Maker Faire at Home Projects: Paper Circuit Cards


Paper Circuit Cards

Light up the life of someone you love for Mother’s Day or any day!

All of the pictures above link to project examples

Supplies

  • ¼-inch Copper Tape (examples: Just One Roll, Share With Friends!)
  • 5mm LED lights (examples: Solid Colors, Blinking Multi-Color)
  • Coin Cell Battery (example: CR2032)
  • Cardstock
  • Additional decorating supplies (markers, paint, special paper, glue stick, etc)
  • Optional switches
    • Paper clip or brass fastener (brad) for basic handcrafted switches
    • Micro momentary push buttons
    • Coin battery holder with switch (get one that fits your battery!)

Instructions

Basic Circuit



Place copper tape on cardstock to make a simple circuit

  1. Create a shape (rectangle, circle, or any shape you like!) with two gaps
  2. At one gap, connect the copper tape to either side of a coin cell battery
  3. At the other gap, connect an LED. If it doesn’t light the first time, flip it around.

Voila, a circuit!

Tips

  • Technically: both the battery and the LED have a positive side and a negative side. You can use this as an opportunity to teach these concepts and have your makers think through the orientation to make the current flow correctly. Or, as in step 3 above, you can just try both directions and find the one that works.
  • Several of the circuit card guides have fancy techniques for folding corners in the copper tape. You can use these, or you can just cut the tape and apply a new overlapping piece at a corner. The tape is conductive on both sides and the current will pass from one piece to the next.

Fancier Circuits

The circuit will turn off when the loop is not fully connected. There are many creative ways to accomplish this.

  • This template has a cool trick to fold in the corner of the page to connect and disconnect the circuit.
  • Add a pre-made button or switch (examples in supply list)
  • Challenge your maker to create a homemade switch from something like a paper clip or brad. We’ve even seen creative solutions that disconnect the circuit by sliding in a piece of paper!

Experiment with multiple LEDs in series or in parallel. This will allow you to light your card in multiple places and even use multiple colors.

This great guide has basic templates and details for simple, series, and parallel paper circuits

Decorate!

Channel your artistic maker energy!



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Maker Faire at Home Projects — Consolidated Supply List