How to Make Simple Electronic Cards

Introduction: How to Make Simple Electronic Cards

About: I have way too much free time on my hands, so I make ridiculous gadgets for fun.Pr

I have a love for electronics and technology, and really enjoy building them. (or anything with moving parts/electric parts). On my family's birthdays and other occasions I like to make really simple electronic cards. Here's how to make them.

(maybe not any as complicated as the picture, because this has so many LEDs)

Thanks to these websites for pictures:

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Step 1: Materials

I usually use the following:

-Aluminum foil
-Non-flexible paper
-Electrical tape
-LEDs or a small motor
-I usually use nine volt batteries because I don't have the money for button cells, which work much better because of their size.
-A brain
-The ability to not get frustrated and rip everything to pieces (I barely make this one)
-Wire strippers
-Scotch tape

Step 2: Decide What You Want to Make

I usually plan out what the card will have. Many times I just have the "i" in birthday have a LED for it's dot.  You will probably have problems if you don't work this planning out first.

Step 3: Make the Switch

First, you need to decide if you want your card to have a button or turn on when opened. Buttons are a lot easier, and don't cause as many problems. To make a button, I like to roll up a piece of scotch tape sticky-side out, and then cut this open. First cover the sticky part with more tape. Then, on the inside, make the bottom have a piece of aluminum foil. Then stick one on the top as well. These pieces of foil should stick off of the side of the tape (as in the picture) so you can connect a wire to it easily. Strip two wires on both ends. Attach a different wire to both pieces of foil on the button. Tape it back together. If you can press the button and these two pieces of foil touch, you have your button. To make a card that turns on if opened, I usually start with aluminum foil. I take a piece and attach it to the front of the card on the inside. When you open the card it will pull the foil. Strip and attach a wire to this piece of foil. Next, attach a piece of aluminum foil to the inside of the second half of the card, so that if you bend the card the pieces of foil will make contact. Then, I make a little "Tunnel" out of tape, and stick it to the paper. I make this tunnel by first bending a piece of tape in half and sticking the sticky sides together. Then I put a piece that is longer than the other piece on top so that it can be taped down and forms a "tunnel". The piece of foil on the inside of the front should be inside of this "tunnel" of tape. It will guide the foil when you open the card. The foil that moves when you open and close the card should be covered completely by tape except for a small amount at the end of the piece. This will provide strength and stiffness, and also will prevent contact unless the card is opened and the foil is pulled onto the other foil.

In the first photo, the card is open and the switch is making contact. The pencil lines represent wires. In the second photo the card is closed and it is not making contact because of the tape. Pencil lines also represent tape. I bent the paper to get that shot. The third picture is the inside of the button.

Step 4: Hook Stuff Up

First, you need to hook up the LED or motor. If it is a motor make sure to test it first to get the polarity right so that it spins the right direction. For an LED, twist a wire around the correct leg so that it makes contact and then tightly seal with a small piece of electrical tape. Do the same with the other leg. I usually then bend the legs and use either electrical tape or duct tape to stick the legs into place, so that it won't move when you finish it. For a motor, twist both wires together and then seal tightly with electrical tape. Repeat for the other wire, and you are done connecting your main component. After that, you have to connect the switch. Just use the methods above to connect. Next you need to connect the battery. For a button cell, twist the wire end in a circle and tape it on for both sides. For a nine volt battery, I usually mess around with it for a while. It takes work. One thing I do is tape on aluminum foil and tape the wire to that. It is kind of a really bad connection because it is delicate and falls apart pretty quickly unless you use tons of tape. If anybody has suggestions, please leave a comment. I know there are nine volt battery connecters, but those usually cost money except when salvaged (done that). After the battery is connected, test it. If it doesn't work, an LED should have the polarity reversed, because those only work one way. To connect something to the shaft of a motor, use electrical or duct tape. Make sure it connects to the shaft well or else the tape will be useless.

Step 5: Cover Up the Electronics

I use a piece of paper the same type as the card's paper to cover the electronics and then poke a hole for the LED or motor shaft. To attach it I use scotch tape or once staples when I couldn't find any scotch tape.  I also make a marking for where the button is when I use a button. Usually it is a bunch of circles with the words "Press Me" next to it. Write your message or draw whatever it is you want on your card. (markers are easy to use for this because you don't have to push down very much to write)

Step 6: Troubleshooting


Doesn't turn on.----Check all connections and maybe check the switch. If you used the button, check to make sure that the tape you used to                                      attach the foil is not covering the foil.
I checked the
above and it
didn't work!----------Make sure if you are using an LED that It is the correct polarity. These only work one way. Also check the voltage and
                               see if there is enough for your component. Also make sure that your components that aren't burned out or fried because
                                of too much voltage.

Step 7: Going Further

Some things you could do that go further are listed here:

Multiple parts in series
Programming cards to play sound
Using flashing LEDs (they flash on their own)
Making mechanical cards(I've done that before with strings pulling spinning parts)

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