Paper Circuits 5 Different Ways
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
1. Remote controlled paper circuits with micro:bit
I made these paper circuit postcards for a space exploration-themed activity at a festival. The postcards are connected to one micro:bit using alligator clips clipped to the positive and negative sides of each circuit. Another micro:bit acted as the "remote control" sending signals to turn the postcard circuits on when shaken, and off when a button is pressed.
What I want to try next: using code to program LED lights in a paper circuit to turn on and off in a specific sequences to tell a story
2. Make a paper circuit city
Add a paper circuit to the interior of a fold-up building shape. Taping vellum or tracing paper behind the windows lets you doodle little window scenes. These skyscraper shapes are a little boring; try coding your own laser cutter-ready paper house using this app, or try these templates from Babble Dabble Do.
I've been tinkering with a combination of 1 and 2: check it out in my virtual studio
3. Add a circuit to origami
A firefly needs a light, right? These instructions from makercamp.com are great, but I didn't have any magnets or paper circuit stickers handy. I followed the folding instructions here but made my own circuit design which works with a normal through-hole LED and keeps the battery snug on the bottom side of the firefly. Could you try making up your own circuit designs for another origami pattern?
4. Add simple circuit components
This paper circuit uses a tilt switch, a special type of sensor that has a little conductive ball inside that closes the circuit when it's tilted one direction and opens the circuit when it's tilted the other way.
Check out this creative use of a tilt switch:
5. Learn a little more about circuits
Using a sheet of vellum or tracing paper, you can overlay circuit diagrams on top of your paper circuits to visualize circuit concepts like the "single pole triple throw (SPTT)" switch pictured here.