Making a Paper House That Lights Up As It Gets Dark!




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


In this tutorial we will show you how to make a paper house that lights up as it gets dark.  To do this we will use some Bare Paint, a battery, some standard LEDs, an LDR (light dependent resistor), a transistor and a 100K resistor. 

To help you complete this project we've made the components and template available to buy in the House Kit available from our shop at

Otherwise, you can check out the Components section of our House Tutorial to find out where you can get all the components to make these on your own!

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!


Step 1: Materials You Will Need

Craft knife
Cutting mat
Wire snippers
Wire strippers
Metal ruler
Double sided tape
Masking tape

Step 2: Components

To purchase a House Kit with everything you need to make two houses, click here

Bare Paint (if you are using a jar you will also need a paint brush)
Mini LDR 202403 
Transistor BC548 
2 Bright LED's 
100K Resistor 
9V Battery Clip 
9V Battery 

Step 3: Step 1: Download, Print and Cut Out Your Templates

Download the PDF below to print your template. Cut out the template along the solid black outline.

Step 4: Step 2: Cut Out the Windows Door, and the Chimney Space for the LDR

Once you have finished cutting out along the outline, cut out the windows, door and LDR space, using your craft knife and ruler.

Don't forget the cut out the Chimney space for the LDR.

Step 5: Step 3: Create Fold Lines

If you run the BACK of your craft knife blade along the fold line it will create a dent that will make it easier to fold.  It is important to use the BACK of the knife so as not to accidentally cut the paper

Step 6: Step 4: Fold Up Your Template

Once you have created your fold lines, fold up your house.

At this stage you could decorate your house, why not draw on window boxes or roof shingles.....

Step 7: Step 5: Sticking Double Sided Tape on the Tabs.

Once you have folded your house, cut and stick double sided tape onto the tabs.

Make sure you stick the tape on the BLANK side of the template.

If you would like to be able to remove the battery don't stick tape on this section of the template, this will enable you to remove the battery once the house is completed.

Step 8: Step 6: Preparing You Components

Once you have stuck double sided tape on all the tabs, its time to prepare all your components, as you can see on your template, all of the components have corresponding icons to enable you both to see where they go in the circuit and help you put them in the right way round.


The Transistor has three legs, it also has a flat side and a rounded side. Bend the left and right legs out to the left and right sides and the middle leg out towards the rounded side.

Place the transistor onto the template, you should have the middle leg and the rounded side facing left.


LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) have two legs and are polarised -  the long leg is the positive (+) the short leg is the negative (-).  The LED icons on the template are the circle with the triangles, you'll notice that there is also a (+) and a (-), these should correspond to the legs on the LEDs.

If you look from the top down at the LED you'll notice that it is not completely round, there is a flat side.  This flat side should be on the same side as the short leg of the LED the flat side is like the negative symbol (-).  If you trim the legs it will help you see which side is the negative side.

Trim the legs of the LED with your snips.

Bend the legs of the LEDs out and place on the template.  Remember to put the negative (flat) side at the top and the positive at the bottom.


The 100K resistor has two legs but unlike some of the other components it is not polarised so it does not matter which way round it goes. Trim the legs to be about 1cm long and place onto the template.


LDR (Light Dependant Resistor).  It does not matter which way round this component goes as it is not polarised, however remember to put it in FACING OUTWARDS, so that the top goes through the hole.

Trim the legs of the LDR with your snips. Bend the legs and place on the circuit, FACING OUTWARDS.

Battery Clip

The red lead of the clip is the positive (+) and the black lead is the negative (-)

Trim and strip the lead so that they are approximately 5cm long. If you don't have strippers you may be able to do this very carefully with the craft knife.

Using some double sided tape stick the back of the plastic part of the clip to the template.

Take some masking tape and stick the red and black lead to the template, making sure the line up the exposed cable to the grey lines.

Step 9: Step 7: Glue Your Components to the Paper With Bare Paint

Now that you have prepared all the components its time to stick them down.  The easiest way to do this is with a Bare Paint Pen, but you can also use a Bare Paint Jar and paint brush.

Blob on a bit of paint onto all the legs of the component and the exposed wire of the battery clip leads.  Make sure to stay within the grey area, don't worry too much but it will keep your house cleaner, it is always nice to have a clean house.

It might be easier to lift the component off the page, blob on some paint then stick the component back.

Step 10: Step 8: Fill in the Rest of the Circuit

Once all the components have been stuck down, draw in the rest of the grey circuit connecting up all the components.

Once you have finished drawing the circuit, wait for it to dry.

Step 11: Step 9: Put in the Battery.

Once your circuit has dried, clip the battery into the clip.

The LDR should be facing down onto the table so the LEDs should be on when you put the battery in.

Step 12: Troubleshooting

If your LEDs don't turn on at this stage don't fret, there's a few things you can try -

1. Is your paint completely dry? If not leave it overnight or put in a warm place.
2. Are any of your components short circuiting - is the paint joined up underneath it? If so take out the component and remove the paint with a knife then re-apply.
3. Are your component in the right way round? Check your component key to make sure you have the polarity and for the LDR direction correct.
4. Are your lines too thin or broken? Your lines may be too resistant to pass sufficient current - try making them wider or thicker.

Step 13: Step 10: Fold Up Your House

Now that everything is dry and installed you can fold it up.

Once your house is complete, it should light up as it gets dark!

Step 14: Don't Forget to Decorate!

Now that you know how to make the house, why not decorate the next one?



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    16 Discussions


    Hi - I made this this and its working fine. I want to know if someone can tell me there is any voltage drop when power reaches the LED. I tried this Switch with two 5mm LEDs and it worked fine.But when I am trying to make the same with more LEDs, the LEDs are giving its full power. Please Help. I want to connect about 11 LEDs to this in Parallel.

    1 reply


    Thanks for your message. It depends how much power you are running from the battery. 11 LEDs is quite a lot from a 9V. You could experiment on paper, or contact us on email for more information on Thanks!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Hey if you'd like to try LED tea lights they're like $1 from the dollar store it would be way easier, cheaper and you could either stick them to the roof or floor.

    why you would make someone wire up a circuit is a bit much unless you have a niche market... you could sell the pre printed paper with a wire circuit on there already and all you have to do is plug in the battery. Just a thought


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Haha! If only I could make my houses for sale on the same block light up in the same way! That's definitely going to create some interesting advertising for the properties under my management in Phuket Haha!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I'm pretty sure LDRs can be reversed by switching them around in the circuit (ie taking it out, flipping it, and joining it back up with the opposite legs). I may be wrong, but you could give it a go!

    Great question! We specifically chose a somewhat "backwards" LDR so the house is light when it's dark. If you were to use a more standard LDR you'd have a house that was lit when it was a bright environment, which would be tough to see (and less fun!).


    6 years ago on Step 8

    Can we use a buzzer instead of led lights and using this circuit make a laser powered burglar alarm?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    i want to make it but im nt quite sure that il get these transistors and resistors here.. .any substitutes?

    1 reply
    Bare Conductivealice2

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Alice2,

    If you go to the House Tutorial Page on our website you should be able to find all the links for the components to make the house. These will be listed under "components". For the US you should be able to source these from Jameco. The link is below:

    Alternatively, you can buy the kit with all the items you need from our online store

    Enjoy the making!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    The pdf template here has the variable resistor in it, check out their website for the right template in the tutorial section or use the url below.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    If you decorate the inside, then the house will change character as it lights up - you could make a spooky night-light!

    1 reply

    Hi Kiteman!

    Thant's a great idea. We made one with two different color LEDs by accident once and it actually surprised us when the color changed as it got darker from blue, to orange, and finally pink as the combination of the two!! So many ways to customize this simple toy :)