Costume Lighting Tips

Costume Lighting Tips


Halloween is fast approaching, and I just
know you’d love to make your costume light up. Today we’re talking tips and tutorials
to inspire your own illuminated ensemble. The easiest way is with EL wire. Sew it into
a hoodie or put some on a wire sculpture bike helmet, plug it into an inverter battery pack,
and you’re good to go. We’ve got a video all about this stuff… you should watch it.
Another easy way to light up your costume is with ready-to-go LEDs. Wire light strands
and litex ribbon don’t require any wiring, but check out our guide for a very simple
LED and battery circuit that anybody can pull off.
If you’re willing to do a little microcontroller programming, the whole world of addressable
LEDs opens up to you. Adafruit has weather-resistant pixel strands, NeoPixel strips, rings, and
other configuration for virtually any idea you can cook up.
Clever diffusion is the name of the game when it comes to costumes and LEDs. You might want
to spread out the light with some flexible filament for 3D printing, like in our Stego
spike hoodie or cyberpunk spikes. The Adafruit blog is full of cosplay posts
by our resident expert Amy Ratcliffe; there you can find an LED and acrylic Borderlands
2 sword and a resin Halo 3 energy sword that uses bubble wrap inside to help diffuse the
NeoPixels. Adafruit creative technologist Phil Burgess
deserves a huge shoutout for his awesome LED costume work. Check out his tutorials for
NeoPixel ring goggles, Larson scanner shades,
cyber falls wig, and bluetooth-controlled Guggenhat.
He also shows you how to animate multiple LED matrix backpacks to make spooky faces.
Natalie Walsh made this dress with fiber optics, which transfer light through thin filaments
from a single light source. It’s probably the most challenging material to work with
in our list today. We’ve just scratched the surface of ways
to use light in your costumes, so give us a thumbs up if you’d like to see more on
the topic. We can’t wait to see your illuminated projects in the Adafruit forums and on our
weekly Show and Tell Hangout on Google+. Thanks so much for watching, and subscribe for more
electronic costume techniques from Adafruit.


9 thoughts on “Costume Lighting Tips

  1. I have always meant to designing myself a full-featured Halloween costume, but I never find the time to do it. I'm going to need a few large battery packs. lol

  2. I want to make a tron costume with el lights and i dont know how to do it but it sounds like it might be easy enough for me to do. The only problem is that i want to use el panels and another video i watched said that it could shock me if i dont insulate it right.

  3. I love your ideas and suggestions. I've been making my costumes light up for year, but after finding you I my hobby might be expanding. I have a couple questions I could use some help with if you could. I apologize to place them in a comments inosection (I couldn't find a good contact on your site to ask). I'm wanting to light up my costumes for Halloween, and since I only just found about you and your products I'm not quite up to speed on what I need and fear that if I had to start from scratch alone that I wouldn't make it in time. 🙁 That being said… I'm looking at your Neopixels, individually and in the strips to light my costumes. My hang up is what to run them with. From what I can tell they can be run by the Gemma, Flora, or the Arduino, though I don't know the difference and such. I don't know which I need. I would like the lights to be able to do some effects and go together possibly react to sound. I'm unsure till I receive it exactly how much I'll use, but best guess is 1-4 meters, in either 2-4 different segments on my costume. If you could point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it, along with any best recommendations on how to power it. I'm also wanting to do the light up martices boards for eyes on a costume accessory with a sound driver to make a light inside give the appearance of speaking, or as alternative to the eyes use alternating sections of el wire to give the appearance of blinking. I appreciate any help, apologize for asking so much. Thanks in advance and I love your stuff and wishing I was in NY to jsut come and peruse in person.

  4. Very clever, very entertaining, and informative. Its so crazy how all of a sudden today i had the gnarliest vision for exactly this. So i therefore looked it up. Thanks. Seems a bit overwhelming at times because i dont know much about fiber optics… i suppose my fascination/compulsion shall force me to learn, LOL. wink wink.

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