Moving on from paper circuits with eTextiles

Prior to working with eTextiles students need to understand the principals of a circuit. The importance of connecting the + on the battery to the + on the light. One of my previous blog posts was about using Paper Circuits

Once you have explored the basics of a simple circuit the next step would be to sew a simple circuit with conductive thread to connect a battery to an LED.

Tips when working with eTextiles

  • Handsew the pieces together with regular cotton to hold all pieces together.
  • Ensure when sewing each side of the circuit (+ to + and - to -) that threads do not cross or touch in any way.
  • Use a running stitch.
  • Pull thread firmly into place, don't use loose stitches.
  • Knot ends tightly.
  • Trim any loose threads close to the the knot. 
  • Clear nail polish can be used to seal the knots in place.

Possible Materials

Approximate Price
Conductive thread can be purchased in different thicknesses and in various lengths.

Check the ply, length or weight of the thread to ensure you are getting what you want.
Price is dependent on length, and ply. This bobbin is valued at $4.41.
One power source for eTextiles projects
Shop around a large range of prices from <$0.50 each when purchased in bulk to >$6.00 each

This battery holder includes a built in switch and is one of the more expensive style of battery holders.
A range of battery holders are available in a variety of styles.

A cheaper option may be to have a simpler battery holder with a metal press stud (snap button) as the switch.
This set of 5 lights is not programmed with a Lilypad. It can be sewn directly onto projects with no computing required
From <$0.50 each when purchased in bulk.
The item in this picture is approximately $2.50
Lilypad compatible lights are able to be programmed to blink.
A little more expensive than the basic lights above. This kit is about $4.00 but can be purchased for a range of prices online.
Lily Pad Twinkle - adds twinkling lights to a project without programming.
Items can be sourced for a lower rate if you shop around.
Protosnap boards can be programmed first before snapping them apart and sewing onto projects.

There are a range of brands now appearing so shop around for different styles and prices.
Arduino brand $60-$70

Smaller genuine boards are available for $25.00

Cheaper copies are closer in price to $20.00 

Some Suppliers

Be sure to search widely if you are looking for the best price. These mentions are not endorsements

Project ideas