Paper Flashlights

The Paper Flashlight is constructed with foam tape inside a folded paper model makes a push-button LED circuit, resulting in a simple, pocket-sized light source! This project is a great way to illustrate the concept of a switch, and is a nice level-up from the basic LED circuit.


Supplies Needed

  • One printed and cut cardstock Paper Flashlight Template
  • One (1) 10mm LED
  • One (1) piece of double-sided foam tape (about 30 mm x 12 mm)
  • Two (2) small strips of adhesive-backed craft foam (about 12 mm x 3 mm)
  • One (1) CR 2032 coin cell battery
  • Scissors
  • Optional – craft cutter

How to Make a Paper Flashlight



Step 1: Cut out the paper template

Use scissors or a craft/laser cutter to cut out the paper flashlight template. The dotted lines indicate fold lines, and they will be on the inside of your flashlight.


Step 2: Fold in the sides

Fold the long edges in along the dotted lines. Make a solid crease along the lines.


Step 3: Fold up the base

Fold up the bottom half of the template along the dotted line so that it meets the tab.


Step 4: Fold down the tab

Fold the tab down over the rest of the template.


Step 5: Insert the LED

Unfold the tab and poke the LED leads through the paper in the center of the fold line of the tab. The light part of the LED should be on the outside and the metal leads should be on the inside.


Step 6: Stick foam tape under the LED leads

Peel off one side of the double-sided foam tape and stick the tape to the template just under the LED leads.


Step 7: Stick the negative LED lead to the tape

Peel off the other side of the double-sided tape and press the short LED lead onto the top of the sticky part of the tape.


Step 8: Insert the battery and test the circuit

Press the negative side of the coin cell battery to the sticky side of the tape (positive side up, negative side down).  Press the long LED lead onto the top of the battery and check that the light goes on.


Step 9: Add foam tape to make a push-button gap

Lift up the long LED lead and stick the two pieces of single-sided adhesive craft foam to the battery, one along the top and one along the bottom, leaving a gap in the middle.

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Step 10: Fold the paper template together all the way

Fold the long LED lead back down and then insert the tab into the pocket formed by the open edge of the paper template. Push the tab all the way in to the pocket so that the model lies flat.


Step 11: Press down to turn on your paper flashlight!

When you press near the top of the “flashlight”, the long LED lead will make contact with the battery in the gap between the two small pieces of foam tape, and the light will go on!