- EL (electro luminescent) wire - you can get this stuff online or sometimes in auto shops (its used for decoration). We suggest getting Aqua 2.3-2.6mm diameter which will appear white and is the brightest kind of EL
- EL Inverter - we really dig the 2 x AA inverters, they're easy to use and power and can run a few meters. You'll also need 2 AA batteries of course.
- Connectors for the Inverter - usually sold next to the inverter.
- Soldering iron and Solder - to attach the EL wire. Available in any electronics shop, hardware store, or radio shack, etc.
- Copper tape - you can get this at craft stores in the glassworking area
- Wire strippers with a 18 or 20 AWG notch to strip the EL wire. Available in any electronics shop, hardware store, or radio shack, etc.
- Wire cutters - For cutting the copper tape and EL wire. Available in any electronics shop, hardware store, or radio shack, etc.
- Heat shrink - in 1/4" and 1/8" diameter, to protect the EL wire. Available in any electronics shop, hardware store, or radio shack, etc.
- Ribbon or other thin stranded wire - for extending the inverter, as necessary.Available in any electronics shop, hardware store, or radio shack, etc.
- Lighter / Heat gun / Hair drier - to shrink the heatshrink.
- Scissors - for cutting thread.
- "Invisible" thread - made of nylon this stuff is strong, waterproof and clear! All sewing and craft stores will have this
- Heavy needle - make sure its large enough to thread the invisible thread, but thin and sharp enough that you can pass it through the fabric of the bag. All sewing and craft stores will have this
Now disconnect the wire from the inverter - never cut EL wire while its lit!
And don't cut it yet, we'll do that in a later step!
Now we'll start sewing the EL onto the bag. We suggest using 'invisible' thread - also known as nylon thread, its strong and clear so that it wont distract from your EL.
Place the inverter connected to the EL in the pocket you think is best, this will let you best judge how much wire you need - be sure to try opening and closing the bag so you don't make any mistakes. Its easy to cut EL wire down but impossible to make it longer so measure twice and cut once!
Lay the EL wire so it traces the chalk outline (or piping) - in this photo the EL is lit but we don't necessarily suggest that you sew it lit unless it helps you visualize the design. Use masking tape to keep the EL wire in place.
Once you have traced the pattern, then you should cut the ends with wirecutters! (again don't cut while its on)
You can cap the EL wire for protection with a piece of small heatshrink, while its still warm, squeeze it with pliers to seal it.
For the pocket detail, we wanted to have a piece of EL that split in two, this is possible but a little trickier than just a single piece. Make sure you're comfortable with soldering to EL wire since you'll need to solder to two ends, thus doubling the difficulty
You'll want to cut the first piece a little long, again, and then solder two pieces of ribbon or other thin stranded wire to both the core and corona wires. Each one can go to another EL piece.
Almost done! Once the EL wire is all sewn on make sure to test each strand again to make sure they are still strong and connected. Double check all the heatshrink as well.
You can pass the wires around the bag or, if it is easier, and you're OK with permanent modification, punch a hole and pass the wires through it. This can be a little neater and less obviously modded.
This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Jul 29, 2012.