9 Replies Latest reply on Dec 1, 2019 9:13 AM by inkandsparkle

    Help a clueless cardmaker


      It's the curse of YouTube.


      I want to make some light up cards using small led's and watch batteries.  Chibitronics are great but so far beyond my budget it's really not an option.  I have seen some great tutorials on you tube using these ( the link will take you to Aliexpress) https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32833955606.html?&srcSns=Copy&tid=white_backgroup_101&mb=yjkqwj1P37MJRVr&tt=sns_none&rdt…  but I would prefer to buy from someone based in the uk.


      Is there anyone out there that can give me a hand?  Could someone tell me what I'm looking for.


      Thank you

        • Re: Help a clueless cardmaker

          You  have linked to a SMD LED Kit with 5 different colors.  SMD is short for surface mount device.  I did a quick search at Farnell UK which turns up many individual SMD LEDs but no kits.  It is of course possible to put together your own kit from individual LEDs. The LEDs come in different sizes.  You may find the larger sizes such as 0805, 1210, etc easier to handle.  These typically have a maximum current of 20 mA or so and work well with coin sized 3V batteries..


          You may be able to search and find SMD LED kits from UK sellers on eBay or equivalent. Good luck with your project and don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if needed.

          8 of 8 people found this helpful
          • Re: Help a clueless cardmaker

            Hi Sharon,


            That sounds like a fun project. By coincidence I was going to make cards too, as a project to do with my little nephews. I chose musical cards, but the tunes are not great, so I'm probably going to abort it : )


            As Frank says, if you look for 0805 or 1210 size LEDs, these are easy to solder. As well as ebay, another good UK option is cpc.co.uk, they have free shipping for orders above about £10. They have 1206 sized LEDs (it is a good size too, it is 3.2 x 1.6 mm) for about 11 pence each, such as this one:


            (yellow LEDs are easier to work with than white LEDs). There's also other colours there.

            Five CR2032 batteries from CPC cost about £3.58: https://cpc.farnell.com/gp-batteries/cr2032-c5/battery-lithium-cr2032-3v-pk5/dp/BT00878?st=cr2032

            It is also worth buying 0805 sized 100 ohm resistors, they cost 1 pence: https://cpc.farnell.com/tt-electronics-welwyn/asc0805-100rft5/resistor-anti-sulphur-0805-100r/dp/RE07126 - they make the battery last longer by reducing the current through the LEDs.

            You could also use copper adhesive tape perhaps as shown on some youtube videos, and that's not cheap, but probably the roll will last ages if you cut it into thin lengths as you use it. But it's way cheaper to use just wire. In both cases, you'll need to use a soldering iron so it is the same amount of work.

            8 of 8 people found this helpful
              • Re: Help a clueless cardmaker

                Thank you so much for the detailed answer and all the links.  I can wire a plug, but that's about it. 


                I have ordered some led's copper tape and batteries.  I'm dying to try this for my family christmas cards this year.  I'm hoping this mad idea will translate into a range of rather nice cards and other paper projects.  I did find on my internet travels some conductive thread and a few pens which you can use to draw a circuit also.  I foresee many happy hours in my studio experimenting.

              • Re: Help a clueless cardmaker

                I tried making such a card today, the idea being to press a robin : ) to light up the card.

                it worked, but the LEDs I had were quite dim, I need to buy brighter ones! This gif was made in fairly dim conditions..

                Here are some (poor quality) photos, but it's hopefully easy to see what I attempted. I'm sure there are much better ways!

                I just used what I had.


                First off I cut a couple of pieces of cornflakes packet cardboard : ) I used a pin/needle to mark where the LEDs were needed by pressing through the front of the greetings card, and then cut out the squares, and also a circle for the battery.

                The LED and resistors were soldered here. The bottom is the LED cathode/negative rail. The top is the positive rail:

                Some tape over the battery area, so that the card needs to be pressed to make contact:

                Closer view of resistor and LED. Any copper tape joins needed to be soldered, since the adhesive is not conductive (some tape has conductive adhesive, but that is more specialist stuff)

                After gluing on the card, I made the positive connection, again soldering wherever there was a join. The battery tab was made by folding over the tape so that it wasn't adhesive there any more:

                Battery held in place with a bit of tape:

                The LEDs I had were too small (0603) and also not very bright : ( So I had to use a scalpel to cut out some of the card thickness. I tried to cut a lantern shape : )


                In summary, although this initial attempt worked, it would have been much better with more bright LEDs (e.g. 'superbright' LEDs). I only had the basic LEDs, and 0603 is small too. Much better to go for the larger LEDs.


                EDIT: video of it:

                5 of 5 people found this helpful
                • Re: Help a clueless cardmaker

                  inkandsparkle You may like to take a look at https://logicalshopping.com/best-circuit-conductive-ink-pens/  . These are pen like that can draw the circuit connectors without taping copper strips. Also could be fun for kids as well as adults.


                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Help a clueless cardmaker

                      I've found these and they look really cool, especially if I team them with my Silhouette electronic cutter.  The right pen in the right penholder and I will be able to draw most of the circuit within my graphics program, which my electronic cuttter will draw.  The hours of happy fiddling just keep getting longer.

                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Help a clueless cardmaker

                      Hi Everyone,


                      I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all the help with my question.


                      I did it, I created my first, light up led card, the link is to a brief instagram video, no sound but it works.  https://www.instagram.com/p/B5ZMVBrgGLh/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link


                      I'll be adding a blog tutorial with lots of photographs soon. 


                      Thank you once again.