Animated Paper Circuits




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

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

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

Step 3: Fold You LED Page in Half

Step 4: Cut Your Frame Page to Size

Step 5: Cut Out Your Frames

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

Step 6: 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

Step 8: 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!

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    11 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    4 replies
    electro18Becca Rose

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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 Roseelectro18

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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!) :)

    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 =)

    1 reply

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