Led eyelashes

Chalieplexed led eyelashes. Used during bodypaint competitions.

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This is the third and most current generation of my led eyelashes. These are used by a friend, in body painting competitions. This generation is back to using a single color of LEDs, but now each led is individually controllable.
Since the LEDs are charlieplex, meaning only one led is lid at a time, I really needed to get the most light possible out of the LEDs. Running them straight from a 3 Volt coin cell wasn't ideal, since this is below the forward voltage of all the bright LEDs I tried. So I used 2 AA batteries and a boost-converter to get a steady 5 Volts.
The battery holder and controller-board were placed on top of the models head, underneath the headpiece.

All the different animations:


Schematic in PDF

Adobe Portable Document Format - 120.19 kB - 09/04/2018 at 16:16



Arduino source code

ino - 34.08 kB - 09/04/2018 at 17:38



kicad schematic

sch - 18.81 kB - 09/04/2018 at 16:16



kicad pcb. Beware! I etched my own boards and milled the outline using a dremel. There is a 0ohm jumper that can easily be removed by adding some vias. But vias are a pain when building your boards at home. So double check before sending it to a Fab for manufacturing.

kicad_pcb - 114.64 kB - 09/04/2018 at 17:44


net - 18.50 kB - 09/04/2018 at 16:16


View all 7 files

View all 6 components

  • MacroFab Design Contest: Blink an LED

    Gerben09/08/2018 at 19:08 0 comments

    Thanks to Macrofab for pushing me to start documenting my project on

    I created my account here over a year ago, with the intent to show my projects, but never got to it. And now, here's my first project-log.

    Hopefully, handsoldering 0.1mm wire to 0805 leds is the kind of weird stuff, MEP hosts Stephen and Parker we expecting.

  • History

    Gerben09/02/2018 at 14:32 0 comments

    A friend of mine competes in bodypaint competitions. I had already helped her adding some led bling to her headpieces. Remembering Soomi Parks project (, mid 2016  I decided to make my own version of her led eyelashes.

    Instead of attaching underneath the eyes, I wanted mine to be on the actual eyelids. The easiest way we found out was to attach them to some fake eyelashes.

    The first generation was single color.

    The second generation was bi-color, and had a microcontroller, running different animations.

    Both versions ran on CR2032 coin cell batteries.

    Here they are in action:

View all 2 project logs

  • 1
    Soldering timelapse

    Soldering all components, except for the ATMega328P

  • 2
    Soldering the leds

    For soldering the led, I first printed an arc of led footprints (see files) on a transparency sheet. I then flipped the sheet. Using superglue, I (temporarily) glued the leds, upside down, on top of the footprints. This made it that the leds were evenly spaced and in a gentle arc.

    Next I took 5 strands of 0.1mm magnet wire, and twisted them together using a drill.

    I untwisted the last few centimeters, that were going to be soldered to the leds. I pre-tinned the pads on the underside of the leds. I then going left to right started attaching the correct wire, to the correct pad, using the diagram below. Taking care to only remove the enamel from the wire, where a connection was needed

    After that I removed the leds from the transparency sheet by soaking everything in acetone, and gently prying them off. After that I bathed the led in acetone to remove the remaining glue- and flux residue. I applied thin coat of nail-polish to the solder connections (to prevent shorts), and at the point where the wires go from twisted to spread-out (to prevent them from untwisting). After that I ended up with this:

    I temporarily added some male headers, so I could test them out in a breadboard. Also note that I used 20 leds here. The last 5 were cut of later, when I knew how long the fake lashes were, that they needed to be attached to.

    I removed the sheeting from some solid core wire, and slipped that over the end of the five twisted wires, to prevent damage, and make it possible to keep them in place using some hair-clips, if needed.

    Lastly, I glued the string of leds to some fake eyelashes using white-glue. I soldered to other end of the wires directly to the PCB, and added some glue for strain-relieve.

View all instructions

Enjoy this project?



Morning.Star wrote 09/23/2018 at 06:04 point

Sneaky, very sneaky lol. I considered superglue but I've had bad experiences getting the vapour in my eye soldering under a jewellers loupe when it gets hot. I dont mind flux, even burning plastic, but I do try and avoid heating cyano, that really stings.

Not a good look with mascara everywhere XD

  Are you sure? yes | no

Gerben wrote 09/23/2018 at 14:55 point

You definitely don't want to touch the superglue with the iron. Literally breathtaking.

I was just reading your post on the 4x4x4 cube. I must try your metal-tape trick next time.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Morning.Star wrote 09/23/2018 at 16:14 point

I've just ordered some peelable solder mask. I havent tried it yet, but it sets in 15 mins, takes 288C, chemically inert, non-conductive. This should be perfect for gluing down both devices and wiring temporarily as well as insulation. I'll log it when I do, but... ;-)
Breathtaking? Heh, one flash of those lashes would have me. They need to be everywhere... My cube is a bit square lol, those are stunning. :-)

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