Fiber Optic Bracelet

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Step 1: Fibre Optic Bracelet

In this instructable I will show you how to make a bracelet that lights up with an LED and optical fibre. I used organza braided with a silver chain; it looks nice whether the lights are on or off.  The bracelet is easy to make and uses material that can be found at a dollar store.

Step 2: What you will need

The majority of material for this project was found at a dollar store making this an inexpensive project with easy to acquire parts.  Since the dollar store doesn't have a website, I added links to other sites where you can find these parts.

  • Organza ribbon
  • LED Push Pins (If you can't find these, dollar stores often have other little toys that use LEDs)
  • Fibre optic strands (I got mine from a dollar store toy)
  • Chain from a necklace/bracelet etc
  • Jewellery clasp
  • (Optional) Jewellery end caps
  • Drinking straw
  • Binder clips
  • Duct tape and glue
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle nose pliers

Step 3: Preparing organza

The organza ribbon that I had was 6 inches wide.  I took a piece about 10 inches long, cut it in half making pieces that were 3 inches wide.  Folded each piece in half twice along the length and stitched along the edge (this forms a loop inside to hold the optical fibre).

Step 4: Fibre optic strands

I used two bundles of optical fibres for the bracelet each containing about 20 strands each.  If you are using them from a fibre optic toy they are likely glued together at one end, try to keep the glue intact you can just take apart a piece with the 20 or so strands still glued together.  This is important since you need the ends of the strands to line up and sit flush against the light source.  If you are using optical fibre from a spool you will need to cut the pieces and glue them together at the end yourself.

As you can see from the first picture above, optical fibre conveys light along the strand and comes out at the end, but you don't see much light along the length of the strand.  For my bracelet I wanted to have light along the whole bracelet.  To this end, I took the two bundles of optical fibre that I will be using and cut a few strands shorter.  I also broke the inside of the strands with needle nose pliers forming cracks.  This produces more points of light along the fibre bundles (see second image). 

Step 5: Braiding

I then took the two bundles of optical fibre and inserted one each inside the inside layer of organza.  I clipped the two pieces of organza with the optical fibre and the chain together at one end.  I braided the three parts together along the length and then clip the other end with a binder clip.

Step 6: Preparing Light

I took apart the pushpin light, the LED, battery holder and switch are nicely contained in a compact part.  I fit a straw over the LED and trimmed it down to about 1cm in length.  Then glued it in place.

Step 7: Finishing ends

Insert the two ends of the optical fibre bundles into the straw, make sure they sit flush against the LED, glue in place.  Wrap duct tape around the straw, the ends of the organza and chain. Make sure a piece of chain is sticking out so you can attach the bracelet clasp.  Wrap up the other end with tape as well (unless you have a bracelet end cap) and add a jump ring onto the chain for the clasp.

Step 8: Covering up

The duct tape and the plastic of the light source look rather ugly, so I hid it with a couple of pieces of organza sewn into a loops that fit over them.  I made on piece that fit over the part were the straw is.  The second piece fits over the light and and clasp, this can slide over when you open the clasp to put the bracelet on.

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

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