Introduction: How to Create a Light Up Minion

We decided to make our project based on a movie we all loved, Despicable Me. We really liked the cute minions. We think that the reason so many people like the minions is because they are loyal (in the movie minions were incredibly loyal creatures), they are helpful (they did everything from the household chores to making stuff and more), and they care a lot about people even though they followed the villain in the movie. They are also undeniably cute, especially because of the weird sounds that they make. The minions from the Despicable Me movies are beloved and recognizable characters from an incredibly popular film franchise and the popularity of minions has increased over the years. When we came up with this idea, we wanted to make something that would be somewhat well known by the general public. This project can be made out of ordinary materials like cardboard, styrofoam, and paint, and the circuit design is fairly simple as well.

Step 1: Materials


Exacto Knife


Drill Press

Glue Gun

Wire strippers

Soldering iron


Paintbrushes (Link to hand .stl file)


Cylindrical Cardboard (8.5” by 4.75”)

5 Cardboards

Paper towel roll (10” by 1.65”)

A Ping-Pong Ball

Foam (2" by 4")

Tape (Electrical/non)

Paint (Yellow, Blue, Black, White)

5 LED’s (White and Blue)

Step 2: Cut Out Eye Hole and Glue on the Top

The first thing we did was get a cardboard tube that was 8.5” by 4.75” and punch a hole near the top of it, using the drill press machine. We also used scissors to cut out the cardboard we would need to make the goggles and the suspenders. In order to cover the top of the head, we measured the diameter of the cardboard cylinder and then cut out a circle of that size to tape over the opening on the top.

Step 3: Glue on Ping Pong Ball and Glasses

The next thing we did was place the ping pong ball inside part of the paper towel roll on the hole we had previously drilled out, and hot glued both of them down. We then hot glued the cardboard around the cylinder in order to form the goggles.

Step 4: Glue on Suspenders and Make Mustache and Hair

In this step, we sketched out a mustache on a piece of cardboard and cut it out using scissors. We also added the suspenders in by cutting out two equal strips of cardboard to place below the goggles on the cylinder. A hot glue gun was used to secure the suspenders, and we curved them slightly off the cylinder so that they would stand out better.

Step 5: Paint Initial Coat and Cut Out Arm Holes

In order to punch out the armholes, we used a drill press. We printed out a template of a mustache and the cut out the shape using styrofoam, in order to make hair. Then we got yellow, black and white paint in order to paint the minion. The yellow paint was used on the head, above the suspenders (but below the cardboard goggles), and on either side of the armholes we cut out (and below the suspenders). The black paint was used for the band of the goggles, and then we mixed the black and white paint in order to paint the paper towel roll around the ping pong ball grey. We also painted the mustache and the styrofoam hair black.

Step 6: Repaint and Paint Paper Towel Roll

In this step, we painted a second layer of yellow and black in order to make the paint look more even and brighter. We also painted the outfit and the suspender straps blue. The paper towel roll was then painted yellow as well in order to make the arms match the rest of the body.

Step 7: Attach Mustache and Paint on Logo

This step is more optional than required, but at this point in the project its best to add small remaining appearance details to make the minion look more accurate to the actual movie model by painting the logo, and we added our own small quirky twist on the minion model with the mustache.

Step 8: Construct and Solder a Parallel Circuit

In this step, using the concept originally constructed from the breadboard circuit design on Tinkercad, first, connect the wires that are attached to the battery to the switch, then solder the wires into a parallel circuit, and connect resistor/LEDs to correct ends. We then taped the wires with electrical tape in order to protect them from touching each other.

Step 9: Accessorize Minion and Add Circuit

Finally for the final step, first is adding the hands, which is not difficult, but there are multiple ways on making/getting the hands, we made ours digital with a 3D model and then printed it out with a 3D printer. Then you attach the arm in the model, then add hands to the end of the arm. Next cut a rectangle shaped hole with the size of the edge of the switch, above the back of the minion strap on the goggles, and then add the circuit within the model. Place the switch, and LED in the correct corresponding places in the minion. Then finally an identical top piece of the model to the bottom to seal, and contain the circuit. Finally, you are done with your Minion Model!