By Erin Mitchell
Create a circuit and light up your friend's face with this DIY Light-Up Greeting Card! You can find all of the supplies you need to bring this project to life at your local craft or office supply store.
How it Works:
Think of an electric circuit like a lazy river at a water park. Riders are like electrons and when they make their way all around the river, they make a complete circuit! The volume of water, or how much room the riders have to wade around in the river, is like the amps; and the jets in the water that propel the riders around are like the voltage.
With your greeting card, the physical circuit will be the copper tape, and the force propelling the electrons through the circuit is the voltage from the small button battery. Once the circuit is complete, it's like flipping a switch: your light will turn on!
Before You Begin:
Before we get started, test your LED to make sure that it works. To do this, stick the LED on the battery with the long leg of the LED on the "+" and the short leg on the "-". If the LED doesn't illuminate, first make sure you don't have the legs touching the wrong sides of the battery, then try a different LED. If the LED does light up, that means you're good to go!
What You Need:
-Copper Tape (with an adhesive back)
-LEDs (one per card)
-Small button batteries (one per card)
-Paperclips (one per card)
1. Draw whatever you'd like on your cardstock with the markers!
2. Poke a hole where you want your LED. Then, go ahead and insert the LED. Be sure to separate the two "legs" so it stays in the card.
3. Trace two circles where you want the battery to go. In the picture below, the circles are in the lower right corner and the edge of the card will be folded over itself and secured with the paperclip.
4. Mark one circle with a "+" and one circle with a "-". These two traced circles will have to be covered in copper tape to assure that the current has a clear circuit to flow through, and that there is a good connection to the battery.
5. Draw an outline of where you want the circuit to go, as shown in the picture below. It has to connect to your LED and the battery.
6. Peel off the adhesive back and lay the copper tape flat on the traced lines. Ensure the two circles you traced are filled in with tape so the battery can make a good connection.
7. Place the shorter, or negative, leg on the top of the copper tape leading to the circle marked with a "-" and the longer, or positive, leg on top of the copper tape leading to the circle marked with a "+". Secure the legs of the LED using the clear tape.
8. Place the battery such that the "+" side is on the circle marked "+" and fold over the corner of the card so both circles are touching the battery. Then, secure the folded corner and battery with a paperclip.
9. Make sure the LED lights up! If not, make sure your copper tape is making a complete circuit and that your LED legs are laying flat on top of the copper tape.
10. Ta-da! Now you have a light-up card! Share your creation with us on social media before you send it off to your friend! Use the hashtag #MyReinvention and tag us @ReinventedMag!
Check out some cool example greeting cards made by Elaine Zheng and the Rutgers RU Makers Club!