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DIY Flashlight


This activity includes a battery that could be a choking hazard for small children and animals.

Activity Supplies

A person holds a do-it-yourself flashlight.
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Jumbo craft stick
  • Jumbo paperclip
  • Scissors

Specialty Supplies

  • LED
  • Coin cell battery

Activity Steps

  1. Put a strip of copper foil tape down the center of one side of the craft stick. Leave about 13 millimeters (0.5 inches) of space free on both ends of the stick.
  2. Flip the craft stick over and repeat on the other side. The two pieces of copper tape should not touch.
  3. Open a jumbo paper clip so it makes a V shape.
  4. On one side of the stick, place the battery toward the bottom of the copper tape with the battery’s positive (+) side up. The opposite (–) side of the battery should be touching the copper tape.
  5. Place the craft stick inside the V of the paper clip so that one side of the V is touching the copper tape (on the opposite side of the stick to the battery) and the other side of the V is hovering above the battery (but not touching it). See figure at bottom right.
  6. Place masking tape over the top of half of the battery and wrap it around the craft stick and paper clip on the other side so it holds all three tightly. Note: The bottom half of the battery should be exposed so that it touches the paper clip when squeezed. This will act as your switch.
  7. The light-emitting diode (LED) has two legs. The longer leg of the LED is the positive lead, and the shorter leg is the negative lead. Place the LED on the end of the craft stick opposite the paper clip and battery. The legs should straddle the stick with the shorter leg on the same side as the battery and the longer leg on the opposite side.
  8. Hold the legs so that they are firmly touching the copper foil tape. Test by squeezing the paper clip down so that it touches the battery. The LED should light up. If it’s working, firmly tape the legs of the LED down with masking tape.
  9. You now have a simple flashlight with a switch. To turn it on, squeeze the paper clip tightly so that it touches the battery.

Adapted from:

Official Lesson Plan