Paper circuits are a great way of adding light to your drawings, origami, or papercraft creations. Instead of using wires to connect a battery to LEDs, paper circuits use conductive metal tape.

You may want to try the Make: Project Simple Paper Circuit first, which appears alongside this project on the one page paper circuit PDF, designed for easy reference in educational settings.

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Copper tape can be found online at places like AmazonSparkfun, and as part of the Circuit Stickers kit at Maker Shed. It can also be found at hardware stores as “slug tape“. Or try cutting long, narrow strips of aluminum foil tape, used for repairing HVAC ducts (but not duct tape!)

Popularized by technology-oriented artists like Jie Qi and Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, refined in places like the Tinkering Studio and nexmap, and now a wonderful product called Circuit Stickers, this lovely synthesis of art and technology is a great way to introduce artists to electronics, and engineers to art. Click on any maker link in this paragraph to discover their paper circuit resources.

This Make: Project is just the beginning of what’s possible. Use the copper tape to make a design, try surface mount LEDs, use multiple LEDs in series or parallel, add an ATTiny85 microcontroller for programmable circuits, or even control bending wings.