Make a MakeyMakey Pencil Controller



Introduction: Make a MakeyMakey Pencil Controller

Here at the MakerSpace, the MakeyMakey is one of our favorite tools to play with electricity and electronics: it's fun, it's versatile, and the projects you build with it can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be - everything a Maker could want!

In this Instructable, we will show you how to make a quick video game controller out of cardboard and pencil lead - let's go to the next step for a complete list of tools and materials!

Step 1: The Things You'll Need

Aside from a MakeyMakey and a computer, you will also need...


  • A few sheets of cardstock;
  • Some cardboard;
  • White glue;
  • Some tinfoil and some tape.


  • An X-acto blade and ruler or scissors;
  • A cutting mat.

If you have everything, let's build your controller!

Step 2: Build Your Controller

Download the controller template included in this step and print it out. Then:

  1. print it on a piece of cardstock;
  2. glue it on a piece of cardboard;
  3. cut out the outline with a box cutter or an X-acto blade.

Your controller is almost ready! Time to pencil in tracks for your buttons.

Step 3: Pencil In!

Draw and pencil in the channels for all the buttons you’ll need. The easiest way to go about it is:

  1. draw the outline of the channel for the buttons
  2. pencil in a first layer of graphite
  3. do another pass to cover anywhere you might have missed.

Basically you just want a nice, heavy layer of pencil so the MakeyMakey registers your key presses as well as possible. When you’re done, it’s time to make a grounding ring!

Step 4: Prep Your Grounding Ring

In order to ground you to the MakeyMakey without having to hold one of the gator clips with our fingers or clipping it to our skin, we are going to build a quick grounding ring using some foil tape;

  1. Cut a piece of foil long enough to go around your finger;
  2. fold it around your finger (leaving enough space for a gator clip to squeeze between the foil and your finger);
  3. tape the foil in place.

That's it! Now that we have everything, we can connect your MakeyMakey to your controller.

Step 5: Connect Your MakeyMakey

For this project we will use up to 6 clips: 5 for your controller buttons and one for grounding to the MakeyMakey.

  1. Clip your gator clips to the outside lines of your controller - one gator clip for each button used on the Makey Makey;
  2. clip the ground ring to the Earth on the MakeyMakey.

Congratulations, your controller is ready to go!

Step 6: Game Time!

Now that your controller is ready and connected, let’s take it for a spin! Slip the ground ring on your finger, pick up the controller and try it out with the following games:

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