I took a workshop in etextiles at the Maker Lab at the Chicago Public Library and made this super fun LED bracelet. The on/off switch is the metal magnetic clasp, which completes the circuit.
This is a terrific intro to soft circuits for adults and kids with an attention snap long enough to do the sewing.
The library has a terrific tutorial and an animation, which you can see here:
Most of the items you can find at the craft store plus Radio Shack (they have the LEDs) but you’ll still need the conductive thread, which is what’s acting as the wiring in this project.
You’ll have to order that online from adafruit or SparkFun.
Another tutorial can be seen here, at SciGirls Connect.
and click on Download the Activity.
For those who don’t know, SciGirls is a terrific show where real girls in junior high and high school choose a real world problem to tackle, with the assistance of a mentor who’s an adult woman scientist or engineer. Great show, check your local PBS station or watch episodes online.
Back to the bracelet, it’s not the most successful piece in the world as jewelry, I’ll admit that, but it’s terrific for a first project in learning to make a circuit with conductive thread as the “wire” and working with LEDs.
To make it better, I’d use 100% wool felt, such as the great stuff from Magic Cabin or ____________ . I could also have sewn some cut bits of felt for more decorative touches.