Light-up origami designs have been around for a while — but this adorable jumping frog takes it to new levels. Press the frog down, and the LED eyes start to glow. Release the frog, and it leaps across the table. If you’re lucky, it may even do a little flip in the air!
The design for this light-up origami jumping frog comes from IBM engineer and STEAM education proponent Emi Olsson, who got the idea from the light-up paper art projects in my book Paper Inventions. When Emi sent me a video of her invention via Twitter after stopping by to say hello at a Mini Maker Faire, I knew I had to reverse-engineer it. It’s since become one of my go-to projects for workshops and events, suitable for kids and adult beginners.
The instructions below will take you through the folding of the traditional jumping frog. You don’t need any origami experience — just patience, since there are some tricky parts that may take a few tries to get right. Once you’ve got your frog working, you’ll need to (temporarily) dissect it so you can insert the LEDs. Building the circuit is a snap — all you need to connect the lights to the battery is a little bit of metallic foil tape. Then fold everything back up, and your frog will be jumping and glowing in no time!
To see it in action, and get a quick run-through of the origami steps, check out the short video.