Introduction: Animated Paper Circuits

Picture of Animated Paper Circuits

An interactive "live" animation that responds to touch without any programming!

This is a really fun project and could be incorporated into a book or a greetings card, and also e-textiles, or many more surfaces. There are more examples of pieces I have made on my blog:

You will need:

LEDs (surface mount or other)

3V coin cell

Copper tape


Binder clip


Soldering equipment /or/ tape

Step 1: Choose an Animated Sequance

Picture of Choose an Animated Sequance

You should have as many frames in the animation as you have LEDs. In my example I used 5 frames of a bird flying, and 5 LEDs. Once you have decided what you will animate, draw it onto thick(ish) paper (I have used construction paper in this example, but you could use cardstock), and use a craft knife to cut it out (or use a vinyl / laser cutter if you have one handy!).

Step 2: Fold Your Switch on the LED Page

Picture of Fold Your Switch on the LED Page

Step 3: Fold You LED Page in Half

Picture of Fold You LED Page in Half

Step 4: Cut Your Frame Page to Size

Picture of Cut Your Frame Page to Size

Step 5: Cut Out Your Frames

Picture of Cut Out Your Frames

Use an craft knife to cut out the animated sequence you chose in step 1

Step 6: Add LEDs

Picture of Add LEDs

Mark everything out in pencil first.

To get the position of the LEDs, position your frame page on top, and make a small pencil mark at the center of each cut-out frame.

Lay copper tape as in the diagram -note that if you have any breaks in the tape you will need to solder, as most copper tape is only conductive on one side.

Add a small piece of card to connect the battery to the switch. This can be glued or taped.

Step 7: Add Battery and Clip

Picture of Add Battery and Clip

Step 8: Sandwhich Frames

Picture of Sandwhich Frames

The LEDs will be at the back, with the frames in the middle, and a blank page at the front...for the magic to happen!

Step 9: Turn Out the Lights and Animate!

Picture of Turn Out the Lights and Animate!


electro18 (author)2014-09-29

That's so cool ! Great job ! :D

Try adding IR proximity sensors for each LED instead of copper strips , then all you have to do is just hover your hand above the panel.

Becca Rose (author)electro182014-09-29

good idea -I'd love to know more about how to do this without any progrmaming :)

electro18 (author)Becca Rose2014-09-30

Sure ! I've attached the schematic below. My I'ble > covers up IR sensors and will show you how to place the emitter and the sensor. Depending on the type of photo diode that you're using , you might need to increase / decrease the number of transistors. Usually the output of photo diodes is quite feeble and to light up an LED you need NPN transistors to amplify output. Any questions ? I'm all ears. Good luck in the contest ! you have my vote :)

Becca Rose (author)electro182014-09-30

ohh! thanks so much for sharing! will have a look into this -I really enjoy ways of making things do things without the use of programming (but of course enjoy it when they are progrmmed too!) :)

electro18 (author)Becca Rose2014-09-30

Do share the results after you give it a try :)

electronichamsters (author)2014-09-29

:) This made me smile. Very nice!

This is a fantastic project for kids (with help from an adult of course) to teach them about simple circuits and leds.....very cool and fun! Great job =)

Thanks! and yes -great for kids, it may also be a good way to learn about frames + frame rates etc. :)

amandabestor (author)2014-09-28

that is amazing!

ecsaul23 (author)2014-09-28

very cool

MsSweetSatisfaction (author)2014-09-28

Woah this is so cool! Love the combination of electronics and prettiness! Nice job, and thanks for sharing!

About This Instructable




Bio: I make things, I am curious, and love learning and sharing.
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