“People use ugly sweater parties as opportunities to get creative: Some may find tacky sweaters while rummaging through their parents’ closets and browsing in thrift shops; others may craft their own with felt and a hot glue gun. Coming up with a ridiculous sweater is part of the fun.
Still, you’ll find sweaters that are intentionally ugly. If you go to Amazon, you’ll find thousands of varieties, including meme-themed sweaters, and even one with Jesus breakdancing, for some reason. It makes dressing up easier, but it also takes a bit of the fun out of the occasion.
This year, I wanted to create something unique, so I took an ordinary sweater and added a grid of lights programmed to make it look like it was snowing. It was a big hit.
The project is a great introduction to hobby electronics, and the process is simple—you’ll need only basic computer skills, and enough motor function to work a soldering iron and sew on a bunch of lights.
- 1 sweater (preferably light-colored and a size bigger than you usually wear)
- 1 string of 50 addressable RGB LED lights
- 1 Arduino
- 1 micro-USB cable
- 1 9-volt battery holder with a switch
- 1 9-volt battery
- 1 set of three-pin JST SM Plug and Receptacle Cable Set
- 1 string of 20 addressable RGB LED lights (optional)
- Soldering iron
- Measuring tape
- Tailor’s chalk (or a pencil, sliver of soap, or anything that will mark fabric)
- Thread (as close as possible to the color of your sweater)”