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GlowStitch LED Strips

LED strips for soft circuits, paper circuits and more!

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GlowStitch LEDs are flexible, paintable, machine sewable, hand sewable, and colorful. Perfect for hobbyists, makers, cosplayers, and teachers, they are the ultimate all-in-one crafting product for soft circuits, paper circuits, and so much more. Best of all, to get started with GlowStitch LEDs, you won’t need anything more than what comes in the box.

Historically, if you wanted to add LEDs to clothing or soft circuits, you were stuck hand sewing with conductive thread, which is time consuming—even for professionals—and tricky to teach in schools. The sewing-machine compatibility of GlowStitch LEDs brings wearable technology into the modern era. Prototype your design with conductive-fabric tape, then quickly finalize your project with a sewing machine.

Soon to be launched on Crowd Supply! Sign up for updates here: https://www.crowdsupply.com/makerqueenau/glowstitch-leds

Open Source Files here:
https://github.com/sjpiper145/GlowStitch

The aim to is to make wearable tech faster and more accessible with machine sewing. Using conductive tape, stick the strips down, test and sew! Good for wearable tech, paper circuits and general crafting, no need for Arduino or coding to get started.  


LED Strips Instructions Machine Sewing.pdf

Instructions specific to sewing machine usage.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 185.82 kB - 09/11/2022 at 12:06

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LED Strips Instructions.pdf

General use instructions and example circuit diagrams.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 355.12 kB - 09/10/2022 at 23:52

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LED Strips Glow Bag Project.pdf

A project to decorate a bag with LED Strips.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 211.11 kB - 08/28/2022 at 00:35

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LED Strips Crown Headband Project.pdf

A project to make a simple headband with LED Strips.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 233.52 kB - 08/28/2022 at 00:35

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  • New Open Source Files Added

    Steph11/19/2022 at 05:59 0 comments

    I've now updated the open source files to include LED Strips that have current limiting resistors.  The colour cycling LEDs that I've previously been using have current limiting built in, and after a user let out some magic smoke with some white LEDs the files are now updated to include current limiting resistors for standard LEDs.  

    Generally when these are used exclusively with conductive tape it acts to limit the current, but these will make them more robust for a variety of usage.  

  • Full GlowStitch Sheets Arrived

    Steph10/30/2022 at 06:56 0 comments

    I absolutely adore my GlowStitch sheets that arrived in the mail today! Test the sheet with the tabs and cut them out when you're ready to use. Includes a variety of long, short and ring GlowStitch LEDs in colour cycling and white.  Adding the tester tabs means that the user can have a 'sanity check' before using the strips and it also makes it easier to quality control test the sheets in the factory without creating a custom test jig.  An added bonus is that with a circuit running through the sheet, this no longer counts as a 'panelised board' from the factory perspective and it's much cheaper in the PCB quote generator.  

  • GlowStitch LEDs now fully Open Source and OSHWA Certified

    Steph10/16/2022 at 05:24 0 comments

    I'm proud to say that my GlowStitch LED strips are now open source, and the files are available on the GlowStitch Github page.  The project is under the CC - BY - SA licence, which means that you are free to share and adapt the circuit board files for your own module design, large projects and commercial use.  However, attribution is required, you must credit the original GlowStitch project and it must be distributed under the same open source licence.  

    The aim of this project is to make electronics easier and strip away the things that make it hard. Releasing the circuit board designs makes it easier for others to get involved and design their own compatible modules, building up a larger variety of GlowStitch parts. The faster we can work, the more things we’ll build and the better we’ll get at things like innovating in wearable tech and edutech spaces.
    I encourage you to download these blueprints and design your own modules for custom projects, interesting applications, and commercial products. This will enable the creation of much larger custom projects where you might require more specific LED colours for group projects, art installations, conference badges and much more. By doing this I will be delighted to know that you are inspiring and educating others and maybe even learning some circuit board design skills yourself.

    So far, I have the files for LED strips with x1 LED, x5 LEDs and x12 LED Rings, plus battery holders for x2 AAA batteries and CR2032 batteries available on the Github.  I can also confirm this project is now OSHWA Certified.  

  • Machine Washing the Circuit Test

    Steph10/16/2022 at 05:04 0 comments

    One of the questions about this project I continue to get is around washing your circuit when inside wearable tech projects.  Will it break the LEDs? Will the tape still be good? Today I did a machine washing test to find out.  

    My current guidance for washing in the instructions is as follows:  

    I do not advise you actually machine wash these but this was intended to be a product torture test. 

    I washed my sample with 4 LEDs and a battery pack and my large sheet of 100 LEDs inside a laundry bag to make sure it didn't get caught on any other washing.  I ran it on a 30 min cycle at 800 spin, cold water.  

    After washing and drying, there was visibly no difference to the tape or circuit.  The tape was not worse for wear, even where it was not sewed and just stuck down directly to the battery holder.  

    All 104 LED strips continued to function as per normal after washing too.  

    Obviously normal wear and tear will affect this product, but I'm really happy with these washing results.  

  • Variety GlowStitch Sheet

    Steph09/22/2022 at 04:50 0 comments

    I've created a mega variety sheet with 15 LED strips, including long, short and ring variations.  Half of these will be in white and half will be in colour cycling rainbow LEDs.  This panelises the variety design into a sheet to make it easy to manufacture and the customer cuts the strips out with scissors or craft knife.  The manufacturer and the customer can test the sheet with the tabs at the base easily to see all the LEDs light up simultaneously.  I've also made the background a beautiful starry night 

    I made this in KiCAD with help from Adobe Illustrator, Rhino 3D and Inkscape.  You have to use tools from all kids of software as standard circuit software is not designed for making art.  The workflow is not clean and feels like it's fighting you at every step to get the right result.  Lots of pixel pushing and convoluted steps, but I'm so happy with this result.  See render below, photos of the real thing coming soon!

  • GlowStitch Rings

    Steph09/22/2022 at 04:34 0 comments

    I now have some prototypes of LED rings with a dozen LEDs making it easier to do larger projects requiring more light diffusion.  Big thanks to PCBWay for sponsoring these, amazing quality as always.  This now makes a the current Glowstitch LED range include rings, strips with 5 LEDs and strips with a single LED for a great variety of projects. 

    Here's a short demo video of how these could be used for larger light diffusion. I some other ideas for using these include Iron man chest / glove cosplays, cyberpunk/tron paintings, halos and jewellery and more.  

  • Sewing Machine Specific Instructions

    Steph09/11/2022 at 12:15 0 comments

    Here's another printable instruction sheet specific to sewing machine usage.  This sheet can help seasoned sewists understand how to get the most out of the LED strips for wearable technology projects.  This draft is still a work in progress and will continue to evolve with feedback.  Check out the printable PDF's in the files section for the latest version!

  • Paint over these LED Strips!

    Steph09/03/2022 at 09:31 0 comments

    Another application of these LED Strips is to use them in art and crafting activities.  You can paint over them and the conductive tape without any effect on the circuit.  

    This is a great way to plan STEAM activities:  Learn electronics while doing art and craft.  You can also uplift your art with LED lights and experiment with interesting ways to diffuse the light in mixed media pieces.  Here's a speed paint video demo of the concept:   

  • Instructions & Project Sheets

    Steph08/28/2022 at 00:59 0 comments

    One of the reasons I'm excited about this project is that it will make electronics easier to learn.  Too often complexity is a barrier to entry for new electronics learners, and this aims to make it smooth and fun to get started.  Here's some instructions sheets I've created to ship with the sample packs for feedback from users, including a double-sided set of general use instructions with circuit diagram examples.  It also comes with a couple of project ideas, including a crown headband and how to make a glow bag.  The aim is to make this accessible to a breadth of people, including teachers who may not have any electronics experience to those who are experienced but have no wearable tech experience.  
    I've made these instruction sheets printable PDF files (download in the files section of this project page) and made them in Adobe Illustrator.  

    It takes longer to make instructions this way but makes it easier for the user to absorb with large images and a bright, colourful, fun design.  I appreciate any feedback or thoughts on these!  More project idea sheets coming soon.

  • Battery Holder Considerations

    Steph08/26/2022 at 01:45 0 comments

    I received my custom tape compatible battery holders in the mail and wanted to mention the small, simple safety feature I've included in this design. 

    Coin cell batteries are a swallowing hazard for young children, and if ingested must be taken to the nearest emergency centre.  In Australia, we have new product safety guidelines which state that products must now contain 'Keep out of reach of children' and 'Swallowing hazard' warnings and the battery holder must be child resistant.  There is a small screw beneath where the battery slides in to make it difficult for a child to remove, and the screw can be removed by a screwdriver.  I have used a 1.6mm hole and 1.6mm screw, but will likely move up to M3 / 3mm size to make sure that an average screwdriver will do the job.  
    Alpenglow also released an interesting alternative to the coin cell battery that is still in progress, a PCB that fits in the shape of the battery.  It can daisy chain many small soldering kits together for displays and convert coin cell battery holders to run USB power. 

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