Making a Cardboard USB Mouse!




About: Bare Conductive makes creative electronic tools for any designer, engineer or aspiring maker.

In this tutorial we'll be showing you how to make a cardboard USB Mouse with an LED nose that lights up when plugged into a USB port!

At Bare Conductive, we love playing around with Paper Circuitry and enjoy sharing fun projects that we, or our community members have come up with so make sure you check out our website for more great projects!

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Step 1: Materials

To do this you will need the following materials:

Bare Paint Pen
Drawing Pencil/Pen
USB plug/port

Step 2: Step 1: Mark Your USB Contacts

Using a ruler, mark two points on your cardboard which are 5mm apart. These will be the lines from which you will draw your Bare Paint circuit. These should be centered within two 12mm lines which will mark where you will cut the cardboard to fit into your USB port.

Step 3: Step 2: Draw Your Mouse!

Using a Bare Paint Pen, draw the circuit outline of your mouse. Make sure the two bottom lines are 5mm apart so that the tail won't short circuit in your USB port!

** Notice the gap at the top of the Mouse's head? This is to ensure your circuit works. Make sure you leave this space!

Step 4: Step 3: Attach Your LED

Using your Bare Paint Pen, glue your LED at your Mouse's whiskers. This way it will make a lovely nose for your new pet.

Step 5: Step 4: Cut Out Your Mouse

Using your scissors, cut around your mouse to outline its body. Remember the tail must be 12mm wide in order to fit into your USB port.

Step 6: Step 5: Let Your Circuit Dry

Once your circuit is drawn out and your LED attached, let your drawing sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it is fully dry. Once it is no longer tacky at the touch you can bend the tail forward at a 90˚ angle so that your mouse will be upright when put into the USB port. If you think the corner may crack just put an extra dollop of paint in the crease to reinforce the bend of the circuit.

Step 7: Step 6: Now You Can Test Your Mouse!

Make sure the paint is 100% dry so that you don't introduce any wet paint into the USB port. Once you are confident it is dry you can carefully place your Mouse's tail into your USB port.

Step 8: Step 7: Watch Your Mouse Light Up!

Congratulations! You've made your very own USB Mouse!

Many thanks to Ross for sending in this great tutorial. If you have any projects of your which use Bare Paint and you'd like us to feature on our website, please email us your images to



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    6 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Where is resistor? Or resistance of conductive paint is relatively high?


    4 years ago

    Blew my led. Whoops.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Can I use any pen, or is Bare paint a certain kind of ink that just happens to be chemically formulated in a way that makes it conductive?

    1 reply

    Hi Shadowyblade,

    To answer your question Bare Paint is specifically formulated to be conductive. There are other paints that will conduct a current, however ours is the only one which is a totally non-toxic and consumer friendly material. No fumes, no rashes!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    awesome. Never heard of this Bare Paint stuff, but conductive paint sounds pretty fun