Aluminum foil strips + tape (when you don't have copper tape)

We’re trying to figure out ways for people to play with paper circuits who don’t want to invest in a roll of copper tape for their first project. You can make conductive tape out of household aluminum foil, sort of, using cellotape / scotch tape / invisible tape to secure the foil.

First, cut two strips of aluminum foil ~1/3" (~8mm) wide.
It’s very thin, so it can be hard to work with and tear easily!
Put a tape loop down where you’ll put your coin cell.
Fold a bit of one end of one foil strip around one leg of the LED, and then secure it with tape. Repeat with the other strip and the other leg: fold over leg, tape down.

Run the foil strip connected to the shorter LED leg to the tape loop. Lay it over it. Snip off any extra bits beyond the tape loop. Leave some of the stickiness of the tape loop available to adhere the [–] side of the coin cell snugly against the foil.
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Tape over the aluminum foil everywhere except the part that will make contact with the [+] side of the coin cell.

Fold over the corner to light up. Use a magnet on top of the paper keep the circuit tight if you’d like!

Using the simple template for a very simple circuit, I have highlighted where the tape loop is in blue:

Where the aluminum strips run, in green

And where the invisible tape is on top of the aluminum, in blue again (not on the coin cell—that one is where the loop is under the coin cell!):

One may be able to do this all with glue sticks, too! I haven’t tried it, but why not?


If I remember correctly you can use pencil graphite as a pretty good conductor. Just make thick filled in lines for you circuits. Graphite Circuit | DIY for Beginners | KiwiCo


You can also find aluminum duct tape at Home Depot. One roll is super affordable vs. the copper rolls.


That is correct! Pencil graphite is an excellent conductive material for that type of circuit.

Nothing beats regular pencils for precision, but if you need to cover a large surface or a large distance as fast as possible, I definitely recommend using carpenter pencils! I used these a lot while designing Makey Makey activities (this Pencil Controller is a good example) and they are very reliable. The only thing these could be better is if they came in different colors!

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