Paper Circuitry: Light-Up Book With LEDs and a Switch

Introduction: Paper Circuitry: Light-Up Book With LEDs and a Switch

Looking for a fun place to write a story, or a flashy way to impress your friends?

These directions will teach you how to make a small book (2 1/2" X 2 5/8") that lights up when the sliding switch is turned on! If you'd like to learn more about how switches work before you start your project, watch the animation I created below.

Step 1: How Does a Switch Work?

Step 2: Gather Your Tools and Materials

The following are useful tools:

1. rubber stamps, ink (or other art supplies)

2. ruler

3. protective mat

4. bone folder

5. poker

6. pen knife

7. needle

8. binder clip

9. soldering iron

Here are the materials you will need:

1. embroidery or waxed linen thread

2. 3V coin cell battery

3. conductive copper tape

4. 2 LEDs

5. 1 sheet of 5 1/2" X 2 5/8" cover-weight paper

6. 4 sheets of 5 1/2" X 2 5/8" text-weight paper

7. 1 sheet of 7 1/2" X 4 1/4" cover-weight paper

Step 3: Assemble the Book Block

Create a book block by folding the 5 1/2" X 2 5/8" pieces of paper in half. Insert the text-weight paper into the cover-weight paper and use a pamphlet stitch to sew them together.

Step 4: Prepare Paper Cover

Fold the 7 1/2" X 4 1/4" piece of paper in half and lay the book block in the center of it. Use a ruler and bone folder to make a crease along the top and bottom edges of the open book block. After removing the book block, fold the cover at the two creases. Replace the open book block in the center of the cover (folded in two places) and wrap the left and right edges of the cover around the covers of the book block.

Step 5: Create the Circuit and Switch

Plan out your design to determine where you want your LEDs to be inserted. Do you want them to look like eyes?

Take a look at the example here to see how the front and back views of the cover might look, once you adhere your copper tape and solder the LEDs. I've taped a cut-out of an alien ship to a loop of paper that moves up and down to open and close the circuit.

Next, follow the steps in the diagram to create your circuit and switch. Be careful to use a continuous piece of copper tape to make your corners, or the current may not be strong enough to power the LEDs. Use the poker tool to make tiny holes that the legs of the LEDs can fit through if inserting them from the front side of the cover.

Carefully solder your LEDs to the copper tape and fold the cover to ensure that the switch works. Tape down the battery, careful not to come between the positive and negative leads.

Re-fold the paper cover at the top and bottom creases and insert the book block into the slots formed at both ends. You may have to bend the covers of the book block backwards to get them to fit into the slots.

Step 6: Experiment to Make Your OWN Design!

Try using different sized paper or adding more LEDs!

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