Simple Switches

This chapter is about simple switches. By attaching conductive tape and LEDs to a piece of paper you can create an electric circuit that controls light.

Estimated time needed to make: 4 hours Estimated costs: 40 EUR This circuit was inspired by Bunnie Huang and Chibitronics.


There are many types of switches, but all of them interrupt the flow of electrons within a circuit. Most of them are used to turn on and off specific functions, such as light, sound or motor movement. There are momentary pushbuttons that only conduct electricity if you keep them pressed. There are also push-on/push-off switches, for which you press the same button twice to generate two different states. Then there are toggle switches, such as the classic light switch you can find in any apartment. Finally there are rotary switches, through which you can chose between several positions, not only the on or off position. Our switch is a slide switch- by sliding your finger over the paper you can switch the LED on and off. (source handmade electronic music, Nicolas Collins)




Sticky Conductive Tape This looks just like a regular tape but it‘s surface can conduct electricity. You can test it by using your multimeter. Find this sign on the multimeter: and turn the round rotary switch on your multimeter to this sign. Then touch the tape‘s surface with both probe tips. If the tape‘s surface is conductive, your multimeter will beep. This is the signal that it‘s perfectly conductive. You can order conductive tapes online, or use the once attached to the printed version of this book.
Battery 3V coin cell battery or your self made battery. A piece of paper This can be any kind of paper, even used paper. Scissors You will need scissors to cut thin stripes from your tape. These nice thin lines will replace wires to create an electric circuit on paper.
After you have cut some stripes off your tape, please take a pen and draw the following lines on your piece of paper:
Glue long lines of tape on all the colored surfaces. Glue the minus side of your button battery to the right circle on the drawing. Then fold the corner of the paper so that the plus side of your battery is touched by the left circle. Attach your LED with the shorter leg to minus (left side) and the longer leg to plus (right side). Fixate each leg with a little bit of tape on top of the conductive tape.
Then fold the bottom of the paper along the marked lines to allow the three small vertical pieces of tape to touch the two long horizontal lines of tape. Now slide with your finger over the folded paper. Your LED should start to blink. The vertical lines close the circuit between battery and LED every time you press the paper down. Depending on the position of your finger on the paper the LED will go on and off.