Getting started with wearable electronics is a lot easier than it sounds. You can make anything wearable light-up with the help of LED lights, conductive thread, and a watch battery. The great thing about offering this program at your library is you can make it as simple or complex as you would like.
With wearables you can do a program for teens to adults. At the Algonquin Area Library, I did a program for teens during Teen Tech Week last year where they made light-up cuff bracelets and this year, with the help of the Teen Librarian, Jennifer Jazwinski, we ran a program for adults where they created purse ornaments, bracelets, and bookmarks. My co-presenter, Barbara Fitzgerald from the Mount Prospect Public Library, has done duct tape wallets, bracelets, rings, and knows how to use a multimeter.
The basic supplies you need are materials for the project (If you are going to make a bracelet then purchase felt, lace, sewing thread, metal snaps, needles, and other decorative pieces.) and the other supplies to purchase are the coin batteries (CR 2032), LED lights, conductive thread, and Adafruit’s sewable battery case.
You can do this program for many ages, but remember the younger you go, the more teaching there is. When I did this program for the teens, I was surprised to have to teach the teens the most basic aspects of sewing. Be sure to allot at least 2 hours for this program. Also, it is really good to explain how the circuit works and how it will be sewn into the project, but expect to go around and walk everyone through the project throughout the program. If possible ask to have an assistant in the room with sewing experience.
For more information about wearable electronics and links to other great resources check out the slides from the Tinker meeting.
– Alison Tseng, Algonquin Area Public Library (firstname.lastname@example.org)