Tuesday, 18 October 2016

DIY Halloween: Unicorn Light Up Hoodie

This tutorial is a combination of the DIY unicorn hoodie tutorial I found on Pinterest and Adafruit's light up unicorn 3D print tutorial. I used some supplies from Adafruit's candle bows that we made a few years back instead of buying new materials. You can buy the sewing conductive kit separately on Adafruit without the bows.  I won't go through every excruciating detail but here are some tips that they don't mention and a few workarounds that worked for me based on my supplies. 

Supplies needed from both tutorials: 
Hoodie (dress in my case)
3D printed Unicorn Horn with LED base
3D printer with clear PLA filament (I didn't use flexible as the tutorial calls for and it was fine)
1 LED (11mm tall X 7.91 mm wide)
Conductive Thread
Needle (small enough the fit through the battery holder brass side holes. In the Adafruit kit, I used the smallest needle on the right)
Battery Holder
Regular Thread
Felt (not necessary but handy- see bottom note)
Safety Pin

Unicorn Horn

Step 1: Make sure that the LED works. I placed the battery in-between the leads, matched up the sides of the LED to the positive/negative sides of the battery and squeeze. ++/-- It should light up. 

Step 2: Label the positive lead of the LED with a marker. It will make your life easier later. The positive lead is always the longest one but once you bend them it's hard to tell. 

Step 3: Place the LED in the 3D printed holder and bend the leads out in opposite directions, Attach unicorn horn on top by sewing regular thread in the printed holes first to stabilize the horn. The LED leads should be sticking out in opposite directions. 

LED leads poking out from under the holder

Step 4:  Using conductive thread, sew the LED leads separately. One thread should wrap around the positive lead of the LED through the positive side (labeled brass hole) of the battery holder. Another separate thread wrap around  the negative lead of the LED through the hoodie to the negative side of the battery holder (labeled brass hole). Wrap it around each lead few times back and forth. Make sure it is tight. The positive thread and the negative thread shouldn't be touching or the circuit won't work. The battery holder is directly underneath the unicorn horn on the inside of the hood. The conductive thread is the silver, regular thread is the white. 
view from the top with LED lead wrapped in conductive thread

view of  battery holder from inside the hood

Step 5: Unlike me, make sure to take your tutorial pictures BEFORE assembling. This is the part where I would add all the yarn hair in (despite seeing the above pictures to the contrary) and this tutorial does a great job in walking you through that piece.  I used tri-colored yarn and wrapped 30 times around my hand rather than 3 separate spools of each color 10 times for each "pom pom". It took the whole package including making the tail which I just attached to the back of the hoodie with a safety pin. I also hand sewed each "pom pom" on the seam of the hoodie while the tutorial says glue gun would work. I didn't trust it!

In hindsight, I should have sewed (or glued) it all onto one long felt strip that I could easily take on and off with velcro or a button from the top of the hoodie. Now I have no way of washing the hoodie but if it is just meant for one day then it doesn't matter. Another word to the wise, I purchased this hoodie dress discount at Sears for $3 and thought that the lilac color wouldn't matter. However, when making the ears I had a terrible time finding a matching felt color so I ended up cutting off the front hoodie pocket and hand sewed ears. I should have gone with a white color! Alas, seam ripper you are a good friend today.

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