There are many ways to explore circuits which can extend beyond green plastic wires. Different materials and objects that are conductive (even you!), so we designed this page as an entry point to explore all the wonderful ways you can engage with making, and breaking, circuits in your world.
Wear your circuits, sew them using conductive thread, and let your bling shine!
Familiar Materials Used in Unfamiliar Ways
How can you incorporate forks, feathers, foil, clay, pumpkins, plants, rubber duckies, umbrellas, water, pots, pans, and other everyday materials into your circuits? Check out some inspiring ideas and possibilities below.
Why limit yourself to plastic knives and kitchen spoons when you can use power tools? Making your own Hack-o-Lanterns by adding LEDs, motors, and switches the next time you carve pumpkins.
"We don't usually think of our kitchen as an electrical engineering lab or little kids as circuit designers, but maybe we should." AnnMarie Thomas introduces squishy circuits using salt- or sugar-based PlayDoh recipes.
Musical gadgets that allow you to play music on any object. Playtronica is an international team of musicians that inspire creative play through making music.
Homemade Switches: This video shows all sorts of examples of building homemade switches that use everyday objects! Or take everyday object circuit explorations outside by learning how our team experimented with making a rain-sensing umbrella.
Sometimes the best way to learn about how something works is to take it apart!
It's powerful to see the many ways to build and create circuits. We first learned about how to use copper tape and LEDs to create simple to complex circuit designs from Jie Qi (left), an engineer, artist, and cofounder of Chibitronics. With paper circuits, you can illuminate greeting cards, paper pop-ups, wall murals, and more with working, and sometimes programmable, lights. Check out our interview with Jie on her Tinkerer's page →
"I cofounded Chibitronics in 2014 to bring my research in paper electronics to the world in the form of construction toolkits, digital resources and creative communities." - Jie Qi
Use paper and lights to tell stories using 3D boxes.
Embrace Your Tools: Soldering is Powerful
We believe that real tools can empower learners of all ages to tinker and express a sense of ownership of what they are making. Soldering irons are one of our favorite examples of this, as they have the power to create a new circuit, fix a broken one, or strengthen a circuit design. Check out this video with tips and tricks on soldering with Lianna!
Tinker with textiles! What happens when you embed circuits in fabric and felt? These playful takes on circuits push the way we typically think about circuits in interesting directions and take advantage of materials like conductive thread. Make surprising circuits that can be wearable, unexpected, and adorable.
Light painting is a photography technique that uses long exposure photography to create a photo effect of making marks with light. Researcher and AIR Celeste Moreno explored new avenues of this work by creating a glove that allowed her to create new types of light painting with code.