Introduction: Illuminated Paper Torches for Kids (Easy Paper Circuits)
Kids love the moment when they light up something they made by the press of a button. Inspired by the famous Minecraft Torch I created this little DIY gadget for them. This illuminated torch is a great first paper circuit project for kids. I created different designs and also a blank template that kids can customize.
You will need:
- a white LED (Digikey link)
- a three-volt button cell (CR2032) (Digikey link)
- conductive tape with conductive adhesive (Digikey link)
- a binder paper clip (amazon link)
- the printed template
- for some templates: colored transparent paper or colored paper (Post-Its!) and some vegetable oil
- scissors and glue
- cutter knife (optional)
Step 1: Watch My Video Tutorial
My video tutorial covers pretty much anything you need to know.
For better reproducibility, I included the most important steps on this page.
Step 2: Experiment With the Easy Circuit Template
This is optional: The easy circuit template is a simplified version of the circuit we are going to make. It is a great opportunity for kids to experiment with the circuit. For example, to find the anode (+) (short leg) and the cathode (-) (long leg) of the LED. Trace the circuit shown in the template with conductive tape. Then attach the LED and insert the battery. Test your circuit!
Step 3: Print the Template
Print the templates attached.
Note: I created a lot more templates, designs and also printable instructions! Visit my webpage to download my other templates.
I usually use 160g paper for printing my templates. Each template includes a note for the recommended paper. Thin paper is not so easy and fun to work with. If you only have the usual 80g printing paper, you can glue it to thin cardstock or another sheet of paper.
Step 4: Cut, Score and Prefold
First, cut out the three pieces of the template (don't forget the little rectangle for the on/off switch). Then score all edges with a pointy (not sharp) object and prefold all edges. Scoring and Prefolding really helps when gluing everything together later on.
Glue the little on/off switch to the handle where marked.
Step 5: Trace Circuit and Attach LED
Trace the circuit in the template with conductive tape. All information needed is included in the print template. The on/off switch needs to have a track going to the bottom side of it. Start another track from underneath the switch so that pressing down on the switch closes the circuit.
Where the LED goes, has to be a small gap. Attach the legs of the LED with conductive tape.
Step 6: Insert the Button Cell and Test Your Circuit
Fold flap at the bottom over the battery and lock it with the binder clip. Test your circuit. If your circuit is not working, turn around the battery and try again.
Step 7: Glue Everything Together
Glue together the handle. You can use paper glue or transparent tape.
Step 8: Prepare Colored Transparent Paper
Put colorless vegetable oil on colored paper (e.g. Post-Its!) to make it more translucent. Then wipe the remaining oil.
Next, prepare five window pieces of the colored transparent paper that are slightly larger than the window holes in the template.
Note: If you don't have colored paper I included my colored paper print template. This simply prints color on paper :-)
Step 9: Glue Lightcube Together
Add the colored transparent paper to the window holes. Then glue the lightcube together.
Step 10: Finish Everything
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