7 LED Cosplay Projects for Beginners

Whether you’re a seasoned cosplay artist or a novice, adding a touch of LED lights to your project will take your creations to a whole new level. If you’ve never handled electronics before, you can be sure that these projects here are the perfect entry into the world of lights, cables, and microcontrollers.

Each project covers a basic idea like lighting up eyes on a mask or creating a sparkly jewel necklace, but keep in mind that they’re also flexible enough to be used in many ways in your costume.

1. LED jewelry necklace

With no soldering and no programming required, this first LED project is as easy as it sounds. Essentially, all you need to do is find a necklace that works with your outfit and wrap a short string of LED lights around it, disguising the wires. Simple as that.

Once you’ve added LEDs to your costume in this way, you’ll be glad to know that you just need a few extra components to start creating more interesting and customizable designs. To go from pre-built lights to wiring up the perfect LED for your cosplay, be sure to check out our guide that explains how to solder with a few simple tips and projects.

2. LED Pendant

This next project will help you create an LED pendant with easily customizable code (to change light patterns) using a small Adafruit ItsyBitsy microcontroller. The trickiest part of this build is dealing with very small parts that can be difficult to assemble. However, it only requires through-hole soldering, so it can definitely be accomplished if this is only your third or fourth time soldering electronics.


With a small battery, an on/off switch and a NeoPixel Jewel LED, it has all the basic pieces needed to create the perfect glowing pendant. Once you’ve built the electronics, you can start looking for something to house them in, or you can check out Adafruit’s tutorial to see how you can embed the electronics in resin.

3. Floating LED fireball with motion detection

Still don’t have a welder? Then try this LED fireball project. Instead of focusing on learning how to solder wires, this beginner project will teach you a little about programming lights using Microsoft’s MakeCode. It is a visual programming platform that uses colored drag and drop blocks to write a program.

A glowing flame effect is a super versatile cosplay accessory; you can use it to build a Burning Devil costume or modify it to more closely resemble Wanda’s Scarlet Witch magic. For this project you will need the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express microcontroller which adds motion detection to your LEDs and ups the level of your cosplay. If this is enough to convince you, you can head over to the Adafruit website for a detailed tutorial.

4. Neon LED Stick Person Costume

There are a bunch of different LED lights you can buy for your project, and in this one you’ll be using a neon LED made from flexible silicone. This tutorial from Adafruit will walk you through how to solder the LEDs to additional wire to create a custom Stick Person LED costume. But don’t limit yourself to this idea: once you understand how to connect lights, you can start using them to suit whatever character you’re creating.

This project is further simplified by the fact that you won’t need a microcontroller or any code to operate the lights. Just plug them into a battery and you’re ready to go. However, by simply adding an extra step of soldering, you can tailor the LEDs to exactly the required length, which helps when accessorizing or dressing up with lights.

5. Masks with LED eyes

As you learn more about LEDs, you’ll begin to discover that they come in all different shapes and sizes. In the project video above, she will learn how to modify a plastic mask to recreate the Marvel Moon Knight character by cleverly placing two small LED buttons behind the eyes.

In another example, this YouTube video explains how to use flat, flexible rectangular LEDs to light up the eyes on an Iron Man helmet. When placed the right way, LEDs are a quick and easy addition to your cosplay that will give a extra shine.

6. Shoes with LED lights and vibration sensor

At first glance, these shoes just look like a pair of kids’ light-up sneakers, but of course, it’s what you can do with them that makes them great. Use this tutorial on Adafruit to learn how to attach an LED light strip to any shoe, and knowing this, you can get creative adding lights to your cosplay from head to toe.

To complete this build, you’ll need the Adafruit Gemma V2 microcontroller, a vibration sensor, and a bit of patience putting it together. Overall, it’s a great way to practice soldering and programming, and with a few more projects like this under your belt, you’ll soon be ready to complete our favorite cosplay electronics projects that are a bit more advanced.

7. Sew-on LED sequins

Wearable electronics companies have produced some components that are perfect for cosplay, including these tiny LED sequins that you can sew onto your clothing. While working on such a small scale can be difficult, the rewards can be worth it when you imagine all the different ways you can incorporate LED lights into your costume with ease.

You don’t need a microcontroller to control these little guys, although doing so will give you the option of adding blink and fade patterns. If you are familiar with sewing techniques they will come in handy as you will need to use conductive thread to connect the LEDs. If you’re curious about what else you can do with electronics, here’s a long list of great Arduino projects for beginners.

Light up your cosplay with DIY electronics

For a beginner in electronics, starting with these simple LED projects will give you a great introduction to basic skills like soldering and programming. Learning about the different shapes and sizes of LED lights will also help you choose the right light for future costumes.

After trying your hand at one of these projects, you’ll start to imagine the different ways LEDs can make your cosplay glow.


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