Making Your Own Light-up Clothes

With the advancement of technology and the popularity of neon signs, even fashion has been influenced by it. It’s because you can now find clothes that light-up. These clothes are usually worn at parties and music concerts to make the ambiance look more fun. They come in different designs, and there are even some that are sound activated. Meaning, the lights will flash colors in time with the music or sounds. You’ll be able to find lots of light-up clothes in stores and even online. But have you ever wondered how light-up clothes work and how they are made? 

LED light strip

If you want to learn how to make your own light-up clothes, then read on because we are happy to share with you some of the best steps we found. 

How to Make Your Own Light-up Clothes?

Light-up clothes work by using electroluminescent wires or EL wires to illuminate the design you see on most LED t-shirts. EL panels or wires are wearable and flexible neon light that bends to any shape. They do not use glass vacuum tubes and special gases, that’s why they can be attached to the clothes by using Velcro or by stitching them. This means that you can use an EL wire to create the best light-up clothes for a rave party, costume party, or if you simply want to brighten up an outfit. 

If you want to make your own light-up clothes, you can follow these instructions:

Know the Battery Requirements

When making light-up clothing, you can buy the components needed for a battery pack separately or buy a battery pack set that has everything you will need. What’s great about EL wire is that it only has a low power consumption. It means that you will be able to run an entire outfit with just a small battery pack. 

Choose a Flexible Fabric

After knowing the battery requirements, you need to choose a good and flexible fabric. If you want the neon lights to look more alive, then fabrics like cotton, light denim, or jersey will work well with the EL wire qualities. Never choose a rigid fabric because it won’t flex with the wire properly, and it can just break it. Lightweight and stretch fabrics are also not ideal. Here are some of the recommended fabrics you can use:

  • Leather
  • Suede
  • Vinyl
  • Thick cotton
  • Non-stretch velvet
  • Faux fur quilted jackets
  • Any medium to heavy fabric that does not stretch

When choosing the material of the garment, make sure that the EL wire is not stiffer than the fabric, or the wire will take over the drape of the clothing. 

Plan the Layout of the EL Wire

Keep in mind that the center core of the EL wire is made of solid copper. It means that repeated bending can cause fatigue, which will lead to breakage. To avoid this, you can mount EL wires on areas that don’t flex much. Avoid the elbows, knees, shoulders, and hips areas. You can also use a stranded, insulated connector wire to connect the glowing pieces together inside the clothing.

Know the Length of the Wire You Need

After choosing the fabric, the next thing you need is to know the length of the EL wire you will be needing. To be able to know this, you can cut lengths of strings and lay them out on the costume you picked, the same way you’d like the EL wire to run. Once done, add up all the lengths of the strings you used to know the lengths of the EL wire you need. If you want to use different colors of neon lights, then you can also use different colors of strings to remember the length you need for each color. 

Attach the Wire to Your Clothing

Once you have the right length of EL wires, you can now fix them to your clothing. You can tape the lengths of the wire, sew them, or even use a superglue adhesive to make it more secure. If you sew the wire, you might want to use a clear thread or a fishing line to make sure that that color can shine through without any opaque lines from the thread. 

Adding Connectors and Splitters

To complete the circuit, you need to add connectors to your wire sections, and then put the other end on the battery pack. One of the easiest to use are Snap-On connectors. If you are using different colors, you can opt for a five-way splitter. You can also hide the connectors inside the clothes by adding a small hole to feed the end of the wire through the back of the clothing, then attach the connector inside. 

You can actually do these steps, not just in clothes but as well as in other items you can wear, such as shoes and hats, to make them more fun. The next time you will be attending a costume party or a rave party, you’ll be able to design your own light-up clothes just by following the instructions we shared.