Seeking LEDs for a dancer's garment

Hi All,

I am looking for product recommendations for LED strips that I can add to the exterior of a garment that I can program to flash and “dance” in time to music. My idea is to have these strips run down the legs of pants and sleeves and to have the lights flash while the wearer dances.

I need the lights to be:

-RGB addressable strips
-Have a portable power source
-Cuttable and able to be soldered together
-Maybe a shorter length? That way I can use the same programming and have the lights track up the body the same way. My only concern with this would be the power source. Would each strip need its own battery or is there a way to have a few strips connected to the same power supply?

I welcome any recommendations!


Hi Alicia,

Welcome to the forum :grinning: Thanks for posting a great question with lots of requirements we can work off.

I’ve built a similar project for a New Years costume that had 4 lengths of NeoPixel (WS2812) LED strips sewed along a cape. Mine just cycled through some demo patterns and had the option to be set to a certain BPM instead of reacting to the music.

The hardest part of my design was trying to get 8ish hours of battery life without the batteries being too heavy to dance with. LED strips use quite a bit of power, what kind of length with you need to cover the arms and legs and how long do you need the batteries to last?

Do you need the lights to respond dynamically to the music/movements or do you just need to be able to adjust them to flash in time?
Having something flash to a set BPM is pretty easy, having something react to the volume of music is not too hard. Making lights react to just the beat of music it hears requires high speed audio processing and means you need hardware that can run those calculations fast enough it appears to react in realtime. We have a couple of options that can help with that, like specialised chips, but it is definitely a step-up in terms of complexity.


Hi Trent,

Thank you so much for your reply and apologies for the delay in mine.

To answer your questions: I’ll need approximately 13 metres of LED lights and I’ll need the flashing to last for only about 20 minutes.

I only really need the lights to flash in time, so I think I would do something similar to the way you programmed your LEDs to flash to a certain BPM.

From the 13 metres of LEDs, the lights will be cut into 30 strips of varying lengths. The shortest length will be 55cm, and the longest will be about 1m long.

Thanks again for your response!


Hi Alicia,

13 meters of LED strips are going to take a lot of power, though only needing to run it for 20 minutes might mean it’s still practicable.

The best resource out there for WS2812 (NeoPixel) LED strips is Adafruit’s NeoPixel Uberguide.

In particular, this section of the guide tells you how to calculate how much power you will need.

What density of LED strip were you planning to use and were they WS2812 strips (the most common) or a different variety? Once we know that we can do the math to see how much power it will take to run 13 meters of lights.


Hi Trent,

I was thinking of using these LEDs (you’re right they are the WS2812 variety):

Are these able to be cut? I couldn’t find any mention of it on the product website.


Hi Alicia,

They certainly are, at each set of pads there is a small cut line where you are able to cut them and resolder each side.

We’ll get some clearer photos and update the description :smiley: