Did you know that you can make DIY Valentines light up with a simple LED circuit?
Light up DIY Valentines are fun and easy to make. They’re also a super STEM (and STEAM) activity for kids (and adults!) to learn about electricity..
And, if you want your Valentine to stand out among all the Hallmark and Dollar Store cards that pile up every February, there’s no better way to shine than with a Valentine that blinks. (Did you catch that pun there? ‘Tis the season…)
There are some small parts that need to be positioned correctly and may require the assistance of an adult.
Small parts should, of course, be used with GREAT CAUTION around the littlest kids.
With just a bit of guidance, though, elementary school kids will likely be able to do this project pretty independently.
Before getting started, if you want a crash course in electricity basics, check out our post on electrical current, resistance, and voltage.
We’ll list the parts we used, provide the printables, and then give you step-by-step instructions for how to make these diy valentines.
You can check out our video tutorial here and subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with new projects.
Everything is explained below as well (but you have to watch or download the printables to see the corny puns on the Valentines…)
Supples for DIY Valentines
Top of Valentine printable (printed on regular white printer paper)
Steps to Make DIY Valentines
Follow the instructions printed on the printable and also included here:
Step 1: Cut out the DIY Valentines
Print out the front of the Valentines (color sheet) onto regular paper and the back (black and white sheet) onto card stock.
Cut along the lines to divide each 8.5”x11” sheet into four Valentines.
Poke a hold in the bear’s nose on the front of the card
Step 2: Lay down two pieces of copper tape
Measure and cut out a piece of copper tape that is the same length as the gray rectangle on the left side of the printable. Remove the backing and affix the tape to the rectangle (with the sticky side down).
The copper tape on the right should extend half way underneath where the coin battery will be placed. Affix it in the same way as you attached the piece of copper tape on the left.
Step 3: Attach the battery
Make a loop of conductive tape with the adhesive side out.
Place this loop on the conductive tape you laid down on the right as part of step 2.
Place the battery on this loop of tape with the “+” side down.
Step 4: Arrange the LED
Place the LED on the bear’s nose with the longer leg on the left.
Bend the contacts as shown in the instructions using needle nose pliers. This is to improve the contact between the LED and the copper tape.
Bend the LED bulb so the top points toward you.
(Make sure the right leg of the LED only touches the top of the battery; if it touches the side of the battery at the same time it can short out and drain the battery.)
Step 5: Place the button switch
Bend the button switch contacts as shown on the printable.
The battery should be resting on the copper tape and *not* on the button switch contact.
Step 6: Test the LED
Press the switch while holding down the LED and button switch contacts against the copper tape to complete the circuit.
If the LED doesn’t light up, flip the LED over and try again. (If it still doesn’t work, try replacing the LED, battery, and switch one at a time).
After confirming that the circuit works, add copper tape on top of the existing copper tape to secure the contacts of the switch and the leftmside LED contact.
Tape the right side LED contact to the top of the battery as shown on the printable.
Step 7: Glue the Valentine together
Apply glue using a glue stick around the circuitry on the back of the Valentine.
Press the front of the Valentine to the back with the LED sticking through the bear’s nose.
Trim the edges of the card and don’t forget to fill in the names on the front!
If you enjoyed this project or have questions, please let us know!
Are there other projects you’d like us to build? Please leave us a comment!
Check out all of our cool engineering projects.
We also have a helpful basic electronics page that teaches skills such as how to use a breadboard and multimeter.