Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lighted Wrist Cuffs

Pin It Now!

These fun wrist cuffs are made with battery powered LED lights.  The circuit is made using conductive thread.

I found the instructions on how to make LED wrist cuffs on instructables.com.  The posting has great step-by-step instructions on materials needed and how to sew the circuit.

After making several of these, I modified the design to make it faster to sew the circuit and to give it a more finished look.  Please refer to the instructables article for information on the circuit.


Materials needed:
  • LED lights.  I like 3mm and 5mm size.  Color changing LEDs are a lot of fun too.  The best place I have found to buy these is on ebay.  Note that resistors are not required (the conductive thread has enough resistance).
  • Conductive thread.  I used "Lame Lifesaver" from: http://members.shaw.ca/ubik/thread/thread.html
  • CR2032 battery.  You can get these at a drugstore, but much cheaper in bulk on Amazon.com.
  • Coin cell holder.  I got these on ebay too.
  • Magnetic snap closure.  These can be found in the purse section of a craft store.
  • Fabric.  I use felt for the inside circuit, flannel for the lining, and decorative fabric like velvet or brocade for the outside.
  • Decorations.  Bead caps look great over the LED lights.  I also like to add lace to the end of the cuff.
Useful Tips:
  • Check the circuit is working before sewing the cuff closed. 
  • Mark the LED's positive leg with a permanent pen before you bend them.  If you get the (+) and (-) legs reversed, they won't light up.

Step 1: Cut the fabric pieces
Cut the felt and fabric to size.  I have mine end in a point where the snap will be, and long enough that it will cover the battery:
   Felt:  2" wide x 10" long, cut end to point.
   Outer & flannel liner fabric:  approximately 1/2" wider all around.

Step 2: Sewing the outer fabric
Pin the outer & flannel fabrics ("right sides" together) and sew the pointed end and one side.  Turn right side out and pin the felt piece in place.

Step 3: Placing LED Lights
Mark where you want the LEDs to go with a white pencil on the outer fabric.  Cut small slits for the LEDs to go through, and then use the pencil again to mark the felt through the slits you just cut.

Step 4: Sewing the Circuit
Start with the positive (+) end snap, cutting slits for the snap prongs through the felt and outer fabric.  Wrap conductive thread around the snap prongs before bending them into place, leaving enough thread to sew the positive line.  Sew the 2 lines of conductive circuit to the felt by hand, attaching the LEDs to the power lines as you work your way down the cuff.

Felt with conductive thread circuit, LEDs, and positive end snap.

Step 5: Adding the Power
Attach the coin cell battery holder to the outer with glue. Attach the negative power line to the negative battery side.  Run conductive thread from the positive battery side to the snap and wrap around the snap before closing the prongs.

Inverted fabric sewn on pointed end and one side of cuff.
Back side of snap, slits for LEDs,  and conductive thread to battery holder are visible.

Step 6: Finishing
  • Sew on the bead caps by had.  Sew through the bead caps, outer fabric and inner felt to hold everything in place. 
  • Tuck in the raw fabric edges and sew the bottom edge of the cuff, enclosing the circuit (check it works first!).  You can also add lace.
  • Sew along the top & bottom edges of the cuff,  


If you are interested in buying some of the LED wrist cuffs I have made, please visit the "Lighted Accessories" section of my Etsy store: TahaniDesigns.etsy.com