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How to Make a Startling Costume With Tech #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #tech #DIY #Arduino

Horn Costume with Tech

Stephanie Mason has created a striking costume that charms with its illuminated horns and shirt, as well as its lace and chains. There’s plenty of Adafruit parts hiding in this outfit and this designer fully admits to being a fan. The horns were created with a papier-mâché base wrapped with strands of hand-soldered Neopixels connected to a Trinket microcontroller. Stephanie came up with an easy method for keeping everything on her head.

I attached them to a regular plastic headband by sort of sewing them in place with some heavy duty thread, and I crocheted over the headband and the wires that connect the two horns to protect the wires. The trinket just sits on top of the headband, I usually just cover it with my hair.

Horn Costume Smocking Detail

Using a similar method of wiring Neopixels, only this time connected to a Feather microcontroller, Stephanie created a shirt. She shares her soft circuit secrets.

I used a little template made from tape to keep the lights evenly spaced, along with pre-cutting the wires. It was a little tedious, but not too bad, and has held up very well. The wire harness is just tacked to the smocked fabric. The front of the shirt is constructed so the bottom hem folds up over the back, but it isn’t sewn shut so I can easily get in there and do repairs if/when needed.

Horn Costume Shirt Glows

You can see how the smocking helps to create distance between the fabric and the LEDs, promoting diffusion. This is a form of origami smocking, and if you are interested in learning more about this kind of stitching, you should check out Pinterest for a plethora of designs. Also, Max Studio often uses intricate smocking on their solid colored designs to add texture. There’s so much that is possible when working with tech and textiles! If you are curious about the basics of incorporating LEDs in a costume, you should take a look at our book Getting Started with Adafruit Flora. You’ll learn techniques including working with conductive thread, as well as programming LED patterns with a FLORA microcontroller. Start sketching now to design your outfit for New Year’s Eve! What color do you want to glow?


Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!


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