I saw this awesome Instructable about DIY sewable smd LEDs by user Carleyy. I use smd LEDs a lot in paper circuits, taped down or carefully soldered. And I’ve had the pleasure of sewing Lilypad LED sequins in soft circuits. Now, the Lilypad ones are very reasonably priced, about a dollar each. But if you want to put lots and lots of them over a costume, you might want them to cost more like 0.25.
Soldering anything to those little LEDs is a headache in the best of times. So this jig sounded perfect. I also learned another skill while making it, how to bend acrylic. It turns out you can’t force it. It should move like taffy, not like cardboard. I turned the scraps from the jig into little ring holders for fun.
So, jig complete, I got some copper plated crimp beads and silver plated jump rings. The crimp beads didn’t take solder well but I managed to get an LED stuck to them. The jump rings took solder beautifully, but were a right pain to get the LEDs onto. The jig is intended to let you rest the LED on top of the crimp beads, but the best way to use the jump rings seemed to be to turn the LED upside down, lay the rings on top, and press the iron down on top of both. The LED shifted a lot, I’ll need to come up with a more stable system. But it did work!