Flashback: The Electric Tank Top

Craft & Design

I just revisited an old friend: CRAFT Volume 01! I had almost forgotten what tasty morsels of crafting our premiere issue offered back in October of 2006. I’ve always loved cutting-edge crafter Leah Buechley‘s “Electric Tank Top” project. As Leah had written in the intro, “Although challenging, everyone should play with this stuff! It’s great fun for both geeks and divas — build a sparkly fashion accessory and program it with hacker animations.” True that, Leah!
In the 14 pages of this project, Leah shows in detail how to sew a cute tank top and to sew in 84 LEDs using silver-coated thread, making a “soft circuit.” She even takes it a step further and shows how you can program your tank top to flash patterns. Though the project may be ambitious for folks just starting out working LEDs into their crafting projects, it shows an inspiring example of what’s possible. We’ll have to check in with Leah to see what awesomeness she’s up to these days! Here’s a spread from our Digital Edition so you can check out the level of detail.
Aside from the LED Tank Top, CRAFT Volume 01 teaches you how to make knitted boots, a catnip castle, an ant farm room divider, your own hard cider, chainmail, an atomic ball clock, and how to embroider your skateboard, just to name a few projects. It’s an oldie but a goodie for sure. You can pick up this back issue at the Maker Shed!
(On a side note, to get started in “smart crafting,” check out Fashioning Technology by Syuzi Pakhchyan. This beautiful CRAFT book has an invaluable 60-page reference section that shows you all the tools and materials you need to get started putting some tech in your crafts.)

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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