New Year’s Eve Sparkle Dress #WearableWednesday

Super cute dress from Instructables user croaker_1.

The idea for this project sprang from my partner’s desire to wear a sparkly dress on New Years Eve. It was further fueled by a friends statement: “My dress will be more sparkly than yours.” More sparkly? How could I make an already very sparkly dress more sparkly? Technology was the answer! Technology will triumph! This was a challenge I could not refuse!

So what technology could add sparkle to…well, to anything? Ultra bright, individually addressable RGB LEDs of course! Combine them with an Ardunio-compatible microcontroller and accelerometer and you’ve got the perfect flash as you move setup. A large helping of inspiration and construction techniques (and well-documented Arduino code) came from Becky Stern at Adafruit and her excellent Sparkle Skirt tutorial.

I had several goals in mind while planning to tackle this challenge. I was looking for a subtle but stunning, non-geeky effect that did not detract from the elegance of the dress. I wanted the LEDs and micro controller to be removable and reusable and their removal should be easy while still leaving the dress in a wearable, unaltered state. At the same time I wanted them to be securely attached, comfortable to wear and undetectable when not in use…a seamless experience for both the user and her onlookers.

My apologies for the quality of the video. It was very difficult to find a light setup that showed both the sparkle of the sequins and the flash of the LEDs. I hope that you can see enough of both to get an idea of how cool it looks in real life.



  • Sewing needles
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Measuring tape
  • Multimeter

Suggested prerequisites:

  • A basic knowledge of Arduino programming and electronics
  • Basic sewing skills

Recommended reading:

Check out the full tutorial here.


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