Plants & Koalas: Evie’s Week 4 Sewing & Soldering HW


New friends: My real monstera plant + plush monstera nightlight

Plush Prototype #1

Say hello to my first plush nightlight prototype 🙂 It’s a monstera deliciosa plant.

I had a great time with sewing/soldering practice and prototype creation this week. I went through several different iterations in my head that involved different LED placements, but I think I finally landed on a simplified version that I am excited to hopefully move forward with. If you’re curious, you can view my original idea for the nightlight here. Photos and process below.

Paper stencils of my leaves!
Sewing on the subway home / Adding wire to the foam sheet

For fabric, I chose felt because I wanted it to be opaque enough to reflect a shadow on the wall. Being determined to make the leaves as “leaf-like” as possible, I used two layers of felt and a thin layer of foam sheet in between.

Additionally, I wanted to make the leaves & stems bendable so that you are able to bend and position the plant as you would like, wherever it is situated in your home. To do this, I used thin wire and wrapped it around the foam sheet shape of the leaf and stapled it. These ugly staples were covered by the two layers of felt. I then hand-sewed the leaves together using a simple row stitch.

Playing with LEDs & shadows in the bathroom

Lighting Experiments

Originally, I thought about including tiny little sequin LEDs in the stems of the leaves, but after thinking about it, I decided it would be more fun to play with the shadows of the leaves against walls. I ended up going to Tinkersphere in East Village – and woah there were so many options to choose from (though unfortunately no pink ones…)!

Because I wanted this plush nightlight to give off a sort of “tropical” vibe, I decided to go with color LEDs. I think I’m going to end up using blue, green, and yellow LEDs together (each leaf will have a different color).

I also bought a few jumbo fast-changing RGB LEDs and tested them out with a coin cell battery. Way, way, way too aggressive for this light.


Circuit Diagram

Not totally sure I did this correctly, but here is my preliminary schematic circuit diagram using traditional symbols. I’m also not sure I wired correctly in this diagram, as I’m planning on wiring each LED/resistor directly to battery wires like in the Adafruit tutorial (unless there is a better recommended method).

For the final version, I am thinking about adding leaves onto the plant, and with each leaf there will be a new LED – so it is possible that there will be more resistors and LEDs needed.

At Tinkersphere, I ended up also getting a 4x AA 6V battery pack just in case higher voltage was needed to support more LEDs. I think I do still need to locate lower Ω resistors, as the lowest ones I currently have are 180 (unfortunately Tinkersphere was sold out of ones from 50 – 150 Ω.


Front + backside of inside of backstitched koala

Koala Friend!

And last but not least…I now have a new Australian friend. After having a bit of a mishap with the sewing machine / my koala friend during the last class (it turned out very ugly), I ended up undoing the stitching and sewing it by hand. I used a backstitch for most of the way around the head piece and then closed it up with a ladder stitch. Additionally, I used some scraps from the boyfriend’s old t-shirts.

Koala + plush nightlight friend have found a new home

Author: Evie

A freelance photographer / writer working to inspire curiosity and world travel.