LilyPad E-Sewing ProtoSnap Hookup Guide

Contributors: Gella
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The LilyPad E-Sewing ProtoSnap is a great way to explore how buttons and switches behave in simple e-sewing circuits before crafting your project. This guide will go over the individual components in the E-Sewing ProtoSnap and how to break it apart to prepare for use in a project. You can follow along with this guide for both the E-Sewing ProtoSnap and E-Sewing ProtoSnap Kit.

LilyPad E-Sewing ProtoSnap

LilyPad E-Sewing ProtoSnap

LilyPad E-Sewing ProtoSnap Kit

LilyPad E-Sewing ProtoSnap Kit


Suggested Reading

If this is your first sewable electronics project, we recommend you read our LilyPad E-Sewing tutorial.

LilyPad Basics: E-Sewing

December 17, 2016

Learn how to use conductive thread with LilyPad components.

Hardware Overview and Features

Like other LilyPad ProtoSnap series boards, the individual pieces of the board are pre-wired - allowing you to try out the function of the circuit before sewing. The E-Sewing ProtoSnap includes three white LilyPad LEDs: two connected to a LilyPad Slide Switch and one connected to a LilyPad Button Board. A LilyPad Coin Cell Battery Holder with a 3V Coin Cell Battery provides the power for the circuit. These parts are connected together by conductive pathways called traces.

LilyPad ProtoSnap

Required Materials and Tools

If you are using the E-Sewing ProtoSnap Kit, you will also have:

To create a finished project with the E-Sewing ProtoSnap you will also need:

  • Materials listed above (if not using the E-Sewing ProtoSnap Kit)
  • Felt or fabric to stitch your circuit into
  • Pen, marker, or chalk
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun (with extra glue)
  • Optional: Craft supplies for decorating (feathers, sequins, buttons, etc.)

Exploring the Sample Circuit

Let's try out the circuit!

The LilyPad Battery Holder at the corner of the ProtoSnap holds a 20mm CR2032 Coin Cell Battery. With the battery installed, slide switch on the battery holder to the ON position.

Power Switch

Using the LilyPad Slide Switch

The LilyPad Slide Switch has a small switch labeled ON/OFF. When moved to the OFF position, parts inside the switch move away from each other and open the circuit (disconnecting it). The LEDs will not light up. When the toggle switch is moved to the ON position, the two sew tabs on the switch are connected, allowing current to flow through and close the circuit. You should see the two LEDs below the switch light up.

Side by side illustrations: left of current not flowing through the circuit when the slide switch is turned OFF and right of current flowing through circuit when slide switch is turned ON

Using the LilyPad Button

The LilyPad Button Board is also a type of switch. The circuit that is connected to the far right LED is open when the button is left by itself. When you press the button in the middle of the board, it connects the two sew tabs and allows current to flow through. When you let go of the button, the connection is opened again, and the button springs back into place. This button is an example of a momentary switch – it is only active when an action is applied.

This is slightly different from the slide switch, which is an example of a maintained switch, meaning its state remains the same until changed.

Left: Illustration of current not flowing through the button. Right: Illustration of current flowing through the button and circuit to light up LEDs below an illustration of a finger pressing the button

Learn more about buttons and switches in our Switch Basics tutorial.

Stitching into a Project

Ready to sew into a project? First, slide the coin cell battery out of the battery holder and set aside.

Carefully snap apart the connected components on the E-Sewing ProtoSnap panel to prepare for sewing. Discard the non-sewable pieces and scraps. Use a set of pliers or diagonal cutters if you are having trouble snapping the pieces apart. You will end up with six individual LilyPad pieces: the battery holder with battery, three LEDs, button, and switch.

Snapped LilyPad Pieces(

Designing Your Project

Sketch on a piece of paper or arrange the LilyPad pieces on your felt or fabric to form your design. At this point, you can recreate the connections the pieces had in the ProtoSnap format or design your own new configuration. Keep in mind that the positive tabs of the LED must connect to the button or switch in order to be controlled by them. The negative tabs of the LEDs should connect back to the negative tab on the battery holder.

LilyPad Light-Up Plush Template circuit diagram

The image above is an example of a project diagram using the E-Sewing ProtoSnap. For instructions and downloadable template, visit the Light-Up Plush tutorial.

When your circuit design is finalized, secure the LilyPad pieces on your project with a small dab of hot glue or fabric glue, making sure not to cover the holes in the sew tabs. Double check the orientation of the LilyPad pieces against your diagram (or template if using a SparkFun design) before gluing.

Hand holding a LilyPad LED and using a hot glue gun to apply glue to the back of the LEDClose up of a finger pressing a LilyPad LED into place on blue felt with another LilyPad LED attached in the background

To help you plan your stitch lines, draw your circuit onto the fabric with chalk or a washable marker.

Close up of hand drawing lines between LilyPad LED sew tabs with a marker on blue felt

After arranging the circuit, carefully connect each LilyPad component together with conductive thread stitching. Each connection between components should be a separate piece of conductive thread and avoid crossing other stitch lines.

If have never sewn with conductive thread this tutorial covers the basics.

LilyPad Basics: E-Sewing

December 17, 2016

Learn how to use conductive thread with LilyPad components.


With any electronics project, there are times you will have to troubleshoot if your circuit isn't working. If your circuit isn't lighting up, try a new battery or check that your project is switched on. Check your sewing for any loose threads or ends that may be touching other parts of your circuit and causing a short circuit. Learn more about troubleshooting your project in the LilyPad Basics: E-Sewing tutorial.

Example Projects and Templates

Check out the Light-Up Plush project tutorial for step-by-step instructions on using the E-Sewing ProtoSnap in a project.

Light-Up Plush

December 16, 2016

Craft a light-up plush with LilyPad LEDs controlled by pressing a button and sliding a switch in the creature's hands.

Project Templates

Looking for some more project ideas? Below are a few templates to use with an embroidery hoop or making another plush. Click on the button to download and print (2 pages each).

Resources and Going Further

For more information about the LilyPad E-Sewing ProtoSnap, check out the resources below:

Here are some more LilyPad sewable electronics projects to try:

Light Up Pennant with E-Textiles

Show your school spirit, geek pride, or fandom with a light up pennant using the LilyTwinkle or LilyPad Arduino.

Night-Light Pennant with LilyMini ProtoSnap

Use the pre-programmed LilyMini ProtoSnap to make an interactive pennant that reacts to ambient light levels.

Illuminated Mask

Use LilyPad LEDs, a switched battery holder, and coin cell battery to make a fun light up mask for your next costume party.

Twinkle Zodiac Constellation

Create a quick and easy piece of e-textile art based on a Zodiac sign using a LilyTiny, LilyPad LEDs, battery holder, conductive thread, and coin cell battery.

Learn more wearable electronics techniques in these resources:

Insulation Techniques for e-Textiles

Learn a few different ways to protect your conductive thread and LilyPad components in your next wearables project.

Planning a Wearable Electronics Project

Tips and tricks for brainstorming and creating a wearables project.

Powering LilyPad LED Projects

Learn how to calculate how many LEDs your LilyPad project can power and how long it will last.