Hello and welcome to the July 2018 edition of MFT Techniques & Tutorials. Do you want to light up someone’s world with a very special birthday card? Then you’re in luck because I’m going to show you how to make this card with light up candles. I’m going to take you through it step by step so it’s a long post but when you’re done you’ll be able to make it—AND apply the circuitry to other projects. So, since I have a lot to share, let’s get going. All supplies are listed below with links to the MFT store if you want to purchase them.
To quickly summarize how Chibi lights work, you need a power source, which is usually a coin cell battery, some conductive tape, and light(s). The tape connects the lights to the battery and conducts the power to light them up. There are several kinds of switches to turn your lights off and on; if you don’t have a switch they will burn constantly and your battery won’t last long ;-) There are push button switches and slider switches and we’re going to use a slider switch for this card.
I used the just-released Happy Birthday Candles Die-namics to cut the candles from Sweet Tooth card stock. My card stock was first cut 4 1/4” x 5 1/4” then die cut.
Next I traced the flames with a pencil on another piece of card stock cut the exact same size and punched holes with the smaller punch on my Crop-A-Dile. I used the Big Bite Crop-A-Dial to reach the innermost flames.
Then I traced the circles on a third piece of card stock, also cut the exact same size. I’ll refer to these layers as top, middle, and bottom—here you see middle on top of bottom for reference. The previous photo shows top on top of middle.
You’ll notice that I have a pull-up slider switch element at the top of the card. It will act as a switch to turn the lights on and off and it’s magic! To create it, I cut a piece of card stock to 3 3/4” wide, cut the top with File Folder Edges Die-namics, and then trimmed the TOTAL length to 2”.
To determine where to place the battery, I placed my middle layer on top of the A2 card base with bottom edges even, then placed the slider element in place with about 1/8” extending above the top of the base and made a small mark along the bottom of the slider element on the left side. See photo below.
I cut the hole for the battery in the middle layer using the smallest size Circle STAX Set 2 Die-namics, then traced the battery hole onto the bottom layer (the battery is inside the traced circle).
To keep the slider switch from going into the card too far, I’ll be adding a foam tape “stop” on the bottom layer. It needs to be below the battery, so I drew a line across the bottom of the slider element on the bottom layer below the battery circle to help with placement.
To recap, at this point you should have: 1) A2 card base, top fold, 2) bottom layer with traced battery circle and traced light circles, 3) middle layer with cut battery circle and punched light circles, 4) top layer with Happy Birthday Candles Die-namics die cut, and 5) slider switch element.
Here’s a quick view of how the switch will work. It will slide under the battery to break the circuit that we’re going to build. When it’s pulled up, the circuit resumes and the lights come on. Don’t worry if it’s a little confusing right now, all will be revealed :) I just wanted you to get a basic idea of how the switch works here.
Now it’s time for the fun stuff—applying the circuitry. The circuit I used on this project is called a parallel circuit and can be use for as many lights as you want—from 1 to whatever! Chibi copper tape is self-adhesive, comes on a roll, and it’s about 1/4” wide. Chibi recommends cutting it in half so you have strips about 1/8” wide—this makes it easier to work with and much easier to turn corners.
Our battery has a positive and negative side—the positive is the top and is clearly marked. In order to complete the circuit and make our lights come alive, we have to have positive and negative tape lines going to the battery. When the lights are in place they complete the circuit and the magic happens. Each Chibi light is also marked with a positive pole and a negative pole, both of which have to be applied to the proper copper tape line to work. The negative line goes to the bottom of the battery and the positive goes to the top.
Here I have my copper tape lines in place—the negative line is stuck down and will be in contact with the negative side (bottom) of the battery when it’s in place inside the circle. The positive line will be stuck to the top (or positive pole) of the battery. Applying the tape takes a little patience—it wants to roll up and stick to itself so take your time. When you have a corner to turn or a circle to go around, you just fold it over on itself and continue. Once it’s in place, burnish it with a bone folder to make sure it’s stuck to the card stock well.
Here I have my battery and slider switch stop in place.
And here you see the slider switch sliding under the battery, which will break the circuit, thus cutting the lights off. When it’s pulled out the circuit closes and the lights will come on.
I’m also going to want to create “stops” to keep my slider switch from coming completely out of the card. You don’t want your recipient to pull it out and then think, “How do I get this back in?” so the stops will take care of that. To do this, I clipped the sides of the switch 1/4” in from the side edge and 1/4” up from the bottom and cut down from the top. I’ve also stamped the word “PULL” from Interactive Labels Stamp Set with black ink.
Here you see the “stops” for the switch as well as all the lights in place. I think you can see the negative sign on the pointed end of the lights and how I have them applied to the proper copper tape lines. The flat side is the positive pole and both areas of copper on the lights must connect with the copper tape line well. The lights have adhesive backs but you must burnish the contacts HARD (I use a bone folder) to make sure they stick and have good contact with the tape. If you have a light fail to work, the first thing to check is if your contact is good. I added one light at a time, starting at the far right, and made sure each light was working well before moving on to the next.
The switch is now operational. It is between the battery and the negative copper tape line (stuck down inside the traced circle) so the circuit is broken. When I pull the switch up, the circuit is complete and the lights come on! This is why careful placement of the battery relative to the switch is important. I’ve also added the foam tape I’ll need to adhere the middle layer.
I also trialed my middle and top layers in place before burnishing down each light to make sure it was lined up properly with the holes/flames. They all show so I’ll move on.
Here’s a closer view of the slider switch “stops”. When the middle layer is secured in place and the slider is pulled up, those small pieces of foam tape will stop it from coming completely out.
So, our lights are in, they work, and the switch is operational. Good job!! Now we get to pretty everything up. I want my candles to show color from the front so I added cardstock in a rainbow pattern to each candle. To get it right, I traced the candle cut outs from the top layer onto the middle layer so my placement would be precise.
Then I simply adhered the strips in place using liquid glue and erased the traced flame lines. I also wanted my “flames” to be more natural in color—these lights are very white—so I used a Y38 Copic marker on some vellum and adhered pieces to the BACK of the flames on the top layer.
Here I’ve adhered the middle layer to the bottom and added foam tape to the middle layer in readiness to adhere the top layer. After I took this photo, I decided to add strips of foam tape between each candle, as well. If your battery is not tightly sandwiched between the layers you will not get good contact when the switch is pulled out, so I added two layers of card stock, adhered together and to the top of the battery, as a shim. This made sure I had good contact. I stamped the “Happy” sentiment from Happy Birthday to You Stamp Set above the flame die cut on the top layer and stamped the “Birthday” sentiment from Happy Birthday Candles on vellum with black ink.
I changed my mind about the vellum element and decided to heat emboss the sentiment with white detail embossing powder, instead.
I think it shows up better, especially when the lights are on. I used small dots of Ranger Multi Medium Matte glue to adhere the vellum. Once this was dry I adhered the whole thing to my card base and declared it done!
Here’s the sandwich from the side. I got this idea from my very talented MFT team mate, Jody Morrow. She taught a Chibi lights card at this year’s MFT Retreat and used the card stock layer technique. I’d always stacked foam tape to contain and clear the battery but this is so much neater and works better! I’ll be doing this from now on!
Here’s the finished card again.
And there you have it! I hope everything is clear and I haven’t overwhelmed you with so much information, but instead have inspired you to create a lighted project of your own. Now, go forth and light up someone’s world!!
All products from My Favorite Things unless otherwise noted.
Stamps: Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday Candles, Interactive Labels
Die-namics: Happy Birthday Candles, Circle STAX Set 2, File Folder Edges
Dye Ink: Black Licorice
Specialty Inks: Versamark
MFT Card Stock: Sweet Tooth, Wild Cherry, Orange Zest, Daffodil, Sour Apple, Gumdrop Green, Berrylicious, Blue Yonder, Wild Wisteria
Specialty Papers: Translucent Vellum
Supplies: foam mounting tape, E-Z Runner, white detail embossing powder, Multi Medium Matte Glue, Chibi Lights Starter Kit, Chibi Copper Tape, White LED Chibi Circuit Stickers Mega Pack, Coin Cell Battery
Tools: Smart Grid Paper Pad, Mini MISTI, Mini MISTI Grid Paper Pad, MISTI Bar Magnets, Small Teflon Bone Folder, Scor-Buddy, QuickStik Pick-up Tool, Precision Tip Glue Applicator Bottle, Embossing Magic, Copic Marker, craft tweezers, plastic eraser
Other: Die-cutting machine, paper cutter, heat tool, pencil, ruler