DIY – dynamic EL wire graphic for T-Shirts

EL-wire_animationWe have seen many examples of Electroluminescent (EL) wires used to decorate clothing or bags by simply having some strings placed as contour and a light up in a flashing pattern. Cute at times but not very stylish most of the times.

Not so the design as shown above which is from the latest issue of MAKE, Volume 21 which includes a 8-page primer on how to use EL wires.

The Make Magazine covers all interesting topics around EL wires such as the anatomy of EL wire, a comparison between EL wire and LEDs and a walk through for making a simple EL wire driver and strobe circuit based on a 556 dual-timer chip (or two 555s), a TIP120 Darlington transistor, and a small transformer.

This circuit will power about 10′ of wire, but changing values of capacitor, resistor you can tweak the circuit to power longer wires or the light’s appearance.

If the electronic part is too hard or time consuming for you, check out the ultra thin ‘Angel hair’ EL string from NeonString which also offers very small EL wire drivers and start making such beautiful animated graphics like the one from the Make Magazine.

The blinking eye design is an amazing example how the creative use of common materials and components can be turned into stunning effects – a highly inspirational example.


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