Friday, 8 May 2015

3D Box Card with Lights - Cut File Included

A long while ago, I bought a cheap string of battery powered Christmas lights. Don't worry, I've not even thought about the 'C' word yet, but I was thinking of those lights. Cost me all of €4 for 30 LEDs.

I did have a use in mind, but they weren't quite right!


Anyhow, they were cheap enough for me to think of playing around with, and while my hubby knows of such things, I can barely remember enough of my physics lessons to wire a plug, so it was going to be a case of trial and error.  Plus a bit of reading on Google about LEDs and making a circuit..

Other versions I have seen on line concentrate on making circuits in flat cards with foil or metal tape, this one is a bit different.  Wouldn't it be fun to put lights in a card like this one? (No, there are no lights in it, but imagine!) So this is the type of card I'm going to show you how to light up. Sorry, but the design features you will be doing yourself!


Now I discovered something quite handy. I can chop one or more LEDs off my string of lights and the string will still work! Isn't that great? It's like an octopus re growing a limb. In fact, make a few of these cards and the remaining string will be just right for what I bought it for! (Lighting up a big quartz rock our elder son gave me).

Along with your design elements you will need:
Wire strippers, a string of battery operated LEDs, a 3v button battery, card, sticky tape, double sided tape, scissors, magnet or flexible magnet sheeting (only 2 cm sq) imagination and a sense of fun.

NB, you can also do this with unwired individual LEDs, but you will need wire and tape to connect them together to form the circuit.  Single LEDs have a slightly elongated positive wire, so you will know which one is which! Just make sure to connect positive ones to positive ones...

The following directions seem long winded  because I want to make it so easy for you to do. In reality, it will only take a few minutes.

So the basics of this is that you cut the wires, somewhere in between the light bulbs. I chose to cut 3 off. You get a short string of lights.


On one end, you need to strip a couple of the plastic ends down (just under 2cm) to expose the wires. There are special tools called wire strippers that do this.  Now you need a 3v button battery.


One side is positive, marked with a +, and the opposite side is a negative.  You'll find that you need two wires, one to go on each side of the battery. If you try and it doesn't work, either turn the battery over, or swap the wires. It will only work one way. If you have an end with 4 exposed wires, find two that work and trim off, and/ or cover the others with tape.  You should now have 3 LEDS in a string, that will light up when wires are pressed to either side of the battery. Yes?

Now to the card. I have made a small hole in the back of the file for very good reason - for the wires. Move it nearer the top if you want, depends on the length of your wires.  Cut it out and decide which is going to be the inside. In my case both sides are patterned but I want to see more of the blue  in this mock up - so that will be the INSIDE. I did put some decor panels in the file but no hole in that back one - it's easy enough to poke a pin through and wiggle it a bit. If using decor panels, put them on before you start doing anything else!

Thread the stripped wires through to the back of the card. The picture shows the INSIDE of the card.

Only the stripped wires are pushed through.

You can tape the first LED in place on the inside. Now it is important to place the lights before assembling the card, (unless you are planning to put them on the back of your cut out embellishments) because it makes assembly much easier.

I used double sided tape to construct my card, it's quick, clean and easy. Add tape to the side flap and both ends of the inner 'straps'.
Optional - you can cut slits from the bottom of the straps to about half way up, to wedge in the wires.

The slits are optional but if you know where you want them, you could add some slightly thicker ones to the file.

If you don't do that, you can just tape them in place. Choose which side of the straps you want facing forward, and stick the left sides to the open card.


Place your LEDs to face different ways (on the straps) and secure.
Much easier to do this with the card still open!

 To assemble the box part of the card, secure the right side of the back strap to the side flap.
Get the idea?
Secure the right side of the front strap to the inner right side of the box, making sure it is evenly spaced. Finally adhere the side edges to complete.
Nearly there.


For the back workings of the card - Cut a small piece of double sided tape and place it under one of the wires.


Check which wire needs to go on the bottom and place it on the sticky tape.


Now stick the battery on, it will grip, no problem.




Now cut out the magnet material

The Silver Bullet cuts that easily!
and use the magnet over the other wire and battery to complete the circuit. Make sure to keep the plastic coating out of the way, you want all the wire in contact with the battery.

Hard to see the light is on in bright sunlight, but it works!

Using this, you can switch it on or off. If you don't have any magnet material, just use a piece of masking tape to secure the second wire. It can be lifted off to disconnect the circuit.

Lights, camera, action!
 Now your box is ready for all your design elements. Try making some of them from transparent papers or cellophane, attached to wires or thin strips of acetate and position as you wish but check that you can still fold the card flat without damaging them.

The  basic file is here (amended for the second time, last time I managed to erase the score lines!)  For a card that I would send, I'd just lightly score with a normal line, the amended file has a normal line, not dashed. 
EDIT  To shed more light,  I found I wanted my lights a bit higher, so I made the wire hole an inch higher - I've  altered the file. I also noticed an error in the small decor panels, I have fixed it.


Here are some new pics of one I made today. I couldn't resist making a proper one!
These are the stages of making the flowers
I've also done some two layer leaves with vegetable paper and patterned card.
The main card is actually made of hand painted watercolour paper, the decor panels are Crelando Romantico, bought in Aldi or Lidl! It's even textured and double sided.
Not easy to get a good pic, but you get the idea!




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