How to make your own light-up LED ball gown

Model/Engineer Michelle Warner tells you how to really light up the room

Buy the 2015 Calendar to read more about Michelle and other awesome role models!


1. Awesome party dress. You can either buy it or make it yourself :)

2. Conductive Thread. Either a lot or a little depending on how many lights you want

3. Lithium polymer rechargable battery. I used this one from, it lasted me through a full 6 hour party and it is still quite small.

4. Lithium polymer recharging USB plug. What's better than having a dress that can plug into your computer?! Here's one I recommend.

5. LEDs in whatever color you want! I used about 30 LEDs but you can add more or less depending on what you want. I bought standard through hole LEDs and twisted the ends to save money but there are also sites that provide you with LEDs ready to be sewn on!

6. Clear nail polish. To secure knots in the thread

Putting it all together is simple!

Figure out where you want the LEDs to go and then figure out how to make a circuit that puts the LEDs where you want them. Take a look at this wikipedia page to learn a little bit about LED circuits:

Note: conductive thread is not like wire and has a fairly high inherent resistance (about 10 ohms per foot depending on the type of thread) so I did not end up needing a current limiting resistor in my dress.

The best way to figure it out is to try it! It's fun and easy!

Press Release

To Reach Preteen Girls, Kickstarter Project Puts Style into STEM

Around middle school, girls start to lose confidence in science and math - partly because it’s uncool. Amanda Dowd and Beth Zotter, the creators of the Kickstarter project, "See it Be it: Profiles of Women who Love Math and Science," are setting out to change that. By introducing tech- and science-savvy women in a modern, stylish format, the partners are betting that girls who like math and science might see themselves as future scientists or engineers.

The project, which ends October 7, joins a new slate of products such as GoldieBlox and the book Rosie Revere, Engineer that approach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects from a girl’s perspective.

“When girls are too old to play with their GoldieBlox and start reaching for Seventeen magazine, we want to grab their attention with these portraits” said Zotter, herself a technologist.

“What’s really interesting about this product is that it connects with girls at the moment when their interest in math and science is most vulnerable – adolescence,” says Dowd, “We plan to capture the diversity and true beauty of young women in STEM careers today. We want girls everywhere to relate to these strong and wicked-smart females.”

Dowd and Zotter plan to create portraits of real women, in their 20s and early 30s, doing "cool work in science and tech” using a format familiar to preteens - fashion photography. Unlike most magazines, however, these profiles will let girls read about each model’s field of expertise and her answers to questions like "what is the bravest thing you've ever done?" 

About Amanda Dowd and Beth Zotter

Amanda Dowd is a creative director and design strategist, with over a decade leading design and strategy for websites, digital campaigns, and videos.

Beth Zotter is an expert in emerging and alternative energy technologies. She loves science - and shoes, too.

Contact info

To learn more about this project, please contact