What if you could illuminate your thinking?

Using simple materials like copper tape, surface mount LEDs and batteries, you can light up your notebook to literally highlight your personal light bulb moments. Explore basic scientific concepts like conductivity, current flow, simple circuit design, and mechanical switches while making your notebook come alive with beautiful electronics.

“My feeling is that if electronics is a medium, the result can be art, can be craft, can be a prototype. It is what the person does with the material that defines the outcome, not the means or the techniques themselves. Paper-based electronics give people the freedom to make that sort of creative statement, if they so desire.”

- Jie Qi

Educators! Want to learn more about why and how you can bring paper circuitry into your classroom? Download our mini-guide and contact us about bringing Inside/Out to your school, museum, or after-school program.

Introductory Activity: Hack the Storybook



These flat, simple materials make it easy to create circuits anywhere you want them. 


Buy your Starter Kit (5 learners) here.


Project Directions

  1. Print out the storybook template.

  2. Assemble the template into a mini-book. This video from YouTube user Simple and Easy Projects demonstrates.

  3. Choose a story. Use the storyboard page to plan your story in four panels.

  4. In panels 2-4, decide what visual elements should light up in order to enhance the story and circle them.

  5. Using your storyboard as a reference for LED placement, construct circuits on each page. Then draw the scene around the copper tape and LEDs.


Demonstrations and Tutorials


Interested in paper circuitry but not sure how to begin? Start here! In this video demo, we walk you through basic materials and how to make an LED light up. (If you want to illuminate more than one LED, stay tuned for our tutorial on parallel circuits--coming soon!)


To maintain electrical continuity, you have to be careful about how you fold the copper tape if what you're using doesn't have conductive adhesive. We show you how!


What if you want to use more than one light in your paper circuitry project? You need to design a parallel circuit. This demo shows you how to plan and create a parallel circuit in your notebook using type 1206 surface mount LEDs.

Additional Resources and Links

We're working to create our own step-by-step tutorials and a page of tips and tricks. Until then, take a look at some of these resources to spark your imagination and get you started.

Collaborator: Jie Qi, MIT Media Lab


Jie is a doctoral candidate at the MIT Media Lab in the Responsive Environments research group. With a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, Jie's work blurs the boundaries of science, engineering, and art by exploring the synergistic relationship between technical and artistic competencies. Whether making self-folding origamipaintings that change with viewer interaction, or interactive light-up pop-up books, Jie's playful investigations inspire not only with their beauty but with their implicit invitation for audience to become participant.