How to Build a Glowing EL Patch Cyberpunk Jacket

Cyberpunk is about precisely two things: human augmentation through computer implants, and rockin’ fashion. The Luddites can keep their…

Cameron Coward
10 months ago

Cyberpunk is about precisely two things: human augmentation through computer implants, and rockin’ fashion. The Luddites can keep their passé AirPods and self-driving cars — in our cyberpunk future we want to access the internet directly from our brains while we wear trench coats covered in glowing neon. Unfortunately, that whole brain-internet interface thing is probably not coming soon. But you can console yourself by following Abetusk’s tutorial to make yourself a hella cool glowing coat.

To follow this guide, you’re going to need to start with a coat. Any kind of coat will work, but some sort of leather trench coat or motorcycle jacket will work best. You’re also going to need some electroluminescent (EL) panels, like the kind that Adafruit sells. They’re just like EL wires, except you get two dimensions instead of just one. This material glows when current is applied to it, and it can be cut and trimmed — just don’t use a laser cutter, as that can produce toxic fumes.

You’ll need to come up with a pattern for your coat, and Abetusk goes into a lot of detail on how to accomplish that in GIMP. The idea is to come up with a mask pattern that can be laser cut from fabric, which is then placed over the EL panels so that the light comes through with the design you want. With your patterns ready, use fabric glue and velcro to attach the EL panels and fabric masks. Route some extension wires into an interior pocket where the battery pack/inverter will be stored. Then just switch it on and you’re ready to hit the grimy, neon-covered streets of 2019 while wearing your futuristic fashion statement.

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