.
  • Leave enough space to snugly insert/remove the battery.

Step #11:

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Stitch the ruffle assembly to the top of the battery holder with standard thread.

Step #12:

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  • Stitch the remaining tails of conductive thread to connect with their respective polarity leads of the LEDs.
  • Stitch the positive thread to both positive LED leads, and stitch the negative thread to the negative leads. Don't let them touch!

Step #13:

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  • Insert the battery. If it doesn't light up immediately, try flipping the battery the other way.
  • If it still doesn't light up, whip out your multimeter and check for shorts!

Step #14:

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Stick a paperclip in the back of the battery holder and clip onto your shoe!

Step #15:

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You're finished! Repeat for the other shoe.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).