Tutorial photos by Risa Rose
Tutorial photos by Risa Rose
Tools & Supplies
- Adafruit LED Sewing Kit with candle flicker LEDs
- 28-inch piece of 2.25" wide pewter grosgrain ribbon
- Small piece of trim/ribbon or colorful ribbon cable
- Small piece of heat shrink tubing
- Hair clip
- Hot glue gun (keep a bowl of ice water nearby for burns)
- Permanent marker
- Standard cotton/poly thread
- Lighter (or wood burning tool/old soldering iron)
- Clear nail polish
Grosgrain ribbon (pronounced "grow-grain") is polyester, so slightly melting the edge prevents fraying.
Unfold your ribbon.
Fold one ribbon end over and align the first two creases. Pivot the cut end 45 degrees, keeping the two creases' center points intersected.
Take up the rest of the ribbon and swing it over this first loop. Align the ribbon's center crease atop the first two layers in your hand, pivoting 45 degrees in the opposite direction from above.
Keep pinching at your overlap junction for a tidy bow-- it can feel a bit like shuffling a deck of high-friction cards.
Be sure to check out the video that goes with this guide, which shows you exactly how all these folds are made!
Fold the bow in half lengthwise, then turn down the folded sides (accordion fold) to make a pleat.
Identify the positive leads of the LEDs-- they'll be longer and will appear on the + side of the battery when glowing.
Use pliers or your fingers to bend the positive leads of two LEDs 90 degrees.
Place one piece on one positive lead and shrink the tubing with a heat tool or lighter.
Align the LEDs as shown.
Place and shrink the other piece of heatshrink on the negative lead of the left LED.
Wrap the negative leads together in the same manner as above.
The heat shrink tubing allows the LEDs to be space apart without shorting the positive and negative sides of the circuit!
Gently curve this assembly around on itself temporarily.
Mark the positive lead with a marker.
Place the LED assembly in the pleat of the hair bow.
Dab a small glob of hot glue in the center of the pleat.
Apply glue to the back of one ribbon tail and wrap it tightly around the hair bow's center until it is set. Trim the other tail to end at the back of the bow and glue it down as well.
Look inside the holder for a tiny (-) sign (the pink circle in the photo). You will connect the positive side of the battery holder to the twirled lead with the mark (positive side of LEDs), and the negative side to the negative twirled leads.
Center the battery holder at the back of the bow and pierce your needle with conductive thread straight through one of the golden tabs and also through the entire bow, surfacing inside the pleat on the front of the bow. Pull the thread through leaving at least a 4" tail at the back.
For more info on conductive thread, check out our guide!
Pop the battery into the holder and see if your LEDs light up! If they don't, check to see if your battery holder was installed backwards.
You can position the LEDs to point in the direction you like, just don't wiggle them too much or the leads could break off!
We think these bows would also make great shoe accents!
Special thanks to Kelly & Risa for modeling!
This guide was first published on Mar 13, 2013. It was last updated on Mar 13, 2013.