Photo by Hep Svadja
Photo by Hep Svadja

Electroluminescent lighting (EL) creates beautiful effects with very little effort. You can spice up your apparel with glowing EL wire accents, or use flat, flexible EL panels to cut larger custom shapes. Follow along to shape an EL panel into an eye-catching, wearable flame.

1. Apply Design

Step shots by Helga Hansen
Step shots by Helga Hansen

Draw directly onto the back of the panel. We recommend practicing on scrap paper first, cutting out the best design, then tracing it directly onto the panel. Your design must be a continuous piece and incorporate the power connector.

TIP: Before starting, test to make sure that the EL panel lights up. If it doesn’t, try cutting away the heat-shrink and reflowing the solder connections between the panel and the wires.

2. Cut It Out


Trim the design out of your EL panel using scissors. While cutting, the lamination may rise around the edges a bit. This shouldn’t affect the panel’s performance and you can use a razor or hobby knife to trim the peeling lamination. Be careful not to damage or cut through the power connection.

3. Seal Edges and Attach Pin


To seal the EL panel’s lamination and protect against shorting out, apply clear nail polish to the edges of the design. Wipe away any marker from the back before applying or the polish may dissolve and smear the ink. Alternatively, you could wrap the design in packing tape or laminate.

Place batteries into the inverter pack and connect it to the panel cable. Attach a pin backing with hot glue and let it cool. Now rock your hot, new accessory!