a paper circuit jack o’ lantern

Note: Here is the original Instructable this project is based on.

Here are our templates for the top and bottom of the lantern (right-click to save the SVGH files and then open in Inkscape). Red lines are cut or score lines (scoring already drawn as dashed lines) – you can also just print this out on a regular ink printer and cut out the solid red lines with scissors/x-acto knives and fold along score lines.

The blue lines are “vector engraved” on our laser cutter (or again, just printed in a different color on an ink printer) and really just serve as a guide when wiring up the electronics (or where to color in the pumpkin stem on the top). The electronics diagram shows where I suggest placing the LED (and which side is positive) and where I suggest putting the coin battery.

Student workflow:

  1. Put down two strips of copper tape on the solid blue lines
  2. Add the LED (paying attention to which side is positive) and coin battery (positive side facing up) on top of the copper tape and secure those components with Scotch tape
  3. Use the dotted blue line as a guide for the final piece of copper tape, which should go on top of the battery (If your copper tape’s adhesive side is not conductive, then you will need to fold over this copper tape so that the metallic side touches the top of the coin battery and secure THAT down with more Scotch tape)
  4. The little square door on the bottom template will be where you can slide in a paper clip to complete the circuit and turn on the LED.

Photo above shows the completed circuit. The paper clip currently doesn’t complete the circuit, so that’s why the LED is dark. If you move the paper clip to the right a bit, so it bridges the gap between the two copper tape tracks, then circuit will complete and … candle flicker!

Supplies you need:

  • laser cut or printed templates on cardstock
  • Coin cell batteries (I usually buy in bulk from Digi-Key (Product# P189-ND))
  • Copper tape (I usually buy from Sparkfun, but you can also get from Digikey 3M1181A-ND or look for “Slug Tape” at Home Depot/Amazon)
  • Scotch tape
  • Paper clip (acts as a switch in this circuit!)
  • LEDs – we bought 10mm yellow candle flicker LEDs from Evil Mad Scientist because we liked the candle effects
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