Tutorial Lightning Dots

What you need:

  • 3 Mini Power LEDs
  • Photocell sensor
  • Resistor
  • Breadboard
  • Some crocodile clips
  • Arduino Lilypad & USB Wire
  • Computer to create the code and load it on the Arduino
  • Visual Audio Wire
  • Cutter
  • Shrink tubing
  • Lighter
  • Scissors
  • Yellow fabric
  • Black fabric
  • Needle and thread
  • Conductive thread
  • Press studs / snap fasteners
  • Elastic
  • Glue
  • Tesa

At first you have to download and install the Arduino software on the Arduino website.
Now you can open the open source code for the photocell sensor and one LED. To understand how the circuit works you need to make a circuit with the breadboard and the crocodile clips. At least you have to load the programme on the Lilypad to test if everything is working.

Arduino Software: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software


Second step is to adapt the programme to not only one LED but three LEDs. And again, try to make it work with the photocell, the resistor, the LEDs and breadboard and crocodile clips. Now draw a tidy circuit in the size of the badge with all technical components.


For the badge you need the black and the yellow fabric. Draw three circles same sized with a radius about 3,5cm. Cut out those circles. You need three stripes of the yellow fabric with a height of circa 15cm and a width of 35cm. To make the badge look nicer, you need to machine the hem on every yellow stripe. When you have those things done, you need to fix the black dots with the needle and the normal black thread.
To make a clasp cut two stripes from the elastic and sew it onto a yellow stripe (one without the black dots!). Sew two press studs on the elastic and the other part of the press studs on the opposite and the back of the yellow fabric to make the badge open and close easily.

Now take the audio wire and free the inner of itself with the cutter. There are several layers before you can see the wire you need: the transparent glass fibre. When you have this work done, make three double circles the size of the black dots and keep about 10cm left at the end of one circle. To fix the circles wrap around some dull tesa.

Fix the photocell sensor in the middle of the three dots by sticking the two ends of the sensor through the yellow fabric. Put the glass fibre around the black fabric; stick the end of the wire through the fabric, so that the glass fibre wire ends on the back of the yellow fabric in line with the black dot in the front. Fix the circles with needle and white or transparent thread.


To connect the LED with the glass fibre your need a small piece of the shrink tubing. Put it around the LED and the glass fibre. Those two things must be connected as close as it is possible. Use the lighter to heat the tube up and fix the two things together. To make it safe it doesn’t move apart use the glue at the end of the tube. Repeat with all three LEDs. At the end furl the six ends of the LEDs to circles.

Coming to the electronic part you need the third stripe of fabric. You have your circuit on the paper next to you. Transfer it to the fabric by sticking the circuit with the electric thread step by step. Make sure you don’t get a short – circuit! When you finished one step, test it. If the circuit is working, move on to the next step of sticking. We recommend to isolate the thread with small parts of fabric to avoid a short-circuit.


One of the last steps is to attach the Arduino on the badge. As you see there are some press studs around the board. You only need to stich the contrary on the yellow fabric with the circuit. The trickiest thing is to connect the LEDs and the photocell sensor with the circuit on the other fabric. Therefor use the conductive thread and fix the knots with transparent nail polish.

Last thing need to be done: close the badge with yellow thread and some press studs around the edge of the badge to remove the Lilypad in case of uploading the code, etc..
Ready to go!