Charge Card

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • one sheet of card stock or construction paper (colour of your choice)
  • printed pdf template (see downloads on this page)
  • one 3mm LED (colour of your choice)
  • one 3V coin battery (CR2016 or similar)
Tool list
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • scissors or utility knife
  • pens / felts / pencil crayons to decorate the card
  • clear tape

    Make the card:

  1. Use your ruler and a pencil to mark out a ~5”x8” rectangle on some cardstock or construction paper. Cut it out and fold it in half.
  2. Make a design, collage, or drawing on the front of your card that will incorporate a light near the centre – it could be a light-up heart in an animal like the example, or a little light-up apple in a tree, or a light-up yellow sunset, get creative! Think about which LED colour will work best with your design.
  3. Cut out a small hole (1/2”x1/2” maximum) where you want the light to shine through. (Close to the centre of the card will work best with your switch). You can make this cutout the shape of whatever object it will represent, ie, a tiny heart, apple shape, circle, etc.
  4. Make the switch:

  5. Print the downloadable pdf (note the scale, print to 100%) and cut out the two shapes from the template.
  6. Fold the large shape on the line, and carefully cut a slit in the middle of the fold as shown.
  7. Push the LED wires towards each other, then flare the ends out slightly, so it looks like the photo:
  8. Slide the LED over the coin battery (if it doesn’t light up, turn the battery around and try again). Use two pieces of tape to secure the battery and LED to the template piece as shown.
  9. Push the narrow tab of the small template shape through the slit on the large piece, and tuck the wide part under the LED wire so that it breaks the connection to the battery and the LED turns off. Fold the flap to the left again.
  10. Pull the tab out to turn the light on and position the switch on the inside cover of the card so the LED is directly behind the hole you cut. Tape it down as shown, leaving the pull tab free to move.
  11. Push the tab in to turn the light off. Draw a little arrow on the tab pointing to the right to indicate how to turn the card on.
  12. Write a message inside and brighten someone’s day!
Extension Challenges
  1. Make an envelope for your card.
  2. Can you design a card that turns on automatically when it opens? What kind of switch would you need to build?
  3. Look up “conductive tape circuits” and create a light-up card by making a circuit with the tape. Note: instead of buying expensive thin conductive tape, you can buy a wide roll of aluminum foil tape and cut it into strips.
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