Conductive Thread carries electricity from a battery to LED’s or other components. It is like a wire without insulation.
These blinky backpacks were all made using conductive thread. Twelve amazing Teknistas age 8-10 sewed electronic components into a circuit. They got a little bit of help with the programming from some volunteers at the Workshop 88 hacker space.
I’m playing around with a combination of thread and Tinker Toys to make a Ferris Wheel. I haven’t perfected it yet but I hope to turn it into a kit soon.
Choosing conductive thread for your project
Conductive Yarn is a fatter thread which is good for projects like texting gloves. It has a much larger surface to make contact with your finger on the inside of the glove and the screen on the outside of the glove. It is soft and fuzzy and easy to grasp, and it breaks if you tug it too hard. I was not able to use it in my sewing machine as it broke off too easily. However, it’s perfect for knitting and it can be a good choice for hand-sewing projects, especially for kids. Use a big needle and a loose-knit fabric like a glove or a fleece scarf–or poke holes in the fabric ahead of time if you plan to use a tight-woven fabric.
Conductive Thread is thinner thread which is much stronger and a better choice for sewing machines or tightly-woven fabrics that require a smaller needle. It’s also a good choice for “invisible” wire. You can tape it to the leg of an LED with conductive tape, or sew it around the LED.