Star Wars Day 2018 is tomorrow and we needed a great makerspace activity for our celebration. I had seen many very in-depth lightsaber builds and a lot of simple paper circuit cards with lightsabers on them. I wanted something simpler than a full build, but cooler and more handheld than just a card. Mini Cardboard Lightsabers were born!
Step 1: Gather Materials
With a final lightsaber of ~8 in. you'll need:
3 cardboard strips about 3 in. long of your preferred handle shape (at least the width of the coin cell battery)
~7 in. of copper tape with conductive adhesive
Straw, LED, and tape type are all up to you! Translucent straws in a matching color to the LED seem to look the best.
Step 2: Shaping the Handle
Whichever handle shape you choose, one of your three pieces will need to be thinner so that it is the same thickness of the coin cell battery. I had good luck just removing the extra layer by tearing/ripping it off.
Step 3: Wiring
On one handle piece, put down a solid line of copper tape from top to bottom, placing the coin cell battery at the bottom being sure that it contacts the tape. (Here the negative side contacts this line of copper tape)
Using the thinned handle piece, cut it so that it accommodates the size of the battery. Hot glue this piece over the copper taped handle piece.
Run another line of copper tape from the top to the bottom, taping to the coin cell battery, extending at least halfway across it. Either put down two pieces of copper tape to leave a gap, or remove a small piece of copper tape to allow for the switch later.
Step 4: Adding the LED
The negative cathode (short leg) of the LED should be inserted between the cardboard layers.
The positive anode (long leg) of the LED will be on the top/exposed line of copper tape.
Step 5: Adding the Switch
The third handle piece should get cut so that one piece can be glued over the battery.
The other piece of handle should be folded and have a piece of copper tape added to them.
This folded piece with copper will act as the switch so the lightsaber is not constantly lit.
Step 6: Switch Assembly and Straw Selection
Glue the switch section of handle to the rest of the handle and test to make sure you have a solid connection.
Choose the straw you want and match its color to the color of your LED.
Step 7: Final Assembly and Decoration
Slip the straw over the LED, using an x-acto knife to cut a small slit if needed.
Hot glue the base of the straw to the handle.
Decorate with colored tape, markers, stickers, anything you want to customize your Mini Lightsaber!