I just published my latest tutorial over on the Adafruit Learning System: Add Lights to your Costume with nOOds
nOOds are pretty cool. They’re little silicone-coated LED strands that are super flexible and really easy to use. They work just like an LED: connect one end to power and one to ground, and they light up and glow. They come in different colors and a couple different lengths.
They’re incredibly bendy and flexible, making them just perfect for small subtle costume details. A nOOd will last for hours on a single coin cell battery.
nOOds are really similar to EL wire in the way they look, but it’s harder to make small projects, like lighting a mask or a bracelet since EL wire needs an inverter to run. The inverters make a whining sound and are kind of clunky, so.. not ideal for wearing on your face, really. I’m not a huge fan of EL wire for this reason. It feels like I’m being plagued by a mosquito.
For small, standalone costume pieces though, these nOOds really shine. You don’t need a microcontroller, you don’t need to code, and if you get yourself some solder-seal connectors, you don’t need to solder.
If you do want to get fancy, the tutorial also shows how to hook them up to a microcontroller and go nuts with fading or sequencing using CircuitPython code.