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How to Make an LED Brooch with a Magnet Switch

Description

Create an eye catching brooch that can be used on a variety of different outfits without the use of clips & pins that might damage the fabric.

This brooch uses a magnetic switch that holds the brooch in place on the garment as well as acting as a switch to turn on the LED. The magnetic switch is stitched into one side of the circuit. When the magnet is attached to the switch this joins the circuit making the LED switch on. When the magnet is taken away this breaks the circuit switching the LED off.

The brooch uses a yellow flashing LED as a centre piece for the flower. As the flower is quite small there is only space for a small circuit to be hidden on the back. The miniature cell holder is therefore an ideal component for this project as it can be tucked away very discreetly.

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Learn how to:

  • Create a basic circuit using a standard LED and miniature cell holder.
  • Insert a magnetic switch.

Level of difficulty:

  • Intermediate.

Parts list

In order to make your LED brooch cover you will need:

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You will also need the following equipment:

Step by Step guide to making an LED magnetic brooch

Step 1

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If the flower has a fastening already attached to the back carefully remove this.

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Flower accessories might look delicate but most have plastic or metal centres holding them together. Try to choose one that doesn’t feel too thick in the centre. Also choose one where the clip fastening has only been glued into position and which can easily be removed.

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Use a braddle to carefully make a hole in the centre of the flower.

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Alternatively you can use a drill. Make sure you use a slow speed to avoid damage.

Step 2

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Push both legs of the LED through the hole to the back of the flower.

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Use round nosed pliers to twist the negative leg into a small loop.

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Use oversewing stitches to stitch the negative leg to the flower.

Make sure the stitches are tight to ensure a good connection.

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Using the same thread stitch small running stitches to the position where the cell holder will be. Oversew the negative side of the cell holder to the backing fabric. Note there are two holes on the negative side of the cell holder. Use the one with the silver rim. The other hole is stitched using ordinary thread and is there to add stability rather than being part of the circuit.

Finish off the thread neatly at the end making sure there are no loose tails.

Step 3

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Use round nosed pliers to twist the positive leg into a loop.

Take care to make sure the legs aren’t touching as this will short out the circuit.

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Using a new piece of conductive thread oversew the positive leg to the flower.

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Using the same thread stitch small running stitches to reach one side of the magnetic switch and oversew it onto the flower.

As the flower is small the distance between the different parts of the circuit is short. Take extra care to make sure the positive and negative sides of the circuit don’t touch. Also try and position the magnetic switch as far away from the cell holder as you can as otherwise the magnet may be attracted to the cell holder rather than the switch.

Step 4

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Using a new piece of thread oversew the second side of the magnetic switch to the flower and then use the same thread to stitch down the positive side of the cell holder. Note there are two holes on the negative side of the cell holder. Use the one with the silver rim. The other hole is stitched using ordinary thread and is there to add stability rather than being part of the circuit.

Use ordinary sewing thread to stitch the remaining holes in the cell holder. These just provide stability rather than being part of the circuit.

Step 5

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Slide the cell into the cell holder with the positive symbol on the cell facing the positive symbol on the cell holder.

Step 6

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When the magnet is placed over the magnetic switch this will turn the LED on. The magnet can be placed under a garment and the flower placed on the outside of the fabric as the magnetic switch will work through material. A small pocket can be made to place the magnet in to or it can simply be positioned behind the fabric (check first that the magnet you use is powerful enough to hold the weight of the flower).

If you don’t want the circuit to be visible on the back of the flower use a piece of non fraying fabric to create a cover. Poppers or small strips of hook and loop fastener attached to the fabric would allow access to the battery.

 

Download a pdf version of this page here pdf_icon.gif

This tutorial was produced for Kitronik by Julie Boyd who is a specialist in e-textiles design.

E-Textiles
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