Light up anyone’s day by making an amazing LED greeting card. This is a fun, easy way for kids to start exploring circuits, and you can get all the materials at your favorite craft store. LED stands for light-emitting diode, which is an electronic device that emits light when an electrical current passes through it.
- 2 pieces of cardstock or heavy construction paper (any size)
- 5 mm copper tape
- 1 3V coin-cell battery
- 1 LED light (3-4 mm — any color)
- Crayons, markers, colored pencils or paint
- Stickers, silk flowers or other decorative items (optional)
- Clear tape
- Binder clip
- Glue stick
- Fold one piece of cardstock in half so that it resembles a greeting card.
- Fold a second piece of cardstock to match the first, then set it aside for later.
- Decorate the front of your card, identifying a place to add an LED light.
- Using the pencil or scissors, carefully poke a small hole in the card stock for your LED light.
- Insert the LED from the back of the card and bend the wires out so it doesn’t fall through.
- In a corner of the card, mark a place for the coin-cell battery.
- On the back of the card, use the pencil to draw out the circuit you want to make, so that a line runs from each LED leg to the battery. The battery has a plus (positive terminal) or minus (negative terminal) symbol on each side. The LED also has positive and negative terminals — the longer leg is positive (anode) and the shorter one is negative (cathode). To make the LED light up, you will connect the negative side of the battery to the negative leg of the LED and the positive side of the battery to the positive leg of the LED.
Create a circuit
- Tape down your copper tape over the lines you drew, carefully folding the tape to “turn” any corners.
- Using clear tape, secure the legs of the LED so that they are on top of the copper tape.
- Place the battery in its designated spot on the circuit and fold the corner so that each line of copper tape makes contact with appropriate terminal of the battery. Secure with a binder clip when you want to keep the LED on.
- If you want to write a message on the interior of the card, use the second folded cardstock piece to cover the circuit. Secure it with a glue stick and write your message. Be sure to leave access to the corner with the battery.
Electricity can only travel through certain conductive materials. When the copper metal tape connects the battery, LED and back to the battery, a circuit is completed. Electricity flows from the battery to light up the LED. What happens if you try to add more LED lights?
Join Arizona Science Center’s CREATE space for workshops on circuitry, 3D printing, laser cutting, woodworking and sewing. Located adjacent to the main building, this 6,500 square-foot community makerspace provides workshops for all ages.
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