Hard/soft connections



Connecting electronics to textiles is often difficult since electronics are inflexible and can have a very fine pitch while textile is soft, flexible and can be difficult to line up with the electronics. Here are a few ways to connect the two.

Temporary connections

Alligator clips

  • Connecting conductive wire and conductive thread: wrap conductive thread on bottom part of the clip
  • If copper wire is very thin: wrap copper wire also on bottom or top part of the clip



  • “Kettelstiften” (jewelry making materials): http://www.bykaro.nl/c-1277754/niet-en-kettelstiften/.
  • Fits in standard 0.1″ (2.54 mm) female header. Can be soldered on to.
  • Available in bronze, silver, gold and rose gold. (Rose gold seems to be a little thicker; might not fit all headers.)

(Image source: bykaro.nl)

Safety pins

  • Useful when attaching 2 patches of conductive fabric
  • Sew conductive thread up and down over a small patch for a few times
  • Stick safety pin through patch


(Image source: globalsources.com)

Permanent connections


  • Useful to connect conductive thread and copper wire

Components with 2 pins

  • Bend pins outwards and in a curl
  • Hand-sew over them with conductive thread

(image: open software book)


  • Bend pins outwards
  • Hand-sew over them with conductive thread
  • Check every connection with multi-meter to make sure there is no short-circuit to neighbor pins!

(image: open softwear book)

Circuit boards

  • Lilypad and Flora have nice big holes to directly sew with conductive thread
  • With a very fine needle and very fine conductive thread, it is possible to sew through most standard 0.1″ holes

(image: lilypadarduino.org)

Snap buttons

(image: ayutrade.nl /open softwear book)


  • Check with multi-meter if button is actual metal; sometimes it is only metallic paint which is not conductive!

(image: buttons4u.com / open softwear book)


(image: ucanzippers.com / open softwear book)

Many connections

Cheat sheet with more inspiration

  • e-textile connection matrix


(Image source: Hannah from kobakant.at / plusea.at)


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