Lighting Up Your Chair

Important for night time safety and visibility, and lots of fun!

A red wheelchair in twilight with many green and blue LEDs on the arms and back of the chair.
A re wheelchair with red LED lights running along black sleeves on the chair's arms and across the back.

There are so many ways to do this, but let me start with these guys. I made sleeves for my wheelchair’s arms and attached LEDs encased in ribbon to them (for both of my chairs). This makes the LEDs soft, protect and removable in seconds!

My Instructible with step-by-step instructions on how to make these is here.

You can of course also use zip ties and glue to attach lights to your chair. Black zip ties are cleaner and easier to remove if they work with your chair while glue leaves a residue. I used glue on my old chair but I’m not going to use any glue on my new chair.

The picture to the right is with a single string of LEDs. I later added a second string (top picture). The daylight picture lets you better see the actual sleeves themselves.

Below is my old everyday chair. You can see that I used zip ties to attach 2 different strips of LED tape around the base of the chair, leaving it loose in the back. The sizing and the construction makes it seems like it was designed for this. It also has the same sleeve lights as the chair above with the batteries and some extra LEDs in the under-arm pouch.

In the picture below you can see where I have the batteries for the light strips that go around the bottom of the chair as well as the little ones for the footrests. The bottom parts of the big ones (the battery case lids) are glued down and then I strapped velcro around each one to hold the whole thing in place. When I need to change the battery I take off the velcro, slide the case open and replace them. I could also have run the lights differently and just put them in a bag in the back, but this way I have easy access to the controls. The little coin LED strings for the feet are glued down as well. I used to glue down the whole strip, but these die so easily it’s not worth it. I’m trying out just attaching them in two places with both glue an electrical tape in the front an back and otherwise wrapping them.

These smaller lights with coin style batteries around the footrests of my chair help stop people from running into my feet when they are raised (constant hazard). They are attached with E6000 glue. These really don’t last long but people crash into my feet so often otherwise that it’s worth it.

I attached the same smaller strings of lights on each wheel (again with E6000). The glue looks less neat in daylight, but with everything lit up it does look nice with the wheels spinning.

Note– always use E6000 outside, preferably when the wind is moving. It is toxic and for people with higher sensitivities may not even be an option.

A wheelchair in the dark lit with lots of blue and blue/green LED lights.
The Perimobile all lit up at night

There we go! One well lit chair!

Published by Mary Corey March

I am a contemporary artist living and working in San Francisco. The root of my work is exploring both the individual person and humanity through identity, relationships, diversity, and commonality. How do we define ourselves and each other? Where do we draw the lines and what happens _on_ those lines? How to we frame our experiences? How much of our humanity can come through in a data format? Through our symbolic images? Our words? Our definitions? Our bodies? These are the questions I delve into again and again. In May of 2017 I became disabled with ME/CFS. I have since continued my artwork with the help of assistants. I am in a wheelchair outside of the home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: