We wanted to share how to make your book covers light up with LEDs and creative circuits (also known as soft-circuits). We started off with a favorite quote and used LEDs and soft-circuits to illustrate the quote. Reference this tutorial and sketch your favorite quote with circuits!
What you need to get started:
-Paper grocery bag
-Coin cell battery
-Solder (not necessary! but helpful), solder wand (also known as an iron) may come in handy
-Craft materials (i.e. construction paper, markers)
Step 1: Step 1: Construct Your No Tape Book Cover!
1. Cut the bottom of the bag off.
2. Cut down the entire length of the bag. You should end up with one big rectangle.
3. Lay the book on the paper and fold over the left edge of the book. Leave 2-3 inches from the binding.
4. Repeat step 3 for the right edge of the book.
5. Make horizontal folds along the top and bottom of the book to mark the height of the cover.
6. Place the book inside the cover.
Step 2: Step 2: Pick Your Favorite Quote
1. Pick your favorite quote and write it on the backside of your book cover.
2. Sketch out ideas for the circuit and incorporate on and off switches.
*Switches are used to make and break the connection in a circuit which turns the LEDs on or off, respectively. In my sketch, I used the eyes as switches to close the circuit
Step 3: Step 3: Draw Your Doodle!
Draw your illustration using craft materials!
Here we used a gold paint pen, sharpie, and an X-acto knife to cut out the eyes.
Step 4: Step 4: Add Some *sparkle* Magic With LEDs & Copper Tape
-Place LEDs in the appropriate location in your illustration. Here, we poked an LED through the paper at the center of 4 different stars.
-For organization, split the LED legs apart and keep the positive legs pointing to the right and negative legs pointing to the left (see image). (Don't remember which leg and is positive and which is negative? No worries! The longer LED leg is your positive leg, and the shorter LED leg is your negative leg aka ground.)
-Place copper tape at the appropriate location for your switch, so that your switch can "open" and "close" the circuit.
Step 5: Step 5: Create (+) and (-) Paths With Copper Tape & a Coin Cell Battery
-Add a coin cell battery to an appropriate location in your circuit.
-Create a single path from the negative side of the coin cell battery to all of the negative legs of each LEDs. (Remember, all of our negative legs are pointing to the right!) Leave a small space in the path to allow the switch to open and close the circuit (see image).
-Create another path from the positive side of the coin cell battery to all of the positive legs of each LED. (Remember, all of our positive legs are pointing to the left!) If you have more than one switch in your sketch, leave another small space in the path to allow the switch to open and close the circuit.
Step 6: Step 6: Use Extra Copper Tape to Secure the LEDs or Solder the LEDs in Place
Which is better? They both work, but solder is probably more durable in the long run.
If using copper tape:
- Lay a piece of copper tape over the LED legs, and remember, the negative and positive paths cannot cross.
-To keep the LED from moving while soldering, use masking tape to keep it in place.
-Solder each leg on the appropriate copper tape path. *Note: This step is crucial! If you don't solder, your connections will most likely not be durable enough.
Step 7: Step 7: Cover the Book With Your Light Up, DIY Book Cover!
Place your book inside its new DIY cover, and show your friends. Happy blinking and building!