While iterating on the lantern activity and testing out a couple of new activities I realized I needed a better way to secure the battery.
The video above shows the first version of the light strip used in the paper circuit lantern activity (pro tip: hit mute on whatever device you're reading this on unless you want to hear an episode of Explained on at full blast). Binder clips or tape were used to secure the folded paper and close the circuit. However, I found that binder clips were getting to be too bulky and tape was too permanent. I wanted to come up with a method that would hold the battery in place without needing tape or clips.
I was inspired by this paper battery holder tutorial and loved the way that a paper flap could be used as a "switch" to turn the lights on or off depending on how the flap was folded.
With this feature in mind, I set out to create a battery holder that could work for the lantern activity and other paper circuit activities that was simple and required no extra material.
Here is a link to instructions for a printable version of my version of a foldable paper battery holder and here is a printable file with multiple templates on a page. I've also shared an editable PDF so you can change and remix the file as needed.
Here is a link to an SVG version of the printable template for laser cutting. While not necessary, laser cutting makes things like cutting out the slot in this design much easier.
The images below show what your template should look like after you've added conductive tape. The image on the left shows the front side, the image on the right shows the back side.
Note: I used a thick cardstock paper for these battery holders. Printer paper works just fine but will be a little less durable.
Someday I'll add these instructions to the PDF linked above, but for now the videos and pictures below will show you how to fold the template to turn the lights on or off.
This video shows how to fold the template to turn the lights off.
This video shows how to fold the template to turn the lights on.
The image on the left shows the battery pack folded into the "off" position. The image on the right shows the battery pack folded into the "on" position.
One final note: This is a work in progress and the result of lots and lots of iteration. I'm sure there are a million ways to make this template better, simpler, easier to use. If you have suggestions for making this better or you end up making your own amazing version send me a note on twitter or instagram so I can learn from you!