Erin has been making LED costumes for over 10 years, and wearing them to professional gigs as a performer and party entertainer. Her first LED swimmable mermaid tail was featured in Make Magazine. This guide shares a lot of the experience and knowledge she has gained over years of making light-up costumes work reliably in challenging environments like high-end corporate shows and photo shoots halfway around the world, far away from a soldering iron or makerspace.
From the guide:
Light-up costumes using LEDs are delicate. Wires break, connectors, fail, and dust or water can get into the tiniest cracks in your enclosure, causing short circuits or rust.
And yet, most of our LED costumes are dreamed up, built, and created to be taken into harsh environments. We want to wear them to festivals in the desert and have them glow all night. We want to dress our wiggling, squirming kids up in lights so they can trick-or-treat on Halloween Night.
We need our costumes or art cars to stand up to assault by excited bystanders who can’t resist poking, touching, and tugging on our beautiful creations. They need to be able to weather windstorms and rainstorms, long hugs from strangers in the dark, immersion in cuddle puddles, or pole dances on a moving art car, deep in the playa. They need to work every time we turn them on, without an hour’s worth of repairs needed after every appearance.
This tutorial will give tips and tricks on design, build, and maintenance for costumes that Will Not Break. I’m using my favorite example: my light-up swimming mermaid tail.
You think the playa is a challenge? Try wearing your LED costume in the ocean.
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