One of the most amazing things about LEDs is that they give you endless options when it comes to color and lighting effects. Adding lights to an ordinary piece of clothing lends that garment transformative, chameleon-like powers. I believe illuminated clothing need not be relegated to the realm of costumes and raves, when used judiciously, lights can be a beautiful design element in everyday garments. In designing this Day-to-Night Light Skirt I wanted to find a simple way to use LEDs to create something that could go from a normal piece of clothing to a festive show stopper at the touch of a button. Wear it to a classy early evening event with the lights off, and no one will be the wiser… turn the lights on when you head to a dance party later… or maybe start your own party by transforming into a fabulous light show right before the astonished eyes of your unwitting companions.
By using a pre-programmed LED chip that can be controlled by remote, I avoided the need for arduino coding, making this project quite a simple one. I also used a new kind of LED strip that just became available: fully addressable rgb side emitting led strip. Which is the same as regular addressable led strip, but the lights are oriented to shine parallel to the strip not perpendicular. This makes it a lot easier to illuminate clothing elements without showing the led pixels themselves, and it allowed me to light most of the skirt with just a single strip around the hem. This is the first time I’ve used this LED strip and I am really excited about its possibilities.
I constructed my skirt very simply, out of two tutus on top of eachother with an outer layer of embroidered organza. I think the floral organza adds a level of elegance to the skirt and creates a nice silhouette when the lights come on, but you could also make the skirt without it, choose your own patterned outer layer, or even use this technique on any pre-existing skirt of the right material.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.