Light Up Paper Cube

Make a tiny paper lantern with just a simple circuit and some origami skills!

Step 1: Tools and Materials Needed

Light Up Paper Cube
  • 6in x 6in copy paper
  • conductive copper tape
  • two LED circuit stickers (shown in this project are Chibitronics)
  • one 3V battery
  • small binder clip
  • ruler
  • pencil

    Step 2: Plan Out Copper Tape Path

    Light Up Paper Cube
    Light Up Paper Cube
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    Light Up Paper Cube
  • Fold the copy paper in half. Unfold so you can see the fold mark in the center.
  • Use the ruler and make marks at 1 1/2in and 4 1/2in. Make marks on the left side of the center fold.
  • Make lines to connect the two marks. Continue the lines to the bottom edge of the paper, making it curve towards the bottom so that the left line is about 1/8in on the left side of the center fold and the right line is about 1/8in on the right side of the fold.
  • Flip the paper over. Be sure that the next few marks are made on the side where you made the lines that went to the edge of the page. On the left side of the center fold, make a mark 1 1/4in down from the edge. Mark 1 1/2in to the right of that mark and then make another mark 1/4in above that one. On the right side of the center fold, mark 1/4in down from edge. Make a mark 1 1/4in to the right.

    Step 3: Add Copper Tape

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  • Starting with the left line, place the copper tape on the line mark you have made on the paper. When you get to the edge of the paper, flip it over, and continue placing the copper tape on the marked lines. Cut the tape when you get to the end.
  • Repeat the step and place the copper tape on the right line.

    Step 4: Add LED Stickers

    Place one LED circuit sticker on the marks you made at 1 1/2in and 4 1/2in. Be sure the sticker spans the gap between the two copper lines and that each metal contact on the sticker touches only one piece of copper tape. Both stickers should face the same direction (+/-).

    Step 5: Food Into a Paper Cube

    Light Up Paper Cube
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  • Fold paper in half diagonally and unfold. Repeat in the other
    direction. Unfold. You should have fold marks in the shape of an X.
  • Push the left and right side of the paper (make sure one of these sides has the copper tape on it) into the center, so it is tucked in between the top and bottom layers. You should end up with a folded triangle.
  • Fold bottom corners up to the center point. Flip paper over and repeat.
  • Fold the left and right corners into the center. Flip paper and repeat.
  • Take the flap and tuck it into the pocket. Do this for all of the four flaps.
  • Finally, expand the cube by blowing gently into the hole in one end.

    Step 6: Attach Battery and Watch it Glow!

    Light Up Paper Cube
    Light Up Paper Cube
  • Place the battery in the slit between the copper tape.
  • Use the binder clip to keep the battery in place.
  • Watch your paper cube glow!
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