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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Silva

DIY Circuit LED Light Birthday Cards

Here’s a paid – but you’ll earn your money back – DIY STEAM activity that will light up adults and kids. At 22 / 25 points, if you’re looking for a creative activity that teaches your kids about electrical currents try this DIY Circuit Birthday Card activity. Plus, in addition to learning about STEM, who doesn’t love making and receiving a hand made card?  Shout out to Maker Camp for the details! 

What:  DIY Circuit Birthday Card

Rating (out of 25): At 22 Points, the rating is Buy IT / Make IT!  (Fun = 4 + Confidence & Curiosity = 5 + STEM Aligned = 5, + Time Value = 4, + Cost = 3

Cost:  $30.00 (remember though, you can make 20 birthday cards so it pays for itself)

Age: 6 + (recommend you make the first card together and then let your child make their own; also, copper tape can be sharp so watch your fingers)

Supplies (some items easily purchased through Amazon):

  1. Double Sided Conductive Copper Tape (~$6)

  2. LEDs – Gikfun 3mm 5mm LED Lights – Assorted Kit (~$10)

  3. 3V Lithium Coin Battery, 20 pack (~$12)

  4. Construction paper

  5. Scissors

  6. Markers / Crayons

Instructions for DIY Circuit LED Light Birthday Cards

  1. Fold your construction paper in half.  Design your card.

  2. Introduce the circuit layout on the inside of the card.

  3. Place copper tape so it follows the circuit layout. Make sure to leave a gap in the copper tap for the LED light and remember for your coin battery that connects with the copper tape follows the negative and positive terminals.

  4. Take the LED light and place it on top of the copper tape, so the legs touch the tape. Then secure them in place with tape.

  5. Place the battery negative (–) side down.  It should touch the copper tape. Next, fold over the corner of the paper so that the tape going to the positive (+) circle touches the battery. Your light should turn on.

  6. Remember, one side of the battery has a plus (+) sign, which stands for the positive terminal. The other side has a minus (–) sign, which stands for the negative terminal. The LED also has positive and negative terminals.  To make the LED light up, 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.

STEM Lesson for DIY Circuit Birthday Card:   An electrical circuit is a path on which electricity flows. Your circuit has several basic parts: 1. A battery, which stores electrical energy, 2. The copper tape, which conducts electricity from the battery to the light, 3. An LED light, which turns on when electricity flows through it. This is a great activity to build confidence and curiosity as a lot of trial and error – especially if you don’t follow the instructions and try to innovate – but rewarding when the LED lights up!

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