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How to Create Your Own Glow in the Dark Tron Costume

Updated on September 16, 2013

Should I Use EL Wire or EL Tape?

As many people are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new Tron Legacy movie, people can’t help but think, what a cool costume that would be, am I right? Making your very own tron costume should not be that difficult, especially given the fact that you now have the secret to costume. EL Wire and EL tape is how these effects are done in the movie, and now you can have your own glowing costume in no time. The first thing to consider when building your costume is how authentic you would like your costume to be. EL Wire (or Electroluminescent Wire) is a thin copper wire that has a great neon glow. EL Wire is great for a costume with minimal effort, however the authenticity is lacking slightly for a finished product. EL Tape (or Electroluminescent Tape) is the best for authenticity, however its properties and application can be a bit more difficult.

EL Wire and EL Tape, That is the Question

Let me go into more detail about the two and let you decide how you can create your own costume. EL Wire comes in two main styles; standard and welted. Wire with welting on it basically comes with a tail which can easily be sewn into clothing, and great for costuming. Standard EL Wire is like speaker wire, and would require glue or another adhesive to get it to stay on your costume. When thinking of how you would like to wire your costume, consider the least amount of connections is also the most secure. Each time you have to cut the wire to start a new segment increases the chance of your costume shorting out in one location or another. Rather than cutting the wire to jump a gap, consider poking a hole in your costume and running the wire through the inside. This will give you the effect you are looking for, but takes no time at all, and gives you a secure connection. Wire with welting can be a bit trickier when trying to hide portions of the wire, as the hole in your costume has to be larger because more material has to fit through. 20-30 feet of wire in the minimum amount of wire you would want to have in order to achieve a fairly realistic costume. An easy way to measure your EL Wire blueprint is to stick out your arms and think about how long the wire has to travel both away from your body and back, for each arm. Then do the same with the legs, and this should give you a basis on how much wire you need. Another thing to consider is always get more wire than you think you will need, as almost always, more wire is required than what you originally think. Fabric glue is highly recommended for applying the Standard wire, and can be purchased nearly anywhere these days.

For EL Tape, a similar blueprint is required, however since the tape is flattened rather than round, you can cover more real estate across your costume. EL Tape is a bit tricky to apply, however I find using glue, along with some occasional stitching will achieve the stability needed. With EL Tape, this will achieve the best effect, however there is more knowledge required about the technology. For more information about EL Tape, EL Wire or how to make your own Glow in the Dark Tron Costume, feel free to read my other hubs, as there is a wealth of information about the technology. Happy costuming and look forward to seeing some great outfits!

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      DH 5 years ago

      Hmm. I dont really want to use tape OR wire.

      I read in an interview that they came up with some kind of EL silkscreen, and there may have been a transparent foam over top.