Assignment 2 – Simple Circuit on fabric – Cheryl Li

  1. Started from a circuit on the bread board just to have everything clear. I did a more complicated circuit first but decided it was probably better to go for a simpler one for the fabric.

2. I got the idea of a LED flower in the notions market. With Professor Antonius’ suggestion, I decided to make my own flower with tulle instead of a pre-made flower. Here’s basically all the materials that I used: tulle, felt, needle, conductive thread, and everything for the circuit.

3. I decided to put the main circuit in the stem as it’s a good place to hide all the potential mess. But other than that, I kind of just went for it and decide what I’m going to do along the way. I didn’t really know what to expect therefore I had no idea about how to plan it either. So I thought i was good to learn from just figuring it out bit by bit too. It was actually quite hard to work with conductive thread since it’s a bit harder than cotton thread and doesn’t tie very tightly. For resistor and LED, it was easier to make a loop with the wire on the two side and put the thread through. But for buttons like the one showed below, I really needed to solder the conductive thread and the button together. 


4. I decided to draft the whole circuit out before I solder anything, and it turned out to be a good move. As I need something to hold the stem up, I thought it made more sense to use wire to connect the resistor to the LED. And at this point, it doesn’t make much sense to still keep the conductive thread as it’s too soft and hard to control. So I replaced the thread with the wire。

5. Then I did something without really putting much thought in it. I ripped the insulator outside of one of the wire because i thought it would make the stem thinner? It proved to be a stupid idea later.

6. Just testing if the circuit’s working before going further (especially considering how much I’m torturing the LED and I thought I broke it). Everything worked fine but just one thing to note: the multimeter won’t beep when when it crosses something like an LED because it’s too much resistance, might as well just use the battery to test it. 

7. Now I’m paying the price for ripping the insulator off without thinking. I realized that it’s obviously going to cause short circuit without any protection. But I also had already solder the circuit together so it would be trouble to take it down and put it back together. So Nick taught me to use heat shrink which turned out to be pretty fun and easy (and useful)!

8. It was a bit hard for me to solder the button. One thing to remember about this push button is how the circuit inside works and how you should connect it. The feet facing towards each other is a set that should either be the inlet or outlet. 

9. Just to make sure the circuit is working properly along the way. I think it’s a pretty good habit to just keep testing instead of realizing something doesn’t work and have to test everything out or even worse, take the circuit down.


10. Now it’s the part to sew the thing together. It was a bit too messy because of the lack of planning ahead and all the patching along the way. But it turned out alright especially if you look from far away.

11. Attaching the battery to it. I could have make a little pot for it with brown felt if I had more time. One lesson about soldering here: I was in a hurry to finish the soldering so I didn’t properly solder the conductive patch out of the battery holder before I solder the wire to it. I thought I would just drop some solder on it but it was nearly impossible. Eventually had to properly solder the battery holder first then solder it to the wire.

12. Playing with the tulle to make the rose. Definitely harder than one would imagine. I eventually didn’t come up with a more optimized way but just use a needle to hold the tulle together.


Well overall, the process can definitely be optimized and the result could look way better with more practice. But I thought it was an ok first try of working with circuit and fabric together. And hey, it definitely looks way better from afar!

One thought on “Assignment 2 – Simple Circuit on fabric – Cheryl Li

  1. Read and accepted. I think it’s a great looking flower. In the future you can look further into the application and think about the interaction of how you would like to turn these flowers on/off. It took a lot of effort to make a single flower by hand. And I appreciate how much you documented your process.

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