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Picture of Magic Butterfly

I visualized this costume almost exactly as it came out one day while laying in the hammock. A Monarch came fluttering by and landed on my foot. I thought "how cool would it be to be a butterfly ... with many-colored wings...Costume with wings....costume with wings that change color!" And the rest just came to me.

Step 1: Make the wings


  • 8 or 10 hula-hoops from a dollar store. the cheaper quality the better for this purpose.
  • 4 single flat sheets from a super-store. usually $5 each.

(the cheaper the better because the low thread count allows more light to come through.)

  • Black paint from any craft store. Two or three bottles.
  • 20 meters of NON-Waterproof LED strip.
    Options: Semi intellegent. - Changes colors but not in patterns like mine.
    Very intelligent - Specifically "WS2812" or "WS2812b" led strip. (It is important to get this type of strip if you want the butterfly to do the patterns you saw on my video.)
  • A power supply to supply the lights with between 3 and 5 volts dc - at about 3 amps per wing = 12 amps. these are difficult to find but sometimes old laptop power adapters meet these specs. large battery-packs (power banks for cellphones) can provide a great source of 5v but can be modified to give 3.7 volts at 15 amps. If you choose this method there are important saftey precausions you need to know about... I'll expand on this topic in another post.

Heat a hula-hoop in a 250f oven, until it is bendable. Do not over heat or it will lose it's shape completely. Using a hot glue gun, glue the pliable hula-hoop to the outer edge of the wing. Holding it in place and using the glue to keep the sheet tight.

Now glue the led strip to the sheet, making them face inward on each white (lighted) area. It is important to use non-waterproof strip because the coating or tubing around light strip is nearly impossible to glue to. Also it adds a huge amount of weight over the surface of the costume.

IMPORTANT> LIGHT UP THE WINGS - if they don't light before you cover them you may be in trouble after you glue on the cover.

Using a similar method to attaching the hula-hoop, glue the sheet over the lights pulling it tight as you glue to keep the cloth taut and tight.

Now paint over the strips with paint to keep the direct light from showing through and to give the wings definition.

tomatoskins2 years ago

Great looking Butterfly!

JeffB71 (author)  tomatoskins2 years ago

Thanks T, I love hearing that people like it!

_Amelia_2 years ago
JeffB71 (author)  _Amelia_2 years ago

Thanks. I worked very hard on it and it is great to hear that you liked it.


Cooldog2772 years ago

How long did it take

JeffB71 (author)  Cooldog2772 years ago
Months. The programming was the hardest part. Now I have some shortcuts I've learned to make it easier.