DIY Bow Tie — With Lights!


**Maker Faire Attendees **  This tutorial will be updated and additional process photos will be added by the end of this week.  A tutorial with instructions for making bow ties with lights stuffed inside will also be added soon.  If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact us at

Light Up Bowties can now be purchased in the Little Light Lab store.  Get yours today!

Level: Beginner

What you need:

***Update Make your own LED bowtie kits are now available in the Wearables Workshop online store!!!***

All kits come with specially reinforced strands of LED lights that are exclusive to Wearables Workshop.

bow tie snipMoonlightneedlesthread

How to make it:

Step One:  Insert the LEDs into the bow tie

Feed the LED strand through the top of the knot in the center of the bowtie from right to left leaving 6 LEDs on the left side.  Feed the remaining 6 LEDs through the bottom of the knot from left to right until all 6 of these LEDs are on the right side.  Please see the image below for reference.  Once this is complete, slide the LEDs and the wire strands to the inside of the bowtie so they are hidden as shown in the process photos below.

General Wire and Layout Diagram: The blue arrows represent the wires.  The direction they are pointed in represent the direction the wire should travel from the battery pack of the LED strand.  The battery pack should not be inserted into the bowtie.  This diagram will make more sense as you proceed through the Step by Step instructions below.

Bowtie LED Diagram Wearables Workshop

Start by placing your bowtie face down on the table so that the backside is facing you.

LED Bowtie DIY Tutorial Wearables Workshop

Start feeding the LED strand from right to left through the knot in the back of the bowtie.

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It can help to bend any excess wire at the end of the strand over the last LED to create a blunt, stiff tip to feed through the bowtie.

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Pull the LED strand all the way through the bowtie until the heatshrink on the wire is underneath the knot.

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Hide the wires by sliding them between the front and back layers of the bowtie.

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Leave 6 LEDs on the left side (your left) of the bowtie and feed the remaining 6 through the bottom of the knot to to the right side of the bowtie.

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You should now have two large loops of 5 LEDs on each side of the bowtie. Tuck the twelfth LED in the strand under the bowtie knot near the top of the knot and tuck the sixth LED in the strand under the knot near the bottom.  See the first diagram in this tutorial for further clarification.

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Step Three:  Wire management

Twist the excess wire between each of the five LEDs on both the left and right side and tuck them into the inside of the bowtie.

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Step Four: Attach the LEDs

Use a needle and thread to hand sew the LEDs to the edge of the bowtie.  When sewing the LEDs to the bow tie it is important not to sew through both layers of fabric.  To hide your stitches, simply slide your needle through the layer of fabric the LEDs will be attached to without pushing your needle through an additional layer.  If this is too difficult, both layers can be sewn through if the LEDs are being sewn to the back loop of the bowtie.  This way any visible stitches won’t be seen when the bowtie is worn.

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Step Five: Finish the edges

Hand sew the front and the back of the bow tie together along it’s entire length.  Make sure to only stitch from the inside to ensure your stitches aren’t visible

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Step Six: Check your work

If sewn carefully the bow tie should have a clean finished edge with no visible wires.  The only wire you should see is the wire coming from the back side of the middle of the knot to the battery pack


Step Seven: Battery pack management

There are a few options in regards to how you want to handle the battery pack.  It can be left as is and tucked into the wearer’s shirt or jacket pocket or you can glue a clip or safety pin to the back of it so it can be attached to another part of the garment.

Step Eight: Wear it!

Light up bow ties are great for weddings, special events, proms, DJs, music festivals and nights out on the town  Enjoy!


Step Nine: Share it!

Congratulations, you now know how to make light up clothing!! Show your new skills to your friends and let them know how much fun working with electronics can be!

Keep in Touch:

Don’t forget to follow this blog to make sure you are the first to know when new projects are added!


One response to “DIY Bow Tie — With Lights!

  1. Pingback: LED Bowtie Version 2 | Wearables Workshop·

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