Mark out a double diamond design with tailor's chalk on your backpack.
Transfer that sketch to a piece of cardboard using a ruler and marker. Mark where each LED pixel will go.
Punch holes in the cardboard with an awl.
Install your pixels into the cardboard jig.
Since the design is longer than 1 strand (25 pixels-- our design is 36), solder on or plug in another strand of pixels.
Use zipties to cinch up the wires between pixels so the design has some structure.
You can also use tape to bridge across the backs of the pixels. Remove the pixels from the jig.
Follow the tailor's chalk markings on your backpack and install the LED pixels by cutting a hole and heat-sealing the nylon edge.
Attach the pixels by stitching the wires to the front surface of the bag. Knot and cut the thread at each junction so that if one stitch comes undone, the rest of the design isn't compromised by an unraveling thread.
My install didn't go exactly as planned, and my pixel design had to be compromised. I adjusted my diagram so I'd know which pixels were which when programming animations. It's challenging to install so many pixels inside such a small space, but it was comforting knowing I could fix any layout problems later, in the code.
Decide where you'd like your power toggle switch to go, make a slice in the bag for the switch to come through, heat seal the nylon, then stitch the switch in place!
Prop up the bag and connect the USB cable (keeping the battery power off) for programming.

This guide was first published on Feb 13, 2013. It was last updated on May 19, 2024.

This page (LED Pixels) was last updated on Feb 01, 2013.

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