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Light-Up Holiday Greeting Card

By Alycia Meier, Curriculum Developer at iD Tech

entry-16-idtech_logoiD Tech provides summer technology programs for kids ages 6 to 18, where students code apps, design video games, create 3-D-printed objects, build websites, program robots and more.

Category: Creative and Maker Play

Target age: 8 and up

Skill level: Beginner

Materials: Stuff you can get quickly from the store or delivery

Prep time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

What You’ll Need

Electronic supplies (all available on Amazon)

  • 3x white LEDs (not bright white)
  • 1x CR2032 battery
  • 12″ copper tape

Craft supplies

  • blank note card
  • decorative paper
  • frosted paper (optional)
  • 1x paper clip
  • clear tape
  • scissors
  • pen
  • ruler

The Activity

  • Think of a card design and gather your materials

The card can be funny, sentimental, creative or simple in design.

  • Take the blank note card and draw a circuit board

1. Make a battery holder by folding the corner of the card. You can use the battery to trace a circle so you know how much room you’ll need. Be sure they match when it folds.

2. Draw where you want the LEDs to go. Give them plenty of space so the copper tape doesn’t overlap.

3. Draw the power lines that go from the battery to the LEDs. The “+” side of the battery will go to the “+” side of the LEDs, and the “-” side of the LED will go to the “-” side of the battery. This completes the circuit. Keep those power lines from touching; this is where you’ll place the copper tape!

  • It’s time to tape!

Copper is very conductive, which means electricity will flow through it more easily than other materials. Follow the lines you drew on the note card and try to not rip the tape so you have a smooth connection. When you get to the battery area, add more tape (which can be ripped off) about a half-inch in size. This will ensure there’s a solid connection when the battery touches the tape.

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  • Now to attach the LEDs!

First bend each leg so you have plenty of room to tape them. Each side of the LED should be evenly covered. Make sure the long leg is taped to the “+” side and the short leg is taped to the “-” side. When you’re finished, place a battery in the battery holder to test your connections.

LEDs won’t light, keep flickering, or aren’t bright? These could be caused by a weak connection.

  • Check the battery. If the “+” of the battery is facing the bottom, turn it over. The “+” should always be facing up.
  • Are the LEDs attached properly? “+” sides (long leg) should only be touching the + side of the copper tape.
  • More copper tape. If you press on the battery or the LED legs and the LED works, the glue side of the tape could be making the connection too weak. Place more copper tape beneath the LED legs and make sure the copper side is touching them.

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  • Add your personal touch

Measure and cut the decorative paper to fit the note card and decorate it with stickers, or use a shape cutter to let more light come through. When you’re ready to present the card, hold the battery down with a paperclip or present it as a card that lights up only when you hold it (the battery will last longer).

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Congratulations! You just completed a light-up holiday greeting card!

 

Share a photo and win!

Share a photo of your family doing this activity in the comments on our Facebook post or on Twitter with #31DaysofPlay! Every Friday we’ll choose one photo from the week to win a Toca Boca Play Kit full of swag, stickers, and a $15 iTunes Gift Card.

About the Author

Alycia Meier, Curriculum Developer at iD Tech