Week 10: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

Crafting is the act of making something in a skillful way by using your hands.  (Merriam-Webster, 2016).  Many people craft as a hobby, and millions of children craft in school throughout K-12.  You usually don’t associate crafting with electronics, but I soon found some interesting projects that incorporate electronics with crafting.


E-waste is a new term associated with old electronics that would be put in a landfill, but in some cases, people use to craft.  Shown above in order from left to right are


  • Floppy disk planter
  • E-waste jewelry
  • Toys from old electronics
  • Toaster night light
  • Circuit board pendant lamps
  • Door sign from circuit board and keys
  • Mother board clock
  • Washing machine ottoman
  • Keyboard rings
  • Telephone bookends

People dedicated to recycling and keeping e-waste out of landfills are finding new ways to use these old electronics in innovative ways.  They call themselves green crafters.  The jewelry is made from wires, cables, and plugs.  The third photo on the first row is a keyboard piano.  There is no limit to your imagination.

Chibitronics is a new company that specializes in crafting with electronics.  Their website is packed with information on learning the basics of using electronics to make paper circuits, cards, textiles, home decor, and many other projects.  The basic materials are copper tape, conductive fabric, stickers, LEDs, batteries, sensors, and microcontrollers.  They sell most of the basic electronics to use in crafting.


Another innovative idea using electronics and crafting is interactive art.  Jie Qi gets inspired from Zachory K. Berta and Jessie W. Thompson from MIT to make an Interactive Light Painting. (Scroll over images for caption)

Here are Jie’s different phases of her painting.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 12.31.01 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-19 at 12.22.50 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-19 at 12.23.16 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-19 at 12.23.54 PM

Some of the dandelions have sensors that when you blow on it, the seeds scatter!  Or it can cycle through the different phases automatically.  Here you see her circuitry behind the painting.  She used LEDs, copper tape, and sensors.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 12.24.23 PM

Adafruit is another company that specializes in electronics and crafting.  They sell a Arduino-compatible microcontroller called the FLORA and it is round, sewable, and is used for a wide variety of wearable electronics.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 12.39.13 PM

Here are some examples.

The unbrella’s LEDs are color changing, and can even be programmed to replicate colors you come across with a photo sensor!  The skateboard has flashing lights under the board.  The last item is a chameleon scarf.  It has 12 color changing LEDs to match any outfit you have.

Lastly, there is squishy circuits.  PlayDoh or homemade dough can be used to create sculptures that conduct electricity so you can use LEDs and other components.  You can also teach about electronic circuits safely and without a soldering iron or breadboard.

All these ideas, and infinitely more are creations that incorporate electronics and crafting.  It puts another dimension in crafting that gives flare, glitz, and uniqueness.  Some of these projects require programming, but all require electronic components and the basic knowledge of electronic circuits.  There are many web sites dedicated to these types of crafts, and tutorials are available and created everyday.  I believe it is a viable addition to crafting that people can enjoy and showcase.



Buechley, L. (2012). How to “sketch” with electronics. Ted Talk. . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI

Qi, J. (2012). Interactive Light Painting: Pu Gong Ying Tu. . Vimeo. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/40904471

Qi, J. (2012). What Makes a Weed Not Be a Flower. . YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KODlmvQMmtw&feature=youtu.be

Chibitronics. (2016). Retrieved from https://chibitronics.com/

Adafruit. (2016). FLORA – Wearable electronic platform. Retrieved from https://www.adafruit.com/products/659

Squishy Circuits – Sylvia’s Mini Maker Show.(2012) Makezine. . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDZo51k2BWQ

Striepe, B. (2014). 10 Beautiful E-Waste Craft Ideas. Welcome to the Ecycle Best Blog. Retrieved from https://www.ecyclebest.com/blog/expert-insights/10-beautiful-e-waste-craft-ideas-becky-striepe



2 thoughts on “Week 10: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

  1. Gerald,

    Great examples of recycling through e-waste! Environmental science at its best ☺ When I was 16, I had a back surgery and a home tutor came by once a week with adapted lessons for me from teachers at the high school. One of my classes was arts and crafts. Since my mom was an itinerate art teacher in Anchorage for a couple of years, she had me covered. My assignment was to make it unique. I used weaving. Tree branches at the top and bottom provided my frame. Then I wove in everything, LOL. Pipecleaners, breadbags, left over yarn from my grandmother’s crochet basket. This piece of art reminds me now of a bird’s nest; from the kid’s book My Nest is Best. If electronics were the inspiration of that day, I’m sure Mom would have taught me how to light it up with LEDs.

    I like the way Chibitronics helps learn the basics of electronics with paper. What great tree examples!

    Yup, I want a wall mural with electronics now! I watched that dandelion video. Living out in a village is a perfect place to create beautiful wall décor without needing to try to have the typical store bought picture sent out in a large cumbersome box.

    I am interested in the sewable electronics as well. The FLORA looks like an easy way to get started.



  2. Gerald, I really like how you brought up e-waste. One of the best things about technology is also a pretty bad thing and that it that there is always something new out there. This leaves a lot of stuff just piling up or going into the landfill. I never know what to do with my old cellphones and I’m not even one of the people that gets a new one everytime they come out. I think the floppy disk planter would be a really funny gift for a older teacher.


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