Here’s a simple summer project using EL wire and a little sewing to make your own bean bags  you can use for nighttime yard games or your Burning Man juggling act.

Before you begin, check out our introduction to electroluminescent materials including soldering to EL wire!

Let’s get started! For this project you will need:

First up, stitch together two squares of any woven fabric with a straight stitch on your sewing machine. To make crisp corners, leave the needle down while you lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric around the needle.

Stitch most of the way around, but leave an opening on one side at least three fingers wide. Clip the corners at a 45 degree angle and turn the bag right side out. Use a pencil or chopstick to push out the corners, then press with an iron.

Now it’s time to attach the EL wire. Bend your strand at a 90 degree angle and hide the connector between the layers of fabric. Using a zigzag stitch, stitch over the EL wire, catching the fabric on one side. We're using clear quilting thread on the top, and plain thread in the bobbin.

When you get to a corner, you can again use the needle as a pivot to help bend the EL wire. Be careful not to pierce the wire with the needle, or you could break the tiny corona wires inside.

All that remains is to plug in the tiny inverter and fill the bag with rice or dry beans. You can hand stitch the bag shut or use velcro tape to make it easier to change the battery.

This guide was first published on Jul 15, 2015. It was last updated on Jul 15, 2015.