Monday, January 2, 2017

Long Overdue - Light Up, Foiled Christmas Card

It's been a while since my last post. I had so much on my plate, I totally neglected my crafty duties.
when looking for inspiration for my Christmas card, I saw a lot of light up cards on Youtube and I really wanted to make one, but the price of some electronic components is so high, I had to find an alternative. I ended up with this fun card that lights up the character's nose when you press the gift next it.
The circuit for this card doesn't require any soldering and is very easy to do. All the parts were bought at a very low price on www.aliexpress.com. They did take a while to get here, but it was totally worth the waiting.
Electronic Components: LEDs, Batteries and LilyPad buttons

From left to right: LilyPad Button, Coin Cell Battery, 1W LED light
That makes it less than $1 for electronic parts in each card!
DISCLAIMER: I have to say though, not all the LEDs light up at the same intensity. Testing them before assembling the card is a good idea. 
The card base had to be made of a sturdy cardstock to support the circuit. I used Neenah Creative 80lb Red cardstock. I tried a side fold on some and a top fold on others and it didn't make a difference function wise. The file has a top folding card base with a scoring line that must be changed accordingly in Design Space.
Change function for the scoring line in Design Space, otherwise you'll end up with two 4.25" x 5.5 " pieces.
The file comes with a template for the circuit layout, cut one and use it on all your card bases to trace the circuit.

I used a repositionable adhesive roller to avoid shifting during tracing.
Use a light gel pen to be able to see the lines.
They will be covered with the front panel in the end.
With your circuit layout traced, proceed to add the copper foil tape.
Being so thin, the tape is a little bit tricky to place. You must avoid ripping it or it may compromise the electric current flow.

Start on the positive pole of the LED.

Fold the tape a couple of times to improve led terminal contact.
Go down towards the left of the battery and fold in a 45° angle to the opposite side.
Then fold flat towards the battery. This allows a neat uninterrupted, solid connection of copper around the corner. Stick the tape to the card base and before reaching the battery, fold the end of the tape onto itself sticking the adhesive sides together to form a flap and cut at the base. Make sure no tape is under the battery.

Then, make a connection from the battery to the LilyPad Button. Start at the center of the battery.
Fold the tape a couple of times to improve the connection to the battery.

Stick the tape down until you reach one side of the button trace line.
Start a new line from the other end of the LilyPad Button to the negative pole of the LED

Make an angle like you did before, avoid ripping the tape.

Once you reach the LED negative pole, fold a couple of times to improve contact.
Flatten the circuit with a bone folder.

Now place the electric components, starting with the battery.
Make sure the negative (-) pole of the battery is facing down.
Place the circuit flap on top of the positive pole of the battery and secure with a piece of washi tape.
Press hard on the ends of the tape to ensure proper contact.
This diagram from  the Learn Spark Fun Site shows the correct placement of the battery
Image extracted from the site mentioned above.

 Continue with the LilyPad Button. Notice the contact plates at the base, these must touch the ends of the copper foil tape.

LilyPad Button contacting circuit ends.
Place washi tape to secure in place.
The LED needs to be placed with the right polarity, so make sure you connect the positive pole of the LED to the positive pole of the battery.
The polarity mark can be a little hard to see sometimes, but it is very important to place it correctly 
Place the LED and test it by pressing the Lilypad Button. If it doesn't work, check the polarity and the contact between the components.

Finally, secure in place with a piece of copper tape. Make sure not to touch the rest of the circuit with your tape.
Now, enough of electrical talk and onto crafting.
The front panel, consists of 4 pieces: a Mat, an Inked Panel, a large snow bank and a small snow bank.
The inked panel must be cut from white Cardstock.
I colored it blue for instructional purposes only.
Please forgive me for not taking pictures of some of the following steps.
Take the large Snow Bank and align it to the bottom of the inked panel. This will serve two purposes: avoid the background stamp from printing the bottom portion of the panel (snow banks) and allow you to ink the sky blue, to define your snowbanks.
Front panel assembled.
Ink the Hero Arts Snow Dots Background Stamp with Versamark Ink, stamp and then apply clear embossing powder and heat set. This is called a resist technique, because the embossing prevents the ink that you will apply on the next step to reach those places, keeping the white from the cardstock. You could also do this after inking using white embossing powder, but I like the color of the cardstock to show instead.
Ink the panel. From top to bottom, I used Chipped Sapphire, Salty Ocean and Tumbled Glass Distress ink on a Mini ink Blending Tool.
Remove your large snowbank template, place the small snowbank and lightly ink the top border using a light hand of Tumbled Glass Distress Ink on a dauber. This will give you two separate snowbanks.
Paint a shadow under the character and the gift using a light grey Copic Marker. You could skip this step, but I think the character looks grounded with a shadow underneath, as opposed to floating on top.
The Stamp Sets I used are Frankie the Fox and Be Merry from OAK Tree Stamps. The file provided here  comes with a close cut of the character, by that I mean there's no white outline or offset around the image. You can achieve a good impression using the Hinge Method by Kay Hall from Clever Someday. I will be publishing a tutorial on how to do this using a Misti soon.

Color your images using Copic Markers and highlight with a white gel pen. Smooth color blending is way easier when using Copic Express Blending Card. Paint the edges of the cutout using a Black marker to hide the white from the cardstock and to fix any misprinting of the stamp on the cutout.

Cut and prepare the Antlers. I used a dark brown cardstock and applied Glitter Gold Mod Podge to make it shine.

I keep my Mod Podge on Fineline Applicators for ease of use.
Make sure to use the 18 gauge one for the Glitter Gold to avoid clogging.

The cap/wire prevents clogging and it is airtight.
Glue the antlers to the character and apply mounting tape to the back

I used a lot of mounting tape to protect during shipping.
Place the character on the inked panel, aligning the heart on the nose to the circle of the panel. The gift has to be placed once the card is assembled to align it to the LilyPad button.

To fix the front panel to the card base I used Fun foam to provide space for the electronic components. Using the circuit template and a pencil , trace on top of the fun foam.

 Cut around the marks using an exacto knife.
Check proper alignment and glue in place using a strong double sided tape

Tape the front panel on top of the Fun foam, and place the gift cutout in the right place. Press the gift to ensure proper function.

The top most panel is foiled Laser Translucent Vellum.  I printed it using a Brother Laser Printer, hand cut it and Foiled it using a very inexpensive laminator. Finally, I adhered it using a Vellum Tape Runner. The file comes with Spanish and English sentiments in a PDF Format.

To complete the look, I put them on gold and silver envelopes and addressed them using A Nikko G Nib and India Ink for a waterproof result. I also included instructions for people to operate the card. So far I've heard from some friends that the construction survived the shipping, so, yay!
Addresses have been blurred for privacy

I hope you like this card and give it a try this year, there's a lot of time left to experiment until next Christmas.

Supplies List

If links don´t seem to open, please right click and select "open link in a new tab", it should take you to a save file dialog. Let me know in the comments if links don´t work, thanks.


  1. This is such a cute card! I had been thinking about making light up cards last fall and planing on getting all the components separate at an electronics or hardware store, but this option online is way cheaper! I try down loading the file, but it would let me though. Is it not available anymore? (I'm just reading this and it was posted about 2 weeks ago.)

  2. Thanks for all the valuable info!!! i just placed my order for the components!!