Tuesday, May 1, 2012

El wire flower bracelet


Leather flowers with EL wire wrapped around battery holder and inverter.
This is a small wearable project designed to introduce costumers to soldering EL wire.  It was taught at the GBACG Costume Academy in March 2012 by Sahrye Cohen and Hal Rodriguez.

From the Stash:
  • All the leather
  • batteries
  • Battery holders

Completed EL Wire Flower bracelet

EL Wire Bracelet
·       4 squares of leather for flowers
·       Leather wristband, 2 inches wide, wrist measurement + 1 inch wide
·       2 snaps
·       One battery holder
·       One inverter/driver
·       El wire, either one piece long enough for the whole project, or 2 shorter pieces
·       Copper tape for EL wire
·        1 inch piece of heat shrink tubing

Part 1: Prepare Bracelet
1.      Using leather scissors or other sharp scissors cut the wristband of the bracelet.  2 inches wide X your wrist measurement + 1 inch.
2.     Cut out 4 leather flowers using the flower templates or freehand if you prefer
3.     Make sure the bracelet fits snuggly around your wrist and set in snaps as a closure (the four dots on the diagram are the snaps)
4.     Now is a good time to use a leather punch or awl to make sewing holes for attaching the el wire to the bracelet band.  You want parallel lines of tiny holes slightly wider than your el wire.
Leather pieces for bracelet construction

Part 2: Prepare Electronics
1.     Lay out your battery, inverter and el wire.  Use alligator clips to be sure everything is in the right order and that your wire lights up when you insert the battery.

Electronic components
2.     Using a small amount of hot glue, attach the small flower on top of the larger one.  
3.     Position the battery holder over the center of the right side of your flower, mark where the + and – terminals connect touch the leather, using a leather punch or awl, make a hole through the leather so your battery terminals reach through to the wrong side.  Position your inverter in the center of the other flower and punch two holes so that the wires go through to the wrong side.  You can use a small amount of hot glue to help hold the battery holder and inverter in position.  Flip everything over so the wrong side faces up with your electronic components on the table.

4.     Now you have to solder things together.  Carefully check to determine which battery terminals are + and -, check which wire is + and – from the inverter.  Strip a little insulation off the end of the wire, enough to form a hook.  Wrap the hook on the + wire around the bead on the + terminal.  Wrap the – wire around the – terminal.  Solder the wires to the terminals.  Once these are soldered you can cover these with a small amount of electrical tape or hot glue to protect the connections.

5.     On to soldering your el wire.  You have a decision to make at this point.  You can solder one longer piece of wire and loop it around to make the centers of the flowers, or you can use two shorter pieces, one for the centers and one for the wristband.    Either way, measure out the el wire and be sure to leave at least 1 inch extra at the end you are soldering.  Check again with alligator clips, especially if you are using two different colors.

6.     Use the cool neon el wire soldering directions.  If you want to solder two colors you will need to put those wires together by pre-tinning each core wire separately and then twisting both the core wires together and then separately twisting the angel (or corona) wires together.  Solder the core wires together before joining them to the pigtail wire.

7.     Check to be sure things light up after soldering and then heat shrink around your soldered el wire

Part 3: Attach soldered electronics to leather
1.     Start with the el wire you want as your flower center.  Use the leather punch to make two small holes through the flower next to the inverter.  Pull the wire up through one hole, snuggly circle the inverter and then pull the wire down through the other hole.  Repeat this on the flower with the battery holder being careful not to accidentally cut any of the wires you have soldered.  You can use some glue to hold the el wire down to the center of the flower

2.     Use either the remainder of your one wire, or your second piece of wire, along the right side of the wristband.  If you forgot to make stitch holes do so now.  Use transparent thread to sew over the el wire, holding the el wire tightly to the leather band. You can put a dab of hot glue at the loose end of the el wire to seal it.

3.     Glue or sew the wrong side of the leather flowers to the right side of the leather band.

4.     Put the battery in to light up your bracelet.  You can turn off the bracelet either by removing the battery or placing a thin piece of cardboard or plastic between the + contact and the battery.

Final Bracelet

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