30-45 min
In Progress
Lesson 1 of 0
In Progress

Advanced Paper Circuits

30-45 min

Intermediate

Ages 8-13

What Will You Learn?

Try these advanced paper circuit templates to further explore electronics.

This project is a sample from our Circuit Inventors Kit, available in the Maker Shed with all the materials you need, a guidebook and educator’s curriculum.

Using the Templates

Download the template

The template we are using is very similar to the one from An Introduction to Paper Circuits. With the first template, we will add a tilt switch to a paralell create AND/OR logic for our circuit which enables the camper to control the output of the switch (how many LEDs light up) with their input (which way the switch is tilted). Learn more about switches. With the second template, we’ll change our power source to use a solar panel rather than a battery. Learn more about solar panels.

Tilt Switch

  1. Place the LEDs and tilt switch on the paper as shown.

  2. Apply Maker Tape along the lines on the template for the negative leads and OVER the leads of the LEDs.

  3. Make a small loop of Maker Tape with the sticky side facing out. Use it to attach your battery, negative side DOWN.

  4. Apply tape along the positive leads. The tape should go onto the shiny contact of the tilt switch on one side. A new piece of tape should start from the contact on the other side and continue to the top (positive side) of the battery.

  5. When you tilt the switch, you can control which LEDs light up.

Solar Circuit

  1. Make two tape loops, sticky side out. Attach the loops to the silver dots on the back of the solar panel.

  2. Place the LED on the paper as shown.

    Apply Maker Tape along the lines on the template and OVER the leads of the LEDs.

  3. Note that the tape does not touch under the solar panel.

  4. Stick the solar panel to the circuit path, making sure the loops of tape on the back of the panel touch the path.

  5. Expose the circuit to light.

Troubleshooting

If your LED doesn’t light up, you may need to troubleshoot your circuit.

  • Check for breaks or tears in the Maker Tape path and patch them if needed.

  • Make sure the positive side of the battery is connected to the positive side of the LED, and the negative side of the battery is connected to the negative side of the LED. Students can experiment with turning the battery over.

  • Make sure the LED is solidly connected to the Maker Tape path. Press down on the LED to test if the connection is an issue.

  • Make sure the solar panel is fully exposed to direct sunlight.

  • Make sure you are not “shorting” the circuit by overlapping the Maker Tape in the wrong location or allowing the tape to touch both sides of the battery. A short allows current to travel along an unintended path.

Need more help? Chibitronics has a great Troubleshooting Guide.

What's Next?

Build a paper circuit card

How can you use a switch to make a light-up card the reacts when you move it? What other things can you build out of paper using your tilt switch?

Don’t have a tilt switch? Try building your own switch like a push button, lever, paper clip switch, or binder clip switch. How can you use one of these switches to create the same AND/OR logic with a parallel circuit?

Can you use your solar cell to make a paper project that lights up in the sun? Why not try our Solar Slider or another great project?

Maker Camp June 29, 2021
Maker Camp is a do-it-yourself online resource to help leaders like you organize a summer camp that engages children in making. Our goal is to provide you and your campers with the inspiration and the helpful resources, along with many possible projects to fit a wide range of interests and abilities. The idea is to focus on making as a playful, social activity. Maker Camp provides enough support for anyone to get started. Making provides experiences that help children become self-directed learners and good problem-solvers.
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