Tag Archives: LEDs

LED Holiday House Puzzle Quiet Book Page

This quiet book page was quite the project! It is an interactive puzzle – you match the shapes to light up the LEDs. It is the second page in a series of pages I am doing for all 4 seasons. I’ll be doing one regular page and one LED holiday page for each season. The first was my Halloween Jack-o-Lantern page.

The planning of the circuits was a bit confusing to work out, but I really feel like I’m starting to get the hang of e-textiles. I admit, I went through two revisions of how I sewed the circuits before settling on the third. But, that is one of the things that makes e-sewing so forgiving. You aren’t soldering anything together… Not happy with it? Clip the threads and start again! But, don’t be scared. You can do it! Try the Halloween page first, or something similar using that wiring plan as a guide. You’ll get the hang of it!

This page can be made without the LEDs. Just skip that part and make it a regular shape puzzle. You could add a few more shapes if you wanted. You could still have the door open, but maybe put a photo or surprise behind it instead of the battery.

All of my e-textile supplies are courtesy of SparkFun. Their LilyPad line makes adding interactive circuitry to soft projects as easy as possible. They carry everything you need, from the conductive thread and fabric to snaps and needles. The lovely wool blend felt was provided by American Felt and Craft. I think the look and feel of wool felt is a match made in heaven for a Christmas themed page. The rich colors and soft, warm feel are just perfect!

What I Used:

This tutorial is going to be a little crazy! But, stay with me…

Red & Blue LEDs: Start by cutting some scrap felt into two strips that follow the roof line. On the first strip, stitch down the red LEDs: using conductive thread, make several stitches through the + hole of the first LED then use a running stitch across to the next. Make several stitches in that LED’s + hole and continue until you’ve linked all four positive (+) holes. Start a new conductive thread and repeat the process along the negative (-) holes. Don’t let the + and – threads touch. The strip holding the red LEDs will need to be layered behind the blue strip, so the running stitches need to be covered. I cut scrap felt and basted it down between the LEDs.


My strip of felt for the blue LEDs is thicker because the two circuits need to go over the red LEDs while still letting the blue LEDs line up. Stitch the positive (+) line of the blue LEDs the same way you did the red, but stitch along the edge to leave room for the negative line (see photos). Lay the blue over the red and cut out holes to let the red LEDs show through as shown. Then sew the blue LED’s negative line as shown.

At this point I tested both circuits and set them aside. To test: put a battery in the battery holder and cut two scraps of conductive thread. Lay the ends of one scrap on the + hole of the battery holder and the + hole of the last LED. Lay the other thread on the – hole of the battery holder and the – of the last LED. They should light up.


Main Circuitry: Pin the roof piece to one of the house shapes so you have an idea of where the LEDs will be. Cut a scrap of felt to go under the snow. Mine was about 8″ wide by 2″ high I suggest going 3″ high so you have more wiggle room. Cut out one set of the gray shapes and decide where they will be positioned on the house. Place the battery holder so the positive (+) holes are at the right.

Red: I started with the red circuit first. Sew a few stitches where the upper left corner of the rectangle will be. Do a running stitch up to just below where the far right red LED will go. Tie it off. (We will link it up to the LEDs later.) Start another thread by making several stitches in the upper right (+) hole of the battery holder. Go out and down (staying out of the way of the negative hole), then go right under where the rectangle will be. Go up and end near where you ended the first (negative) line. Now we stitch the other half of the negative line (broken by where the squares of conductive fabric will be.) Start a thread and make several stitches in the upper left negative (-) hole of the battery holder. Go out and down (staying out of the way of the negative hole), then stitch down and around the triangle as shown. You need to leave plenty of room over the triangle for the yellow LED circuit. End with several stitches under where the lower left corner of the rectangle will be.

You can test your red circuit by laying the red LED strip in place and running scraps of conductive thread from the – and + holes of the last one to the corresponding thread lines in the upper right corner of the house. Then place a scrap of conductive thread or fabric (I saved the selvage to use as test strips) to complete the gap where the rectangle will be. (See photo below of me testing the yellow.)

Yellow: Next is the yellow LED circuit. start a thread and make several stitches in the upper right (+) hole of the batter holder and go up and over (staying out of the way of the negative hole) to the triangle as shown. Position the LED just above the point of the triangle (with the positive hole on the left) and make sever stitches in the (+) hole.


The negative line of for the yellow LED is a quick one. Make several stitches in the negative hole of the LED then a couple stitches down to under where the triangle tip will be. Start a new thread and stitch several times in the upper left negative hole of the battery holder. make a line of stitching going out and down (don’t touch the blue line!) and end it under where the lower right corner of the triangle will me. You can test this circuit by placing a scrap of conductive thread across the gap in the circuit.

Blue: To start the blue circuit, make several stitches under where the upper right corner of the square will be. Running stitch up to just below where the blue LEDs will be as shown.


To sew the other half of the blue LED’s negative line, make several stitches in the lower left negative hole of the batter holder, then stitch down and under the triangle, just below the red line you made earlier. My lines were close, which is why I suggest using a slightly longer scrap of felt down there. Make sure you leave room below the line you are stitching. There will be one more line down there. Continue your stitching up to where the lower right corner of the square will be and make several stitches.

Make the positive blue line by starting with several stitches in the lower right positive hole of the battery holder. Stitch down and over to the left (it will be the third line running under the triangle) as shown. Stitch over and up to the roof, ending beside the negative line. You can test your circuit the same way you tested the red earlier.

Conductive Shapes: Cut out a second house piece and use the door pattern piece to cut out a hole for access to the battery holder. Pin the roof piece on to it and sew it down (I was not sewing things down to a background at that point. The light blue was just a layer to insulate my laptop from the exposed circuits while I photographed steps.) I also sewed down the windows and window snow, as they are overlapped by the shapes. Cut out your star felt piece and cut a hole in it so the yellow LED can show through. I stitched around the hole for strength and also stitched it down around the narrow width of the LED so the hole doesn’t move. Stitch down the star.

Big Note: You don’t need the snaps I added to my puzzle! In fact, they almost make the conductive fabric unnecessary… But I was a little disappointed to find that (unlike the conductive thread) you needed some pressure when laying the two layers of conductive fabric together in order to power the LEDs. The finished puzzle pieces did not have enough weight to do this on their own once you let go. Since Jax is not old enough to understand he needs to press down on the pieces to get them to light, I went back and added snaps to hold the pieces down against the puzzle. I also used conductive thread when sewing them on to add conductivity.

Cut scraps of conductive fabric and sew them to the triangle as shown. Cut out a piece of felt to be your snowy ground for the page (mine is “soap sud” – a blueish white) and lay it over the bottom of the house. Sew the triangle down. Using conductive thread, make several stitches through all layers to link the two “broken” ends of the yellow negative line to the two scraps of conductive fabric. Each scrap should be connected to its corresponding line of conductive stitching. Test the puzzle piece by pressing a scrap of conductive fabric across the triangle. (See photo below.)

Do the same for the square and rectangle, adding scraps of conductive fabric (and snaps if preferred) as shown and sewing them down. Be sure to link the conductive fabric to the circuits with conductive thread. (See the last photo below. You can see my 3 dark stitches in the side of each square of conductive fabric.)


When designing this puzzle, I worked hard to find a balance between making the project easy to explain and having a design that was easy to product with minimal user errors (such as stitching circuits too close to each other and shorting it out.) In this third revision of the design, I knew this would be the most difficult part to explain. It really isn’t that bad, though! Stay with me…

Take your strip of blue LEDs and pin them in place between the house layers. The second photo above shows the top layer of the house pulled back. I hadn’t moved the roof piece up to the front house piece yet for that photo. Simply put, you need to connect your negative line from the house to the negative hole of the first LED and connect the positive line from the house to the positive hole of the same LED, WITHOUT touching! Touching the lines together will “short” the circuit and the LEDs will not light. To do this, I added an additional scrap of felt between the bottom house piece and the blue LED strip piece. I was able to directly link up the negative line from the house to the negative hole by just stitching up the house and then straight through the scrap of felt into the hole. For the positive line, I went up the house and then through to the scrap of felt, where I continued up and around the LED to get to the positive hole. I hope the sketches on my photos help explain!

You can new test and light up your blue LEDs with a strip of conductive thread. I kept mine pinned in place so the LEDs glowed while I cut tiny holes for them out of the front house piece. I stitched around the hole and stitched them down around the LEDs same as with the yellow star. You are done the blue! Phew!


To attache the red LEDs, lay them so they line up with the holes you made in the blue strip, as shown in the first photo below. It was easy to connect the negative and positive lines from the house to the corresponding holes on the LED. Just follow the house lines and check the LED holes to make sure you are connecting the right ones. The positive line will go up beisde the LED to where the positive hole is at the top of the LED. Keep your stitches in the hole you cut out of the blue strip to avoid crossing and shorting circuits. Test it out with a strip of conductive fabric across the rectangle puzzle. You finished all the circuits! I knew you could do it!

Decorating the House: At this point, after thoroughly testing all the circuits, I sewed the house and snowy ground down to the page. Before sewing the snow to the roof, I layered the chimney behind it. I also stitched down the opening of the door.

If you aren’t using LEDs, you can add a photo window or little surprise behind the door in place of the battery… Santa? A loved one? Whatever you’d like!

For the windows, I cut scraps of vintage lace as curtains, and stitched them down along the outside of the windows. Then I decorated the window garlands with beads and sewed the, down over top.

For the wreath, I decorated it with red seed beads before sewing it to the house. I folded a scrap of red ribbon into a bow shape and stitched it down at the top of the wreath.

If you are not doing LEDs, You can stitch beads or sequins down in place of the LEDs to be the string of lights.

Making the Door: Sew a snap to the house just above the door hole. Sew the matching half of the snap to the back of the tan door garland backing piece. Sew the door to the garland piece and decorate the garland with beads. I also added a sequin doorknob. Sew the front and back pieces of the door flap together and sew it in place. I sewed mine along the bottom instead of the left as it is not there to function as a regular door and that felt more secure. If you are not using LEDs, a regular door would work well, and you might not even need a snap.

Puzzle Pieces: To start each puzzle piece, you need to make the gray backing that will complete the broken circuits when laid in the correct place. To do this, sew strips of conductive fabric onto the gray backings so that they line up with the conductive scraps on the page AND span the gap. I also added the optional snaps to hold the pieces against the page.

Decorate the fronts of the puzzle pieces however you like! On my tree, I used sequin trim to make a garland and beads as ornaments. On the square and rectangle, note that you will need to show which side is the top of the shape (so the conductive fabric lines up.) I added a bow to the top of my rectangle, and cut out a quick heart shape to Jax would realize which end was up on the square. Sew the fronts and backs together.

Before sewing your page to its backing, add a felt “snow drift” pocket to the corner to hold the shapes while not in use. You don’t want to store them on the puzzle unless you upgrade your battery holder to the one with a power switch.

All done! Not so bad, right? I admit, it was tricky at times. Electrical wiring is not something I learned while pursuing my fine art degree in college, But I am sure proud of myself for figuring it all out! Mad props to my programmer brother for patiently checking all my circuitry drawings for errors!

Jax knew exactly what this page was for before I even had all three of the puzzle pieces sewn. He kept asking if the shapes were all done so he could play with it. He can’t do little snaps yet, but this page will help him practice. I close the snaps for him after he solves each piece.


If you make this page, send me a photo! You can email it or post it on the Facebook page. I’d love to see both versions with and without LEDs. Happy sewing!

LED Robot Quiet Book Page

Quiet books, welcome to the 21st century!

I’ve wanted to create a robot page ever since I learned what a quiet book is. I’m very glad I waited so long to really think it through, because I learned about e-sewing. E sewing is using special electronic components and conducive thread to create interactive textile projects. In simple terms? Push a button and my robot lights up!!


E-sewing is easy, but you have to make your circuits just right, or it will not work. The LilyPad system I used can be spot washed, which is all I’d recommend for a detailed quiet book. I did read somewhere that the conducive thread will eventually need to be replaced years down the road, so that is something to keep in mind. I sewed my thread to a piece of felt and not the actual page, to make it easier to pull off should I need/want to run new lines in the future. Make sure you cut your knot tails short on the back of your work so they don’t touch anything else. If threads from two different parts of your circuits touch, you will have a short and it won’t work.

This page can certainly be made without the electronic components. It is still fun to mix and match the robot parts! My tutorial assumes you are installing the LEDs.




My supply list:

The Body

Start out with your body squares. Lay out the decorations on the front piece and the battery holder, button and 1 LED on the inside piece. Lay all the parts out so the + is on the left and the – is on the right, like the photo below. The button and LED will need to line up with the front. Cut a circle out of the green button piece so the button can stick through. You’ll make a button top later. Cut a tiny rectangle out the the heart for the LED. I stitched around both holes to keep them from stretching. Sew down your front pieces. On the white meter, I stitched green, yellow and red lines, as well as a black arrow. For the gears, I stitched them down with a circle in the center of each. Sew some seed beads down along the gray rectangle. I made 2 stitches through each bead for strength. Confirm the placement of the electronics and baste them down. Baste a scrap of felt to the top as the robot’s neck and sew down some snaps.

For each of the next steps you will need to thread a large-eye needle with a length of conducive thread. I only used about 12″ – 18″ at a time. Tie a knot in the end. Make several stitches in the upper + hole of the battery holder. Use a simple running stitch (looks like a dashed line) from the battery holder + hole to the button’s + hole. Make several passes through the hole and tie off. Start a new thread and make several stitches in the button – hole. Running stitch from there to the LED + hole. Make several stitches in that hole and tie off. Start a new thread and make several passes through the LED – hole. Running stitch from there to the battery holder’s top – hole. Stitch through the hole several times and tie off. Steps 1 – 3 complete a circuit. You can put your battery in and test the LED by pressing the button.

Next we need to create half of a second circuit for the head LEDs. The additional circuit needs to be piggy-backed off the first LED. If the circuit is a diamond shape, the body LED is the bottom point, the neck snaps are the left and right points and a head LEDs will be the top point when snapped on. Start a new conducive thread and make several passes through the LED + hole. Running stitch up to the left snap. Make several stitches through all 4 holes on the snap, and make long stitches between each hole in a diamond shape. Tie it off. The idea is to get a lot of coverage with the thread on the snap. Start a new thread and make several passes through the LED – hole. Running stitch up to the right snap and sew it just like the first snap. Tie off your thread. Having the second circuit incomplete should not affect your body LED’s circuit. It should still light when you push the button.


Layer some light cardboard cut a bit smaller than your body under the inner body piece and stitch it down to the page. Since quiet books are squishy, the cardboard will make it a bit easier to press the button. Next we make a button cover. Cut a circle of cardboard that is slightly larger than the button hole in your front body piece. Cut two felt circles that are large enough to cover the cardboard and sew it in between them. Lay the button cover over the button hole and sew it down with four stitches: top, right, bottom and left. Lay your body front over the inner body and test that the button cover presses the button. The button should be sticking up through the hole, making the cover press it easily.


Sew a strip of felt along the bottom of your front body piece to finish it off. Sew the front body piece down to the page, leaving the bottom and the lower half of the right side unstitched. You need to be able to lift up the front to get to the battery for changes. I added a small snap to the corner.

Sew snaps on (with regular thread) for your arms and legs.

Robot Head 1


Sew down your two snaps to the back side of the back piece of head 1. Make sure you use the opposite snap parts as the ones you sewed to the page! (I used the “male” sides on the body parts and the “female” side on the page.) Flip the back piece over and baste your LED down with the + on the left and the – on the right. Have the LED part line up with the center of the mouth.

Thread your needle with conducive thread and sew through the + hole of the LED several times. Make a stitch or two to connect the thread to the left snap (the one on the left when you are looking at the robot’s face.) Tie it off. Start another conducive thread and sew through the – hole of the LED several times. Make a stitch or two to connect the thread to the right snap. You can now test the head by snapping it to the body and pressing the button. Both the body LED and head LED should light up.

Decorate the front head piece. Cut a small rectangular hole in the front head piece for the LED to stick through. Cut a matching hole in the mouth piece. I made red eye pieces with black felt circles. I stitched little white starburst shapes in the eyes for extra cuteness. I sewed the mouth down and stitched around the hole for strength. For the antennae, I braided some gray ribbon and sewed pink circles of felt to the top. Sew the front and back pieces together with the antennae in place.

Robot Head 2


Sew the snaps and LED onto the back piece of head 2 in the same way as head 1, but position the LED to be the nose. Decorate the front piece. Cut a hole for the nose LED and sew around it for strength. I sewed a zigzag line on the mouth piece in lime green. My eyes are yellow circles on top of black circles, with a black French knot in the center. The ears and hat pieces are folded but not sewn, so they are loops that are open on the sides. Sew the front to the back.

Robot Head 3


This head is a little trickier because it has 2 LEDs. The first LED (I did the one on the left) will be sewn to the two snaps like the previous heads. The second LED will be sewn in a circuit to the first LED. Baste the snaps down to the back of the back head piece. The ears are folded pieces of felt. Pin them in place to figure out where the holes need to be for the LEDs. I cut a scrap piece of felt to lay inside the head and do all the conducive stitching (except the stitches that are on the snaps) so the back of the head doesn’t look too messy.

Baste down the two LEDs with the + sides on the left. Thread your needle with conducive thread and make several stitches in the + hole of the LED on the left. Running stitch down the the snap on the left (when looking at the robot’s face) and stitch on the snap as before. Tie off the thread. Start another thread and make several stitches in the – hole of the same LED. Running stitch over to the right snap and sew on the snap as before. Tie off the thread. If you test the head on the body at this point, the left LED should light up. Start a new conducive thread and make several stitches in the + hole of the same LED you’ve been stitching in. Running stitch over to the + hole of the right LED and make several stitches. Tie it off. Start one more conducive thread and make several stitches in the – hole of the first (left hand) LED. Carefully running stitch over to the – hole of the right LED. You don’t want the running stitches to touch any of the others (the stitches you make in the LED holes are fine touching each other.) Make several stitches in the – hole and tie off. Testing the head now should light up both LEDs.

Decorate the head. Sew around the LED holes for strength. Fold the ear pieces down and sew the sides shut. For my mouth, I made long black stitches for teeth. For his hat, I sewed seed beads along the bottom (leave room to stick the hat in between the head pieces) and the sewed the two sides together. I used light blue for the eye piece and stitched arches for the eyes. Sew the front and back of the head together.


Other Parts

For the first set of arms, long gray pieces are layered between circles for the shoulder and wrist joints. Gray claw shapes are layered in the wrist joint.

The yellow arms have the claw shapes layered into the bottom. I made long stitches to make the arms look like tubes.

For the stretchy legs, I cut folded rectangles an inch or so longer than I wanted them to be. With a piece of elastic inside the folded felt, sew across the top, catching the elastic. Continue sewing down the side (I did all this on the machine). When you get the the bottom, stretch the elastic tight before sewing across, again catching the elastic. When you let go, the leg with scrunch up. Clip off the extra elastic. Sew scraps of gray to hide the elastic at the top. Sew the foot pieces to the bottoms.

For the tank-style tread, cut out the black tread with pinking shears. Add a row of buttons to the gray piece and sew it down. cut two scrap rectangles to sew your snaps to. Sew them together and attach it to the back of the tread so it can hang down below the body.

Spare Part Storage

On the facing page, I stitched the words “ROBOT FACTORY” by pinning the word template down and sewing right through the paper. I then ripped the paper away gently. I sewed strips of black felt down to make “shelves” and added snaps to hold all the pieces. Because you have the “female” halves of the snap on both the body and the storage shelves, you will have some orphaned “male” snap halves.

All done!

I love, love, love how this came out!! Hopefully my tutorial and diagrams make sense. This is definitely the most complicated page I’ve had to explain. It was very worth it. I haven’t let Jax play with it much because it is for our vacation, but he already loves to push the button and choose robot parts.


If you make this page, leave a comment with your link or stop by the Facebook page and post a photo. I’d love to see yours!

Are you ready to take it to the next level? Here’s my LED robot *costume* tutorial!