grey polo boots How to Add EL Wire to a Coat or Other Garment
As a lighted costume designer, I get a lot of questions from people who want to know how to make their own EL wire costumes. I don’t have time to help everyone individually, so I thought I’d consolidate my advice into one instructable. (one exception would be a ruffled edge on a tutu, for example). Also, if you bend or fold part of the wire when you wear it or store it, it will retain some of the bend in that location when you want to straighten it out. However, you should be aware of the limitations of EL wire when you plan your design. The center core of EL wire is made of solid copper, and like any solid wire it will break due to fatigue damage after repeated bending. On the human body, the elbows, knees, shoulders, and hips undergo the most movement. You can follow the seams, or add axtra lines as desired. Decide which sections can be lit up with a single continuous piece of EL wire, and which will require multiple pieces. Then, decide what path the wire will take for each section, and mark the entry and exit points. If you are not experienced with soldering EL wire, order extra so you can practice. The thin wire can be bent into finer shapes, but it is more fragile (better suited for a hat or a tiara, for example). The other colors (pink, red, orange, yellow, lime green, dark green, dark blue, and violet) are achieved by filtering the aqua light through a tinted outer sheath. An EL driver, also known as an inverter, is required to convert your low voltage DC power from the battery into a high voltage AC source. The polarity does not matter either wire can be connected to the center core or the outer wires. This is also a good time to join the pieces together to test the overall brightness, and decide whether you’d like to use a stronger inverter. It will burn out the phosphor on the wire faster, but that might not be important for some applications. Look for the basic clear kind, in one of the lower weights. I typically use the 6lb type, but 4lb and 8lb will also work reasonably well. with the connector wires on the inside, pull the EL wire through the hole. When you get to the solder junction and shrink tubing, leave that part inside the garment and position it in a way that can be reinforced. For example, you may want to sew it to the inside of a seam, or add glue. Thread the needle. As a rule of thumb, a good amount of thread to use is the distance between your hands when your arms are spread out. Shorter pieces will require frequent re threading, longer pieces tend to get tangled and caught on things. I like to sew with a double strand of thread meaning the needle is positioned at the halfway point on the piece of fishing line, and the two ends are tied together. If the fabric is especially thick or difficult to sew through, you can use a line of topstitching as your anchor. Leave about 2 3″ excess wire at the end. There should be enough slack for the non glowing connector wires to reach back to the inverter and battery without being pulled tightly when you move. But, you also don’t want so much excess wire that it will get snagged when you put it on. I recommend using a big stitch to sew these wires to the seams on the inside of the garment. If your jacket is unlined, this is especially helpful. They can be hard wired to the driver, or joined to a plug if you want it to be easy to change it later. The pocket should be close to the size of the battery pack. If you will be dancing or moving a lot in the coat, you don’t want the battery pack to bounce around too much, or fall out. If you do not plan to change the inverter, that part can be hidden in an inaccessible part inside the lining, or sewn into a separate closed section of a pocket. Run the wire for the battery connector to that pocket. A standard 9V battery is good for many applications.
I love all your examples of different applications for el wire!
I have a question that I haven’t been able to find an answer to. Do certain colours (like purple) of El wire emit any harmful UV light?
enlighted 7 months agoReply
The phosphor core of the EL wire does not emit UV light most colors are obtained from the combination of the glowing aqua color plus the tinted color of the outer covering on the wire. (EL wire that glows white typically uses a different base phosphor)