Recipes >> DIY Transistor

I wish I had made one of these. But no, not yet.

Recipes >> Sculpting and Assembling Gears

Inspired by the work of Arthur Ganson and other kinetic artists, this post features some mechanical gears assembled and sculpted from various materials such as wire and cardboard.

Recipes >> Molded Circuitry

In contrast to casting traces by applying the cast material selectively to a flat surface, molded circuitry is cast into a mold. I’m interested in being able to cast both flexible and firm conductive materials in combination with common casting materials such as silicone and epoxy. This post describes various attempts at creating molds and […]

Recipes >> Paper Power Pouches

Battery pouches made from paper, plastic and fabric are quick to make and are a cheap alternative to commercially available options. Copper tape and conductive fabric work great as conductors and some squishy foam or fabric, or else some flat magnets, help achieve a reliable contact between your pouch conductors and the contacts of your […]

Recipes >> Assembled Coin-cell Holder

This coin-cell holder is made using copper tape and a mini cloths peg. The LED lead wires are soldered to the strips of copper tape on the peg, which simply clips onto a 3V coin-cell to complete the circuit.

Recipes >> Press-fit Battery Holders

Press-fit, also known as interference fit or friction fit, describes a connection that is held without adhesive, screws or nails, but simply by the friction between materials and shapes of either part after they have been pressed together. This recipe describes various ways to make press-fit holders for a range of standard batteries.

Recipes >> Taped Traces

This is one of the quickest techniques for prototyping circuits, as well as an efficient and reliable way of making flat and flexible circuitry. Copper tape and conductive fabric tapes are relatively affordable and comes with or without conductive adhesive. When using copper tape with conductive adhesive, connections between separate pieces of tape can be […]

Recipes >> Painted Pressure Sensor

Mixing carbon with a variety of mediums, trying to achieve a paintable (possibly also castable) substance with piezoelectric properties similar to Velostat or Eeontex coated fabrics.

Recipes >> Cast Pixels

casting thermochromic paint or pigment into various hard and soft castable materials and embedding steel thread as a heating element.

Recipes >> Carved Pixel

Using thermochromic pigments, that turn transparent when heated to a certain temperature, on top of conductive paint conductors that can be heated up by running power across them. Video Pixels

Recipes >> Press-Fit Components

Various Components Press-fit dimensions with the lasercutter for 1/8 inch birch plywood. Speed 15, power 70. Coin-cell: 19.65cm diameter circle Through-hole ATtiny85 Microcontroller: Square speaker: Vibration motor: Coin-cell 9V battery

Ingredients >> Casting Setup

There are a large variety of castable materials with various consistencies, colors and other material properties. The information in this post only covers a selection of such materials that I’ve experimented with myself.

Ingredients >> Machinable Materials

Polyurethane/urethane modeling foams They come in a variety of colours and densities that can be worked by hand or machine to model small and large structures. offers a kit of machinable materials >> ask for samples >> McMaster >> Balsa-foam A non-toxic alternative to urethane! >> >>

Ingredients >> Fountain Pens

Fountain pens can be used to draw with conductive paint.

Recipes >> Conductive Gel Sensors

Gel sensors in the human ear: >>

>> Limoleum Printing 101

Recipes >> Sculpted Battery Holders

Recipes >> Tilt Sensing Bell

Second attempt:

Recipes >> Precious Metal Parts

Sculpted from precious metal clay. Unfortunately I have not (yet) had much success sculpting and firing the clay. Sculpted ball socket switch Sculpted slider switch: Coin-cell Holder Before and after firing: Video of terrible attempt at firing precious metal silver clay: Fired precious metal copper clay needs dirties and needs to soak in a pickle […]

>> Vinylcutting 101

With the Craft Robo images: Step-by-step Craft ROBO from GRAPHTEC Model CC200 You can get a Craft ROBO CC330L-20 on Amazon for 250$ Setup These instructions go over two versions for using the Craft ROBO, on a Mac one directly from Illustrator, the other on Windows using Craft ROBO software calledROBO Maser. The Craft […]

Recipes >> Inkjet Printed Traces

Commercially inkjet printed traces by >>

Recipes >> Stencilled Traces

Related work >>

Ingredients >> Squeeze Bottle

also: henna applicator bottle >>

Recipes >> Calligraphed Traces

Extracting paint from a conductive pen Wash-out an old ink cartridge: Fill with conductive paint: Writing: Silver paint and fountain pen with different tips Silver paint in squeeze bottle with needle point tip Silver paint in cartridge fountain pen Empty ink cartridge and fill with water based silver paint or another very fine particle paint. […]

>> Traces and Connections 101

There are various options for electrically connecting two things. Wire, plugs and screw terminals are a few of them. But you can also use other conductive objects to make electrical connections. A nice example from e-textiles shows how a regular LED can be modified to make the legs “sewable” and more easily integrated in textiles […]

Recipes >> Plated Fabric Traces

Instead of plating onto rigid structures you can also plate onto soft and flexible materials. I’ve tried fabric and paper so far and both work well. If you paint onto a shiny repellent surface, then you can peel away the plated traces, making them free-standing. Step-by-step Fabric Samples on different fabrics. Fabric circuit. Paper Paper […]

Recipes >> Linoleum Print Traces

Print carved from linoleum. Using conductive silver paint mixed with block print medium. But the conductivity of paint and application of the paint to paper is not yet working well enough for electronics.

Recipes >> Carved Switch

>> Molding and Casting 101

Ingredients >> Conductive Powders

Novamet Samples from Novamet: nickel coated graphite, nickel pigment, nickel flake >> Novamet samples mixed with latex: Other products >> >> >> (chemicals) >>

Recipes >> Cast Stretchy Traces

So far unsuccessful attempts at casting conductive traces by mixing various ratios of conductive paints (copper, silver, carbon) with latex. Applying them to a surface, letting htem cure and then peeling them away. The following examples, while they look great, hardly conduct at all. Mixing even only a little latex into the water based silver […]

Recipes >> Carved Traces

Using wood and conductive paint to carve and paint conductive traces for circuitry.

Recipes >> Vinylcut Traces

Great tool and process of cutting circuitry from conductive copper sheets that have adhesive backing.

Recipes >> Etched Fabric Speaker

Similar to the paper speakers these copper fabric speakers are created by etching the copper off the fabric in order to create a coil. If you then run a 5-9V amplified sound signal through this coil and hold a magnet close to the center of the coil then it will make sound. Unlike most speakers […]

Recipes >> Pencil Pot

Drawing the resistive track of a potentiometer with a graphite pencil is a nice and quick way to make a resistive position sensor. It is also slightly messy as you’ll need to cover the paper thickly in a soft graphite pencil creating some dust as a surface that will smear.

Workshops >> Research@ML Workshop

April 4 2011, 1h, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge/MA This workshop will be held during the MIT Media Lab’sResearch @ ML event and open to anybody interested in learning the techniques presented on this website. No prior experience in electronics or craft is necessary. The workshop will last one hour in and introduce participants to the […]

Ingredients >> Colour-Changing Materials

Thermochromic, Liquid Crystal…

Ingredients >> Hot Air Gun

Recipes >> Cast Speaker

Unfortunately i have not yet found a way to make a highly conductive castable material. Instead casting wire into latex or other castable materials works best. Wire coil in Shapelock.

>> Carving 101

Ingredients >> Electroplating Equipment

To start electroplating you will need the following materials and tools:

>> Power 101

Lemon battery >> Coin battery >> Joule Thief >>

>> Etching 101

Use Vaseline as a resist and a bath of salt and vinegar to etch away the copper from copper fabric to make circuits and sensors. Inspired by instructions from Rehmi Post and Kit Waal. Also see Sew-through Soft Circuits post by Meredith Scheff on The Steampunk Workshop: >> Step-by-step Tested mix: *100ml vinegar *7ml […]

>> Lasercutting/Engraving 101

Recipes >> Lasercut Potentiometers

Using the lasercutter to cut wood shapes that press-fit (or screw) together to build your own knob and slider potentiometers.

Recipes >> Plated Seashell Speaker

Similar to the paper speakers these copper plated seashell speakers are created by plating copper to a seashell that has first been painted with conductive paint where the copper should adhere. Running a 5-9V amplified sound signal through this coil and holding a magnet close to the center of the coil will produce sound. The […]

>> Sensors 101

Pushbutton Potentiometer (knob and slider) Tilt Switch Microphone Pressure sensor (FSR) Bend Sensor

>> Painting 101

Paint, conductive paint, water, base and medium, thinner, turpentine, paint brushes, mixing pots, mixing sticks, re-sealable containers…

>> Electroplating 101

also: Electroforming Once you get the hang of it, electroplating is a very straight fwd and relatively simple process. At first i tried creating my own plating solution by applying current across two copper poles in a distilled vinegar bath. The solution turned green and it did plate my cathode (-), but the layer of […]

>> Sculpting 101

PMC How to make pickle “To make a vinegar based solution, place water in a sauce pan and add distilled white vinegar. Heat the solution until it simmers, then add a bit of kosher salt or table salt. The ratio is about 1 part of salt to 8 parts vinegar.” (from:

Recipes >> Sculpted Motors

Simplest Motor Ever Video of attempted switch: Rubin’s Vase Motor Video Step-by-step Bird-Cage Spinning Motor Video Step-by-step Wrap coil out of magnet wire. Insert toothpick. Paint ends with nail varnish first to seal wood first, then paint with conductive silver paint. Plate one end at a time. Shape Fimo around toothpick. Fire in oven, then […]

>> Actuators 101

Lights, LEDs, speakers, motors, vibration motors, solenoids…

Recipes >> Wood Speakers

Similar to the paper speakers these wood speakers are created by carving or laser engraving a spiral shape into wood that has been prepared with a highly conductive layer. If you then run a 5-9V amplified sound signal through this coil and hold a magnet close to the center of the coil then it will […]

Recipes >> Paper Speakers

Inspired by Marcelo Coehlo’s paper speaker and Vincent Leclerc’s Accouphene textile speaker, these paper and fabric speakers are made by running 5-9V amplified sound signal through a very conductive coil in close proximity to a magnet. Unlike most speakers that have the wire coil wrapped cylindrically and placed around the magnet, here the coil is […]

Recipes >> Sliced Speaker

Inspired by the Fimo bead roll technique that allows you to layer and roll two (or more) different colours and then slice the roll to get thin slices.

Recipes >> Painted Displays

Fronts and backs of thermochromic samples Mix thermochromic pigment with medium: Sew a circuit with steel thread and coat in thermochromic paint Lay-out control circuitry with copper tape: Thread steel thread through crimp bead and crimp close to where it will connect with copper tape: Solder crimp beads to copper tape: Leah’s example circuit using […]

>> Microcontrollers 101

Through-hole (left) and surface mount (right) packages of ATtiny85 microcontroller.

>> Screen Printing 101

Lino printing tutorial >>

Recipes >> Screen-Printed Traces

>> Gilding 101

Basics: Use chopsticks to handle sheets of gold leaf as seen in these videos that shows gold leaf being packaged: Keum-boo is an ancient Korean gilding technique used to apply thin sheets of gold to silver, to make silver-gilt. Traditionally, this technique is accomplished by first depleting the surface of sterling silver […]

Ingredients >> Gilding Ingredients

gilding describes a technique in which metal leaf or a powder is adhered to a surface such as wood.

Ingredients >> Sculpting Materials

Shapelock/Polymorph/friendly plastic/thermoplast >> >>–a-thermal-/ >> Sugru >> Make your own Sugru >> Fimo/polymer clays… Oven bake, air dry Ceramic clays

Ingredients >> Conductive Tapes

conductive fabric Tape (silver) Conductive fabric is nice to work with, you can achieve curves and rounded shapes, simply by shaping the tape as you adhere it to your base material. It is possible to solder to the fabric tape using flux, but it remains a delicate connection. Ni/Cu/Co FABRIC TAPE >> Lasercut fabric […]

Ingredients >> Conductive Threads

For more info, please see the following post >>

Recipes >> Paper Microphone

How to make a microphone from a speaker Instructable >>–How-to-make-a-microphone-from-a-speaker/

Recipes >> Tunable Hinge

Inspired by Nadia Cheng’s Tunable Stiffness Structures this one-time melting hinge actuator works with a polymorph plastic also known as friendly plastic or Shapelock that is molded around a strand of stainless steel conductive thread that will heat up considerably when shorted across a 5V power supply. The heat causes the polymorph to soften so […]

Recipes >> Pencil Resistors

With a graphite pencil you can draw resistors.

Ingredients >> Bases and Mediums

Ingredients >> Magnets

For making paper or fabric speakers neodymium magnets work best. k&j magnets (ask for free samples) >>

Ingredients >> Magnetic Paint

Ingredients >> Shape Memory Alloys

More info >> Jie Qi’s website The Fine Art of Electronics is a great resource for everything paper and SMA related >>

Ingredients >> Conductive Fabrics

There are a wide range of conductive fabrics available through online ships such as LessEMF, Plug and Wear and even Sparkfun.

>> Resistors 101

>> Capacitors 101

Capacitor explanation >> Explaining how capacitors are made >> Variable capacitor >> Dielectric ink >>

>> Transistors 101

First transistor Photo of a replica of the first transistor exhibited at the MIT museum DIY triode >> Cat’s-whisker detector >> Jeri Ellsworth explaining how to make a transistor >>

Recipes >> Paper Pushbutton

Ingredients >> Firing Setup

Firing Torch Firing Surface

Ingredients >> Precious Metal Clay (PMC)

precious metal clay (PMC) is clay made from fine metal particles suspended in a binder. When fired, the binder burns off and the metal particles sinter to form a solid metal.

Ingredients >> Carving Tool

You’ll find a variety of carving knives and blades at your local craft shop.

Ingredients >> Conductive Paints

There are a whole variety of conductive paints available, mostly over the internet. Metallic markers and paints that you can get from craft stores are typically NOT conductive. Conductive paints are not cheap, but they are affordable and can be used in many of the processes described in the recipes on this website.

Recipes >> Solar

>> Programming 101

David Mellis has posted some great tutorials on how to turn an Arduino board into an ISP programmer and use it to program bare microcontrollers such as the ATtiny85. Getting started with AVR programming >> Advanced AVR programming >> From Arduino to a Microcontroller on a Breadboard >> Using FabISP and Arduino […]

Recipes >> Painted Pot

Pot is the abbreviation for potentiometer. Traditionally potentiometers come in knob or slider forms, such as the volume knob on your stereo or the slider for dimming lights. A potentiometer works by having a conductive wiper slide along a resistive track. sensor measurements are taken from two places, the conductive wiper and one end of […]

Workshops >> Thesis Workshop 2

Handcrafted Personal Electronic Artifacts Saturday 2nd April 2011, 11-6pm This workshop is specifically for individuals who already have experience with a craft. There is no restriction as to what craft participants should have experience with. While previous experience with a craft is required, no previous electronics experience is necessary. - Location: High-Low Tech research group, […]

Recipes >> Gilded Traces

gilding is the practice of covering or coating a surface in gold leaf. It is mostly done for decorative purposes in the framing, signage as well as automotive industry. This recipe describes how a range of available metal leafs (very thin sheets of metal) can be applied to surfaces – both flat and curved – […]

Recipes >> Etched Traces

Use Vaseline as a resist and a bath of salt and vinegar to etch away the copper from copper fabric to make circuits and sensors. Inspired by instructions from Rehmi Post and Kit Waal. Also see Sew-through Soft Circuits post by Meredith Scheff on The Steampunk Workshop: >> Step-by-step Tested mix: *100ml vinegar *7ml […]

Recipes >> Sculpted & Plated Traces

For information on electroplating please see the electroplating 101 post. Introduction Electroplating is a technique for coating a conductive object in a thin layer of metal. It uses electrodepositing to transfer metal ions in a solution from one electrode to another, depositing a thin layer of metal on the conductive material attached to the negative […]