Makey Makey Operation Game Instructions for Scratch




Introduction: Makey Makey Operation Game Instructions for Scratch

Here’s a fun Makey Makey project for you to add to your list: A Makey Makey Operation game for Scratch. Grab your scalpel as we construct a game with cardboard and conductive materials. Then we’ll head over to Scratch to hook it up and create some gameplay.

Say hello!


  • Makey Makey (13+ alligator cables)
  • Pizza box
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Sharpies
  • Tweezers
  • Paper clips
  • Scissors
  • Box cutter (optional)

I've got all these materials set up in a kit where you can pick and choose what you need.

Step 1: The Plan

Every good project has a plan. Here's ours:

  1. We'll draw a Kombi on a pizza box and cut holes to create space to place some objects to retrieve.
  2. We're going to create 4 metallic objects (surfboard, keys, wheel, motor) out of the tin foil. These are represented by the red colours on the blueprints.
  3. Around the edges of the cut holes, we'll stick foil and link all of these edges to a central location that we'll be connected to the "space key" of the Makey Makey. This is represented by the orange lines.
  4. We'll connect the tweezers to the ground/earth connection of the Makey Makey. If we bump foil, then we'll lose a life.
  5. We'll connect up some alligator clips to some paper clips as a resting place for our retrieved objects. We'll associate these clips with other buttons of the Makey Makey.

Okay, grab your scalpel. Let's get stuck into it!

Step 2: Draw Your Object

I've chosen a Kombi van to draw. Mechanics 'operate' on vans and it makes me dream of heading to the beach to catch a wave. I just found an image on the web to help me draw it. Choose your own theme or go with mine.

  • Grab a sharpie and either draw directly onto the pizza box or onto a piece of paper.
  • If you draw on a piece of paper, then be sure to stick it onto the pizza box. Voila!

Step 3: Create Your Metallic Objects

Now it's time to reach for the aluminum foil and create your objects. I created a surfboard, keys, motor and wheel. Here's how I did each:

  1. Surfboard: I cut a small piece of cardboard in the shape of a surfboard. Then I layered some foil over it. I used some copper tape to create the centre stringer of the board, but you don't need to do that. I did the same thing for the fin. You could glue the fin on, or use tape.
  2. Keys: I used a paper clip and some foil. I created a donut shape with the foil and attached the paper clip to it.
  3. Motor: I started to scrunch up the foil layer by layer.
  4. Wheel: I found a bottle top and used it for a wheel. If it's metallic then you don't need to cover it, but I chose to so that each object would look consistent. See video.

Step 4: Cut the Holes

It's time to create some space for your objects. I placed my objects on top of the pizza box and traced lines around them. I was careful to give a bit of a buffer zone so that there was enough space for both tweezers and object. If it's too narrow, then you'll never be able to retrieve your objects!

Use the box cutter to cut holes for all objects.

NOTE: If you're a human who hasn't yet refined their steady hand, grab a friend who can help you or choose to use some scissors.

Step 5: Line Hole Edges With Foil

Now that we have cut out the holes for our objects, we need to line the edges with foil because we want to prevent the player from touching the edge with the tweezers while retrieving an object. You'll need:

  1. Glue
  2. Foil

I cut out strips about the width of my pinky fingernail to knuckle. I glued the strips down so that there was foil on both sides of the pizza box.

It's best to work with smaller strip lengths as longer strips can be a little tricky to work with.

Step 6: Attaching Paper and Alligator Clips

Next up, grab 4 paper clips and 4 alligator cables so that we can connect the foil to the Makey Makey.

I used paper clips as an attachment for the alligator cables. I used tape to fasten down the cables under the box lid so that they don't interfere with the game.

Step 7: Link All Clips to Space Key

Now our foil edges are cabled, we need to link them to a key on the Makey Makey. I've chosen the space key. So that each foil edge means 'Space', I've created a foil donut that each alligator cable connects to from the edges.

Then, I've used the white alligator cable in the images to connect the foil donut to the Makey Makey Space key press.

Step 8: Connecting the Tweezers

Grab those tweezers and another alligator cable as we're about to connect them up to the Makey Makey.

I placed a paper clip inside the gap of the tweezers so that it would allow an easier connection for the alligator cable. See the image.

The tweezers will be connected to the earth/ground connection of the Makey Makey.

Step 9: Landing Spots for Our Objects

Once we retrieve an object, we need a place to store the object. We may as well use this space to signal that the player has successfully retrieved an object.

I used some paper clips (my favourite it seems), to clip to the end of the pizza box. I spaced them so that they are the width of the object that they will store.

Then, I used 8 alligator cables in pair sets. For each pair set, I ran one end from the paper clip to a key connection on the Makey Makey. I ran the other cable in the set from a paper clip to a ground connection.

You could probably connect to the same global ground connection that's already under the hood, but that's how I did it in this example.

You'll see that the Makey Makey has quite a few connections. Now we're ready to hook this up to Scratch!

Step 10: Hook It Up to Scratch

I am assuming that you're familiar with Scratch.

I've attached a screenshot of the connections that I have used, but yours may be different. I just recorded myself saying the name of the object for testing.

We can go ahead and create some gameplay. I won't write those instructions here. You can follow along with the video tutorial.

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2 years ago

This instructable looks great. I have an upcoming project where students will make an operation game out of cardboard. Each table group will make one game following a theme of their choice (just like this instructable recommends).

Each student will design and 3D print the game pieces. I hadn't thought about metallic pieces. but I like the idea. We'll use the Scribble feature in tinkercad and print small parts (about the size of a U.S. quarter) and make them 10mm thick. We can wrap the rim in copper tape and make sure the tweezers grab the copper tape part. Alternately, we could 3D print the pieces with conductive filament. Even better! I just received a small test order from Proto Pasta.

I like the level of simplicity & complexity in this lesson. This guy has a nice friendly style that I think will appeal to my students. I'll need to translate "kombi" to "van" for my American students. Other than that, all perfect. Thank you!

Surfing Scratcher
Surfing Scratcher

Reply 2 years ago

Hi jtan55, thanks for leaving your detailed comment on this Instructable. As I read your comment, I feel super buzzed and excited for both you and your learners. I appreciate the depth and detail of how you'll tweak these steps to meet the needs of you and your group of learners. I feel inspired when I read about using a 3D printer and metallic filament to make the objects, which adds another dimension. Thank you for sharing, and I'd love for you to post some finished operation projects once the unit is complete 🙌

Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

2 years ago

This is great! If my daughter had enough coordination, I know she'd love a vehicle-themed operation game :)

Surfing Scratcher
Surfing Scratcher

Reply 2 years ago

That makes me think that I might add a safety note to the box cutter ⛑Thanks for the feedback Penolopy :)