I managed to finish this costume just in time for the holiday season to start, and just took it out on its inaugural flight at the Niles Electric Lights Parade. It was really well received — I couldn’t go more than a few steps without being stopped for photo ops and little girl hugs. 🙂
This costume uses the new Pixie 3w LEDs that just came out a month or so ago. I’ve played around with fiber optics in the past, but was never ever satisfied with them because they just aren’t nearly bright enough. These LEDs are around 20x as bright as a neopixel, so I’ve finally got the punch I want behind the fiber optics! So exciting.
It uses a Flora and LSM303 accelerometer / compass module. The LSM303 means that I can enact mode changes by spinning around. (!!!) Best fairy trick ever! I want to find a Handsome Prince who will whisk me around the dance floor a-la Sleeping Beauty while my dress switches from blue to pink to blue to pink…
I’ve written a tutorial about how I made the fiber optic skirt over at Adafruit Learning Center — the Fiber Optic Pixie Skirt Tutorial. It uses 3d printed cases over the Pixie LEDs to hold the fibers in place, and lots and lots of sewing.
In addition to the 5 Pixies powering the fibers, I have two more underneath the hoop skirt providing an “underglow” effect. I’ve also connected up the LumiLabs Crystal Crown I made a while back, which has been sitting on my shelf, sad and lonely, waiting for me to find the right costume. This is the right costume, yes? 🙂
The main reason I don’t wear this crystal crown EVERY SINGLE DAY is that it’s just a bit too small. It uses an Adafruit 60 LED neopixel ring attached to cleverly laser-cut acrylic rings, so the size is pretty much set. It’s the perfect size for a kid’s head, but just a little too small for me, especially since I’m apt to wear wigs underneath. The puzzle of how to make it fit has had me stymied for ages.
I finally hit on a solution. I made a wreath headpiece that fits me out of some holiday floral junk from Michael’s, and then added a second concentric wire ring inside the first, and wired them together at each cardinal point. The inner ring sits a couple inches above the main ring. I then took some ribbon and wove the crystal crown to the inner ring, and decorated the whole thing with lots more Michaels holiday junk.
My hubby is always complaining that all my light-up costumes do a great job except they leave my face totally dark. He does most of my photography and this drives him absolutely nuts.. as a photographer, the face is the most important part of the photo, and it’s the one thing that can’t be seen.
I took an idea from Disneyland’s Electric Light Parade fairies and ordered a cheap antennae book light from Amazon. I wove it into the crown with the two book lights pointing right down at my face. The battery pack was the perfect size to wedge between the two concentric circles of wire to hold them apart.. this thing is really surprisingly sturdy!
I think he’s right. Melissa here is wearing my light-up cyber wig, which was my previous solution to how to get lights up on my head, and I really do appreciate the difference of a lit face.
I added a connector so the Crystal Crown is powered and data-driven from the skirt. This means the crown changes modes seamlessly along with the dress, and also that I don’t need another giant battery rattling around up there on my head.
I am still planning on adding some fiber optic lights to the wings as well. These wings are giant Tinkerbell wings from FancyFairy.com, and they’re amazing to wear. I’m thinking fiber optics are the answer here too, but I am a little unsure how to proceed without tearing the wings all apart and then re-covering them.. which is an option but I won’t do as good a job as Angela at Fancy Fairy did on them, I’m sure.. so still letting this rattle around inside my head a bit.
Find out about booking performers in these costumes over at www.firepixie.com.
A couple more photos for your enjoyment! We had a great time hanging with Krampus and Darth Vader at the parade. 🙂