Tote Bag Instructions | The Making Rooms

Tote Bag Instructions

First of all make sure you have the following items:

kit-contents you-will-need


Grab your bag and turn it over to the side with the image of the Lovell telescope on it.

Finished Totebag 77 (600x800) - Copy

Have a look at the design of the Lovell telescope. Around the edge there are symbols that represent the battery the LED and the button.


Take a close look at the LED; hold it by the wires and look down on the red dome. From this angle the little red plastic case has one flat edge, this flat edge corresponds with the negative – side of the LED. Like the battery, the LED has to be sewn onto the bag in a certain direction. Place the LED onto the bag with the flat edge in line with the negative – symbol on the bag design.

Curl the legs of the LED outwards and upwards into little circles so that we will be able to use them as little metal loops, just like on the button and the battery holder.


Before we start to sew we must thread a needle with the conductive thread (use your smallest length of thread for this first section). Put the needle threader through the eye of the needle, then put the conductive thread through the needle threader, now you can pull the needle threader gently back through the eye of the needle. This will also pull the conductive thread through the eye of the needle.

Let’s start by connecting one side of the button to the battery holder with conductive thread. Once the conductive thread connects all the components a small, safe electrical current can pass around the circuit lighting up the LED.

Place the button over the symbol of the button.

From the inside of the bag poke the needle through the fabric so that it will poke through the little metal loop on the right hand side.

Pull most of the conductive thread through to the front of the fabric, leaving enough for you to tie a little knot on the inside of the bag (use as little conductive thread as possible to tie your knot; if you leave too much on the inside of the bag then you risk not having enough thread to sew across to the battery holder).

Poke your needle back through the fabric of the bag just outside the button’s right hand side metal loop.

Repeat until you have about 4 layers of conductive thread pulled tight around the button’s little metal loop. This will ensure a nice strong electrical connection between the button and the thread (and the battery holder in time).

Tie the thread off on the inside of the bag.


Sew along the outline of the design until you reach the symbol of the battery holder.

There is a right way and a wrong way to place the battery holder. The positive + and negative – symbols on the battery holder must match the positive + and negative – symbols on the bag. If you sew the battery holder on the wrong way the LED will not light up.

Sew the left hand side of the battery holder (the negative – side) onto the bag in the same way you did with the button. Cut away any excess thread. If long ends of conductive thread move around inside your bag they are likely to touch other parts of the electrical circuit and ‘short out’ the circuit (which will make it not work).


We will use the same method as step 4 to connect the battery holder to the LED.


Now we can sew the right hand, positive +, side of the battery onto the bag (remember to cut away any extra conductive thread coming from the knot) and sew along the outline of the Lovell Telescope up to the symbol of the LED. 

You can now connect the positive + side of the LED to the positive + side of the battery; take your needle back out of its safe place in the fabric and attach the positive + side of the LED onto the bag. Remove excess conductive thread.

We’re on the last section now, your electronic circuit will soon be complete! Use the skills you’ve already learnt to connect the negative – side of the LED, along the last section of the design, to the the button loops. You may have noticed that the button component does not have a positive + and negative – side. This is totally normal, the button does not need to be attached to the bag a certain way around. Remember to keep those connections between the components and the thread strong and tight and to cut away any excess thread.


Have a look at the symbol on the side of the battery with text on it. It should be marked positive + . Push the battery into the battery holder text side/positive + side up.


You’re ready to test your electronic circuit; press that little button and see what happens.

Your LED should light up! Horray!


If the LED does not light up yet don’t panic. Check all along your circuit for loose connections, stray threads that need to be trimmed, and components that may have been sewn on the wrong way around.

Now you can use your wearable electronic Lovell Telescope tote bag and the Morse Code hints printed on the other side of the bag to pass secret messages to each other both here at the festival and out in the real world!

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