May 6: Paper Circuits

As artist and paper engineer Lindsay Balfour describes, pop-up books are little marvels of mechanical engineering in that they employ a series of interlocking mechanisms that result in a moving sculpture. What begins as a flat sheet of paper can be transformed into a three-dimensional, storytelling experience. Add simple circuitry and effects, and the story becomes interactive.

After receiving a page printed with solid and dotted lines, mothers and daughters cut and folded until they had a pop-up foundation for their story.

Lindsay taught the group how to build a simple circuit using conductive copper tape, an LED light, a watch battery, and specific folding techniques. As one mother described, “Getting the circuit to work was a healthy struggle.”

The struggle paid off when the circuits were completed and the lights began to shine. One grandmother proclaimed that “Christmas will be different!” with the addition of circuitry to her homemade cards.

The Make-HER girls began designing their pop-up, interactive stories.

The creations were magnificent. Look carefully and you’ll spot Wilbur the pig and his dear friend Charlotte on her web!


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