MAKE Soft and Sewable Electrical Circuits

Sewable soft circuits are a unique way to explore electronics and fashion. Using conductive stainless steel thread, you can sew circuits that power LED lights and other outputs in unique ways. The possibilities are truly endless!

We’ve tried a lot of different tutorials online, but we’ve come to the conclusion that it is best for novices (especially young children) to begin by making a simple BASIC SEWABLE CIRCUIT first before trying more advanced concepts. Our tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for creating a simple circuit that powers one LED light. Once that simplicity is understood in a hands-on manner, we move on to understanding switches with the SEWABLE WRIST CUFF WITH METAL SNAP SWITCH. After these concepts are mastered, you can explore parallel circuit designs with multiple LED lights or digital microcontrollers and sensors for truly fascinating e-textile creations. There are many websites and books that provide great information about sewable circuits, which we’ve listed our favorites below.

OTHER ONLINE TUTORIALS:

BOOKS

  • Fashioning Technology: A DIY Intro to Smart Crafting by Syuzi Pakhchyan (2008)
    • This book is hands-down the best simple visual introduction to electronics. Provides a thorough introduction to conductive materials and alternative techniques plus has great activity ideas. It’s out-of-print, but can be bought “used” online.
  • Switch Craft  by Alison Lewis (2008)
    • Another great out-of-print book with good activity ideas and tutorials and can also bought “used” online.
  • Sew Electric by Leah Buechley & Kanjun Qiu:  http://sewelectric.org
    • Great book that transitions from non-digital electronics to digital electronics with affordable materials.
  • Textile Messages: Dispatches From the World of E-Textiles and Education by Leah Buechley, Kylie Peppler, Michael Eisenberg, and Yasmin Kafai (2010)
    • Wonderful look at how these types of activities can encourage diverse populations to engage in electronics.

OTHER E-TEXTILES MATERIALS: