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How to make light-up bugs

light-up bugs

Ticia asked for instructions to make these bugs yesterday, so hopefully these make sense! The fun STEM project for kids was invented by my friend’s engineer husband. Engineer dads are the best! =)

Tutorial: How to Make Light-up Bugs


  • Insulated copper wire
  • C battery
  • Small light bulb
  • Electrical tape
  • Sticky tack (normally used to attach papers and other lightweight objects to walls)
  • Paper, googly eyes, regular tape or glue, and pipe cleaners to decorate


  1. Cut a piece of wire that is roughly 2 inches longer than the C batter
  2. Strip the insulation from both ends of the wire
  3. Use electrical tape to secure one end of the wire to the flat end of the C battery.
  4. Wind the other end of the wire around the twisty part of the small light bulb.
  5. Attach the bottom of the lightbulb to the top side of the battery with electrical tape. The light bulb should light up.
  6. Add sticky tack to keep the light bulb in place, being careful to not get sticky tack in between the bottom of the bulb and the battery.
  7. Stick googley eyes in the sticky tack. Or one eye, if you are Lily.
  8. Tape paper around the battery, and add wings cut from differently-colored paper and pipe cleaner legs.

To turn off the light bulb, simply break the connection. Or buy a fancy switch =)

This is a great experiment, but the end product isn’t really a toy – children should be carefully supervised. I’d love to see pictures, if anyone else makes one! And, please let me know if the instructions don’t make sense?

I’m linking this post up to Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom (Ticia’s blog).

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

14 thoughts on “How to make light-up bugs”

  1. Thanks for the tutorial! My kids would think I’m just about the coolest mom ever if we made these!

  2. I have to do it one of those days – I think Anna will be very fascinated. Thanks for sharing the instructions!
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..What My Child Is Reading – October 2- 2010 =-.

  3. I think my four year old would love to see how this works. I might come up with an entirely different battery project to show her. I’ll be sure to post it and link back here if I do!
    .-= Jaimie´s last blog ..Self Portrait Saturday 14- October 2nd- Me and Spidey =-.

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