Thrills With An LED “Thriller” Jacket

Two shots of a Thriller jacket with LED strips being worn by Louise Katzovitz, one from the front and the other from the back.

[Louise Katzovitz] has created a light-up jacket in the style of the jacket worn by Michael Jackson in the 1983 music video for “Thriller”. [Louise Katzovitz]’s Thriller jacket is the perfect example of combining sewing hacks and electronic hacks to make an awesome, wearable jacket.

A bomber jacket was used as the base form to layer on the sequins and LED strips. Instead of bands of metal studs, [Louise] used WS2812B 60 pixels/m LED strips. 3D-printed transparent PLA “gems” were placed on top of the LEDs to mimic the form of the metal studs in the original jacket and provide diffusion for the underlying LEDs.

Inside of the LED thriller jacket, with battery pack, arduino nano and wiring exposed

Each LED strip was laid out on a piece of vinyl strip. Then, a top layer of vinyl was cut to allow each of the LEDs to poke through, with the 3D printed gems super-glued on top. The assembled LED bands are attached to the jacket by Velcro with the wiring fed behind the lining material, which can be removed easily via small hooks. The whole thing is driven by an Arduino Nano and a 5 V power bank.

With the details and process worked out, [Louise] even made a tiny version of the jacket for her dog. We’ve featured LED wearables and fashion before and [Louise]’s jacket is a great addition. These projects are perfect for anyone who wants to wow their friends this upcoming Halloween season. Video after the break!

19 thoughts on “Thrills With An LED “Thriller” Jacket

    1. I second this, it’s well done. From both an artistic and a craftsmanship’s point of view.
      A lot of love and time went into this project, as it seems.

      I don’t like the coldness of the LEDs, though.
      Classic incandescent lamps would have had a much warmer, natural light if used.
      I’m thinking of the soffitte pen lamps used in the cabins of older cars here (SV8.5 or similar looking).

      If only the LED technology was out of its infancy.
      It’s useful, but it’s not looking pretty. It doesn’t “glow” the same way incandescent lamps used to glow.
      The magic is missing. It looks unrealistic. Christmas with LED lights is among the most heartbreaking thing I can think of. Because, kids these days will never experience the same magical, warm Christmas time we used to experience in 20th century.

      1. You are two decades in the past (or live at a wrong place?). You can have LEDs with almost any spectral characteristics you desire today. Nobody uses the cold bluish leds anymore. They are a blast from an archaic past. Unless you are cheap AF and buy cheapest christmas lights from Aliexpress….

        Everything today have at least average temperature color specified.. even the cheapest bulbs you can buy in supermarket here. Non-cheapest LEDs also have at least Color Rendering Index specified and with pricier ones you can get full spectral characteristics.

        Even absolutely non-technical people here know to look for “warm white” LEDs.

        1. “You are two decades in the past (or live at a wrong place?). You can have LEDs with almost any spectral characteristics you desire today.”

          Thanks, I take that as a compliment. But what’s your point, exactly? 🤔
          The LEDs in the picture/video are exactly the cold ones I was speaking of.

          “Even absolutely non-technical people here know to look for “warm white” LEDs.”

          Good to know. But do they still own real lamps (incl. Halogen) for a direct comparison? I do. And the difference between a traditional lamp and an LED is huge, I think. Even the “white warm” types aren’t really “warm” – they merely are not ice cold!🥶

          Seriously, people, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you handle other opinions anymore? If someone has different or unpopular opinions, and explains the reason why, there’s no need for criticism. Especially since these are rare, anyway. Each to his/her own. Counter opinions are fine, too, as long as they are polite. 🙂👍

  1. Those LED strips are pretty amazing. I used six of them on a dress once, powered by an Adafruit Flora to create light effects for a performance. (It was similar to another design I’d seen, except instead of randomizing the effects, I created an effects “program” that I could manually trigger to select the “next” effect at appropriate parts of the performance using a wristband-mounted button.)

    See it in action here:

      1. I hope not! But the lighting was bad that year in the ballroom; we’re doing better on our stage lighting now. On the upside, the fact that it WAS so dark really sets off the light effects on the dress.

    1. “There have been better attempts over the years”

      Maybe you have not seen the original LED jacket that MJ wore, but the “better attempts” you linked to bares more of a passing resemblance to the original jack being copied, where as the build you appear to be dissing is way more true to the original.

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