My latest project is a very simple one: I wanted to illuminate a parasol. I had gotten the idea from Adafruit’s Neopixel parasol, but the final cost of the components would have been close to $100. If I were seriously into cosplay, that would be one thing, but this was more of a just-for-kicks project that would be seen in public maybe once or twice a year. I’d be bringing it with me to Maker Faire, but that’s about it.
After much back and forth over whether to just splurge on the components or not, I stumbled across my stash of electroluminescent wire that I had misplaced about 2 years ago. (Don’t judge, I moved houses twice in about a 7 month period – I’m still finding things!) With this being found, my project suddenly became much easier.
I already had a lovely parasol, custom painted with a galaxy pattern by Toaster Shades, now I just needed to add the EL wire. I began by making sure the wire would make it all the way around the edge of the open parasol, which it did with a few inches to spare. Next step was to use painters tape to hold the wire in place around the edge. I began by using E6000 craft glue to attach the wire to the wooden ribs of the parasol. Once that had dried, I adjusted my tape and added some glue to attach the wire to the midpoints of the parasol fabric between the ribs.
Once the glue had cured, I attached the battery pack for the EL wire to an inside rib, and fired it up. The purple EL wire made a lovely glowing edge on the parasol, and the two blink patterns worked well. One bonus of using the EL wire was there was no need to use conductive thread, or solder any wires. Because it’s so flexible, the parasol closes up easily without damaging the wires. It’s ready to go for Maker Faire NYC in a few weeks!