How to Create a Simple Circuit: Activity#1

by Angela Iannnuzzi

This is a step by step guide to creating a simple circuit using LEDs, conductive thread, and a coin battery.


  • 1 Coin Battery
  • 1 Battery Holder
  • 1 Small Piece of Felt
  • 1 LED (light)
  • 1 Needle
  • Conductive Thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Chalk
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Small Nose Pliers
  • Beeswax
  • Threader
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    First sketch a design for your simple circuit. You should have a front and back design. There is a paper like this in your packet.

    Step 2

    Your sketch should include: 1. The shape of your felt 2. Where you will sew with conductive thread using broken line 3. Positive (+) and negative labels 4. LED 5. Battery Pack.

    Step 3

    Here is an example of a the front and back of a simple circuit sketch.

    Step 4

    Start by cutting a small shape (square, triangle, heart, etc...) out of felt for your basic design. No larger then 2-3 inches wide.

    Step 5

    Test your light with your battery before you sew it. Place the positive (+) leg to the positive (+) side of the battery and the negative (-) leg to the negative (-) side of the battery, then squeeze.

    Step 6

    When choosing a needle make sure it fits all the way through the hole of the battery pack.

    Step 7

    Then add your light by gently pushing both legs through the fabric so your light is in the front and your legs are in the back.

    Step 8

    Using small nose pliers to curl or bend your legs in different ways. This helps with remembering which leg is positive (+) and which leg is negative (-) when you begin sewing.

    Step 9

    Measure out 12 inches of conductive thread.

    Step 10

    You can use a threader to help thread the conductive thread through your needle.

    Step 11

    First, place the diamond shape end of the threader through the needle hole.

    Step 12

    Then place your thread through the diamond shape in the threader.

    Step 13

    Next pull the diamond shape part of the threader back through the needle.

    Step 14

    The thread should be pulled all the way through so your needle and thread looks like this.

    Step 15

    Tie a knot to the end of one strand of thread. (Remember how Sylvia showed us)

    Step 16

    Leave one end of the thread loose. You can secure it by twisting it around itself. Conductive thread sticks well to itself.

    Step 17

    BEFORE you sew, place the battery pack to match the same side as the LED legs, keeping positive (+) on one side and negative (-) on the other. See your polarity sheet as a reference.

    Step 18

    Start by sewing down into the positive side of the battery pack so your knot is on the same side as your battery pack. Sew close to the metal & make 3 loops when using conductive thread.

    Step 19

    Sew from the positive (+) side of your battery pack to the positive (+) leg of your LED.

    Step 20

    Sew close to your LED leg making sure to have 3 loops of conductive thread touching each leg.

    Step 21

    Tie a knot close to the felt and cut any extra thread. Be careful not to cut too close to your knot.

    Step 22

    Now sew from the negative (-) side of your battery pack to the negative (-) LED leg. Make sure to use 3 loops of conductive thread to connect them.

    Step 23

    Make a secure knot by your LED leg and cut off any extra thread being careful not to cut too close your knot.

    Step 24

    When you are done sewing the back should look something like this!

    Step 25

    Add your coin battery with the positive (+) side up and your light should turn on.

    Step 26

    The front of your simple circuit should look something like this. If the light goes on great job! If your light does not turn on check your "Troubleshooting" handout.

    Step 27

    Once your light works you can add extra designs with other materials such as embroidery thread.