Am I able to fold electroluminescent panel or cut and easily & compactly connect them?

Thread Starter


Joined May 15, 2016
Hi! I'm looking to essentially replicate this 'origami' sheet folding style (refer to the image) - or something similar - with EL/back light panels.

However the max height and width of the resulting surface area must be around 200 mm x 60 mm, if possible.

I've done some quick homework on EL panels and cutting, connecting, etc. and realise this would be pretty difficult to achieve.

But if you think this may be possible in some way, even with a slightly different result, or you have any other suggestions to give this 'folded' surface a similar luminescent effect, I'm all ears!

PS. The idea involves an 'expandable' bike light that could attach to the seat post or seatstay, so any other advice on expandable lighting would also be appreciated!

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Joined Sep 9, 2010
It's a very cool idea but unfortunately I have no idea how to accomplish this, except by having each flat face be an independent panel. EL tape cannot be folded. The manufacturers could probably help you fine the smallest radius of curvature product, but I doubt any of them can tolerate those creases.

These guys may have some ideas for you. Talk to them. Their design guide says the tape can wrap to a 6mm diameter. If your edges could be rounded to that curvature instead of sharp creases, maybe you'd have a chance.


Joined Jan 18, 2008
From what I could find, current EL panels cannot be creased ( ).

You could duplicate the effect, however, using plastic or paper sheet that contains a fluorescent dye (or phosphorescent with less intensity).

Calcoflor white (greenish or white) is used to whiten almost any cellulosic material. Fluorescein (greenish) or rhodamine (red) are other dyes you might consider. There are many dyes to chose from. If the dye has a large Stokes shift, then the illumination source (say UVA) would not be very visible. Alternatively, if the concentration of dye is high enough,you would also shield the viewer from seeing the source. Light source, of course, would be inside the structure.



Joined May 4, 2013
If the above ideas fail to work for you then you may want to use LED's and a clear, foldable clear plastic sheet used as a light pipe. Polyester sheet (Mylar) is the first material that comes to mind.

If you have "deep pockets" then you could surface mount LED's onto a flex circuit. This will have a limited number of flexes before the copper traces break, however.