Paper Electronics

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From Natalie Freed's class at HSL on Nov 27 2013: Materials we used in the workshop:

  • copper tape
  • Copper foil, more expensive but slightly thinner and more flexible - a little bit nicer to work with and the edges are less likely to cut you
  • or copper tape sold for stained glass making
  • or "snail tape" from hardware stores
  • surface-mount LEDs (these are white, there are lots of other colors - search for "1206 surface mount LEDs". I buy them in bulk from Ebay for a good bit cheaper, but the shipping takes a bit longer that way).
  • 3 volt "coin cell" batteries, or anywhere that sells batteries (Radioshack, Walgreens,...), or Ebay.


  • cardstock
  • small binder clips
  • clear scotch tape

In general, when you search online for electronic components, "surface mount" (or SMT) components are small and flat and great for electronic papercraft.

Jie Qi (who taught me most of this :) is currently working on "circuit stickers" to make it easier to attach the tiny components to paper and copper tape, here's the Crowd Supply link for pre-orders And here's a Kickstarter for a pen that draws with conductive ink

Materials for programmable paper circuits:

Tutorials and websites (note: the high-low tech ( site has occasionally been down recently, but it's a great resource so if it is, check back later!

High-Low Tech Group at MIT: Tutorials Some cool paper-electronics related tutorials in this link include LED dragon kites, electronic origami flapping crane, painted circuits.

  • Kit-of-no-parts great starting point if you want to experiment with diverse materials

Other interesting materials:

Inspirational examples:

A few electronic textiles/sewable electronics materials and resources (definitely not comprehensive, but because a few people asked about it):

Sewable microcontrollers, sensors, and other components:


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