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January 16, 2015 AT 5:30 pm

Disney Electrical Parade-Inspired Belle Costume

Replica Props Forum (RPF) user Teresa Roberts’ daughter requested a Belle costume, and she’s going all out. Roberts is making the iconic yellow ball gown but with a twist; her design is covered in sparkling LEDs and a light-up red rose. She was inspired by the costumes in Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade. The costume isn’t finished just yet, but Roberts has made a lot of progress with the build and has been sharing videos along the way. She’s using EL wire, LEDs, conductive thread, and 24 gauge speaker wire and adding LilyPad Arduino boards to run the lights. As she sewed the skirt of the dress together, she used drafting chalk to mark the lighting design and wiring diagram.

Belle Dress Design

Roberts is still working on wiring the lights. Here’s what she said in a recent update:

I found the perfect mini basic on/off toggle switch to hide in the bodice of the dress. I made a pageant dress, with strings of mini LED lights in the skirt of the dress. Worked well but you can’t do programming the way I do with this dress. But for a beginning project was perfect. I hooked it too a batter box with on off switch. Simple enough except to turn it on and off I had to crawl under the skirt. This is something she can turn on and off at any time with or without my help. SOOOOOOo much better. AND after LOTS and LOTS of research I believe I can run both the LED and the EL wire off the same battery pack. So i’m using 3 C batteries this time since SOOOO many more lights and circuit boards I didn’t want the batteries to die too fast. and I don’t want so many batteries it makes the dress crazy heavy. But I found an 5v EL inverter that got a USB plug on it. I’m hoping to splice the USB cord hook it strait to the power source. I hoping that 4.5v will be enough to run it. Fingers crossed! Worse case I can hook up its own secret button to a separate power source ( i also found one that runs off a 9V battery) thats my back up. But I’m excited because i though I was going to have to crawl under the dress to turn on the EL wire and either way I wont have to!

Some of her other test videos:

Keep up with the latest progress on the costume at The RPF.


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