If you want to add extra bling to your bookmark, you can sew in a second LED. (If you’re so inclined you could even sew in a 3rd, a 4th, a 5th, and so on…) To add additional LEDs to your circuit, you need to stitch them on in the electrical configuration called parallel. A parallel circuit with two LEDs (sewn on “in parallel”) looks like this.


A circuit with three LEDs sewn on in parallel looks like this. Note that in each of these diagrams all of the (+) tabs on the LEDs are sewn together and all the (–) tabs are sewn together.


To add an LED to your project, stitch the (+) tab of the new LED to the (+) trace of the original circuit and the (–) tab of the new LED to the (–) trace of the original circuit. Where the new (+) trace intersects the old (+) trace, loop the new trace’s thread several times around the old trace’s thread before tying a knot, trimming it, and securing it with glue. Do the same at the point where the new (–) trace intersects the old (–) trace.



You could also add a switch to your circuit, or build a new project that includes a switch. You could experiment with building a switch made out of interesting materials like metal beads, metal screws, or paper clips.

Here’s one example. The images below show a circuit that includes a tilt switch made from a string of glass and metal beads. The string of beads forms part of the (+) trace of the circuit. A metal bead at the end of this string brushes up against a conductive thread patch that’s sewn to the (+) end of an LED to complete the circuit. As this construction tilts and moves, you’ll get a lovely flickering effect from the LED. This switch was designed by designer and engineer Hannah Perner-Wilson.


Can you turn your bookmark into a bracelet? Or a hair clip? Or a wallet? Can you make your own flashlight, nightlight, or headlamp?

Now that you know how to sew circuits you can stitch them almost anywhere—on your family’s throw pillows, on your backpack, on your T-shirts. Explore the possibilities!


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