by Tara Tiger Brown

January 3, 2015

Create simple circuit ornaments using wire (pipe cleaners), coin batteries, and LEDs

We really like pipe cleaners. They are soft, they come in a rainbow of colors, they bend, they are easy to work with and underneath all that soft fuzzy stuff, there are two metal wires twisted together. Those metal wires are conductive and useful for creating a simple circuit with no soldering required. Plus they look so much better than a plain ol’ wire.


Pipe Cleaner Ornament


Circuit = an unbroken loop of conductive material that allows electrons to flow through continuously without beginning or end.

Soldering =a low-temperature form of welding commonly used to join electrical conductors together for permanent connections

LED =a light-emitting diode is a two-lead semiconductor light source which emits light when activated.


All of these items come in the Motorized Bot Kit and the Future Engineer Kit.

  • 2 Pipe cleaners
  • 1 LED
  • 1 coin battery
  • Duct tape



Step 1

Cut off about half an inch of the chenille from both ends of each pipe cleaner. This will expose the wire.  Make sure you take off enough to allow you to twist the ends of the LED leads around the wire.

Step 2

Bend your pipe cleaners into the shape as shown in the example photos or in the form of your own creation.

Step 3

Look at your LED and notice that one of the metal leads is longer than the other. This is the positive (+) end. Twist the positive lead around wire at the top of one pipe cleaner. The other end of this pipe cleaner will be connected to the positive side of the coin battery.

Step 4

Twist the negative (-) lead around the top of the other pipe cleaner. The other end of this pipe cleaner will be connected to the negative side of the coin battery.

Step 5

Look at the coin battery and identify the positive side. It is labeled with a “+” sign. Tape the bottom wire of the pipe cleaner attached to the positive lead of the LED to the positive side of the coin battery. Next, tape the bottom wire of the pipe cleaner attached to the negative lead of the LED to the other side of the coin battery.

Step 6

Your Christmas ornament topper should now be lit. If it’s not, double check your connections. Check that there is contact between the pipe cleaner wire and the battery and the LED leads. Also check that the positive LED lead is connected to the pipe cleaner that has contact with the positive side of the battery.

Step 7

Please share your photos on your favorite photo sharing site and use the tag #kithub so we can display it on the website.


Instructable: Pipe Cleaner Circuitry

Makerbox: Bracelets with LEDs

YouTube: Pipe Cleaner Crafts

All About Circuits – Elementary Circuits

About the author 

Tara Tiger Brown

Tara Tiger Brown is a technologist and author exploring the intersection of the environment, education, and wellbeing. As founder and CEO of KitHub, she develops STEAM education programs focused on hands-on learning and environmental monitoring.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}