Sep 14 2010
I’ve been meaning to make something with LEDs for a while. I finally got around to doing it. I decided to make a dog collar. It was a good first project with LEDs because it’s fairly simple as they go, and it’s pretty cool because now I can see her in the backyard at night.
I used the pattern from Creative Designworks that comes with their collar kit. It doesn’t take a whole lot of fabric so I used this nice blue fabric. I thought the circles would look nice with the LEDs.
The collar itself is fairly simple so I’ll be focusing more on the LEDs here. But for the sewers out there, here are the collar steps:
- Cut out strips
- Iron interfacing
- Iron in half, then open up
- Iron sides into center, then iron closed (giving you 4 layers)
- Stitch down both sides
- Attach hardware
First thing I did was make a muslin which I used to put on Minnie and measure how much of the collar I could actually fill with LEDs. Here I am marking it on the collar. I haven’t sewing up the sides of the collar. That was the last thing I did.
In order to give the LEDs a nice opening to poke through, I put grommets in the top layer. It’s important to note that the grommets are only in the top layer and the LEDs actually sit below the second layer. This is so that the leads of the LEDs don’t touch the grommets which would short circuit them. But you will need small holes in the second layer just to pop the plastic part of the LED through.
I was originally planning to sew the LEDs with conductive thread so I wire wrapped all the leads. But we ended up using wires for this one. Next one I think I will definitely use the conductive thread. The wire was too thick. I’ll have another post on wire wrapping the leads.
Once the leads are wire wrapped, you can’t tell which is positive and negative so you gotta test them. I used a breadboard (though I think this picture actually shows testing before the wire wrapping).
Sew the switch in.
Here I soldered all the LEDs to the wire (stripped at the attachment points). And I’m testing. You can see a few don’t quite go on. They were loose and needed to be resoldered.
Then I popped all the LEDs into their holes and hooked it up to the switch and the battery.
A close up of the battery and switch attachments.
The finished collar! After attaching the battery and switch, all that’s left to do is stitch up the sides and attach the hardware. Stitching up the sides was actually pretty hard wit the grommets in there. I’d make the collar wider next time or use smaller LEDs. And I couldn’t add the D-ring because I hadn’t left enough space beyond the LEDs. So this one was fitted directly to Minnie. Hopefully she won’t grow out of it!
Here is Minnie wearing her collar during dinner.
And here you can see the collar in the dark. It’s quite bright!