Glowing Super Bowl helmets


These geeky Superbowl decorations glow thanks to the EL panel hack which [Becky Stern] created. It’s almost impossible to make out in this image, but the EL panels have been applied to the surface of the helmet. On the San Francisco helmet you can just make out the black connector and cord at the bottom of the F.

El panels are a lot like EL wire (but they’re flat) in that the phosphors are excited when connected to a high voltage AC supply. You can cut the panels into shapes without a problem. The technique used here is to create a black vinyl mask to go over the top of the panel. This makes cutting the panel a lot easier.

The mask sticker is made on a vinyl cutter. [Becky] is a master at using the vector tool as you can see in the video after the break. She outlined each team logo with paths to create a file which the cutter can use. From there it took several tries to get the sticker just right as the curve of the helmet distorts the logos just a bit. Once it was dialed in she stuck the vinyl on the El panel and cut around the perimeter.

The Adafruit team sure loves to use electroluminescent accents.


  1. macona says:

    If you want this to last any length of time you need to reseal the EL panels with something like a laminator. The phosphor is hydroscopic and will absorb moisture from the air. When this happens the EL will dim over time starting at the edges.

  2. Jasper says:

    Those panels are pretty cool, I’ve never seen them before.

  3. Protolamer says:

    I love the beginning of that video. “Football? Football!”

  4. HC says:

    Given the WMD-scale IP takedowns the NFL and ICE do this time every year I’m amazed the video is still up.

  5. Addidis says:

    Wow those were well made I could easily see those being sold as official branded products.

  6. Alex says:

    Great video and a very slick effect. Electroluminescent material is neat stuff.

  7. Haku says:

    I wish EL fabric was as easy & cheap to buy as EL wire/sheeting, I’d make a Tron Legacy costume :)

  8. Tom says: the video is relevant. EL tapes are below varnish

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