Make a Chameleon Scarf!

Chameleon Scarf

Project based on The Chameleon Scarf project found here:

Kit Includes

You Supply

  • Fabric (use a lightweight white or light grey fabric for best results)
  • Sewing Needle
  • Scissors (the smaller and sharper the better!)
  • Clear Nail Polish
  • USB-Micro USB Cable
  • Computer for loading code onto the Gemma (preloaded with your prefered Arudino IDE)
  • Power (More below)


Sew Your Base Ribbon

***For the following instructions: make sure while sewing that none of your lines cross! Crossing the lines will result in a short.***

  1. Identify where your Neopixels will go on your ribbon base.
  2. Cut and pull away approx. ½ inch of stitching from the data line under each Neopixel
  3. Sew Neopixels to ribbon base with conductive thread. Sew the positive power contact to the positive line, negative to the negative, and two data connections. Make sure you have good contact at all four points.
  4. Seal Neopixel stitches and knots with nail polish.
  5. Using the wiring diagram as a guide, sew the positive line to the ‘Vout’ contact on your Gemma, the data line to the ‘D1’ contact, and the negative line to the ‘GND’ contact.
  6. Continue to follow the wiring diagram to connect the color sensor. Connect the ‘3V’ contact on the Gemma to the ‘3V’ contact on the color sensor, the ‘DO’ contact on the gemma to the ‘SDA’ contact on the color sensor, the ‘A1/D2’ contact to the ‘SCL’ contact, and the ‘GND’ to the ‘GND’

Load Your Code

We’ve stored the code in a pastebin page. Feel free to copy/paste it into your Arduino IDE and modify to your heart’s content!

  1. Now that all of your “wires” are connected, it’s time to load your program! Connect your Gemma to your computer using your USB Cable.
  2. Open your prefered Arduino IDE.
  3. Create a new window and enter the code for the Chameleon Scarf (see below). Save your code as ‘Chameleon Scarf’ or something similar.
  4. Load the code onto the board.
  5. Test your ribbon! Make sure your code is working correctly before disconnecting the board from the computer.
  6. Once your ribbon is working correctly, disconnect the board from the computer.

Finish Your Scarf

  1. Get your fabric ready! If you’re making a ruffled scarf make sure you do that first, before attaching the neopixel ribbon. We recommend making a fabric ‘tube’, then creating ruffles using long basting stitches. For more on sewing the scarf check out :  
  2. Once your scarf is ready, with the fabric tube still inside out, use small stitches to tack both ends of the ribbon to each end of the scarf. We recommend tacking the ribbon down in at least two additional spots to keep it from sliding around too much.
  3. Once your ribbon is tacked in place, carefully turn the tube right side out.
  4. Attach your portable power and enjoy!

How Do I Power My Scarf?

Power is a little tricky, and depends on what is important for you. Either way, consider sewing a small pocket in your scarf for your power. GEMMAs can be powered by an onboard JST connector (popular on battery packs) or by microUSB.

  • While you’re loading code and testing, your data connection doubles as power!
  • AdaFruit carries tiny LiPo rechargeable batteries and USB chargers. These are extremely lightweight, but should be monitored while they are charging.
  • Coin batteries are lightweight, but are not rechargeable. The also limit the scarf to 4 Neopixels and shorter lengths of time due to power usage.
  • Have a small USB backup battery for your phone? Use this with a short USB cable. It’s heavy, but is rechargeable and will last a long time.