MakerSpace: Paper Circuits, an inexpensive way to introduce electronics with almost instant gratification
As the end of the year approached, I became acutely aware of the fact that we have a one month period between December and January when we can’t really make any purchases because we have to balance the books. So my goal was simple: fill in supplies and find a couple of new activities that we could introduce to carry us through this time period in our Teen MakerSpace. I had been aware of paper circuits, but hadn’t done much with them. This seemed like a good time.
For one, paper circuits are less expensive then a lot of the things on my “things we want to try” list. Also, they don’t take up a lot of space. It’s a great introduction to the idea of circuits without a lot of tools, wires, and things like soldering. I know nothing of soldering.
Paper circuits use a battery, copper tape, LED lights and paper to create cool things. For example, you can make light up cards. Or you could make a paper piano.
To begin with, we bought this set:
It cost $30.00 on Amazon and comes with copper tape, 12 LED stickers, 2 coin cell batteries, battery clips, and a “sketchbook”. Also, you can hack the box to make cool projects as well.
The very first page tells you how to use the book and set up a circuit.
Then when you turn the page, you light up a light bulb.
It has the added benefit of seeing almost immediate results. Sometimes it’s nice to have something that is quick and rewarding.
Pros: Inexpensive, good starting place, easy introduction, easy to store, lots of possibilities
Cons: I does have consumables, but they are relatively inexpensive to replace
We are just starting our journey with paper circuits, but I liked this kit so much I bought The Teen one for Christmas. It’s a good introduction to the idea of circuits and there are lots of cool things you can do. Additional components can easily be bought online.
Filed under: Makerspace
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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