DIY Light Up Plush Monster Tutorial*

Follow the steps below to create a light up monster friend of your very own!

Skill level: Beginning to intermediate

Knowledge: Designing a basic circuit with LEDs in parallel and hand sewing a running stitch. If you’re sewing the entire project by hand, a bonus knowledge of blanket stitch for sewing around the edges might be helpful.

Supplies:

  • 4 sheets of felt
  • 1 ft tulle or other findings you want to add
  • 2 non-metal buttons
  • spray craft adhesive
  • embroidery floss
  • 2 LEDs
  • CR2032 battery
  • Battery holder (You can either make your own or purchase one like this one from Adafruit)
  • Conductive thread
  • Monster pattern- Draw your own or use one of the many awesomefreetemplates available online

Tools:

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Hand sewing needle that fits easily through the contacts of your battery holder
  • Needle threader While not absolutely necessary for some, I find threading the conductive thread or embroidery floss near impossible without one.
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Sewing machine
  • 2 different colored markers

Step 1: Trace your template onto the felt and cut it out.

Step 2: Decide where to put your LEDs, and draw your circuit using different colored markers for your positive and negative traces.

Step 3: Use a straight pin or your hand sewing needle to stab the fabric to loosen it where you want to insert the LED.

Insert your LEDs through the buttons and into the fabric with the negative leads on top and positive on the bottom. This will make sewing your circuit easier.

Step 4: Use your needle nose pliers to coil the leads of the LEDs. This will allow you to secure them to the fabric with conductive thread.

Step 5: To easily sew our circuit from the LEDs on the front fabric to the battery holder on the back, we’ll need to first use embroidery floss or regular non-conductive thread to sew the top of your monster’s head together.

sew fold original

Step 6: Using about 2 feet of conductive thread, sew the negative trace of  your circuit from LED 1 to LED 2 to the battery holder, making certain to secure the leads to your fabric by sewing through the spirals we made earlier. After tying off your thread, add a drop of fray check or clear nail polish on your knot. Wait a few seconds for it to dry, before trimming the excess thread. This will help prevent your knot from unknotting.

hand sew neg1

Step 7:  Repeat step 6 for the positive trace of your circuit.

Step 8: Insert your battery and test the circuit.

test circuit1

Step 9: Using embroidery floss, sew any additional features, such as a mouth, eyelashes, or patch work style stitches.

Step 10: Using non-conductive thread and either a straight stitch on your sewing machine or a blanket stitch if you’re hand sewing, sew most of the way around your plush friend, leaving a 1-2 inch opening.

Step 11: Fill with stuffing and close the opening.

Step 12: Enjoy  your new friend!

unlit monster_cropped

Useful links:

“Sew thru your hardware not your fabric” instructable by Lynne Bruning

*I originally published this post on November 9, 2014 on the OSH Park blog.

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