Building A Flip Switch Lamp

Below is a really fun and simple project to build a flip switch lamp prototype that I picked up from the World Maker Faire a few weeks ago. The nonprofit that inspired this project is called Liter of Light. They use solar powered bulbs in 2 liter bottles filled with water and bleach to provide low-cost lighting for developing countries. Liter of Light has distributed these lights to more than 28,000 homes in Metro Manila alone but have expanded distribution to India and Indonesia as well. For a video on how to build a solar bottle bulb, check out their DIY video.

The below prototype is not solar powered. Just a cool flip switch light.

Materials Needed:

  • Circuit Board
  • Flip Switch
  • Paper Clip
  • Battery
  • Black and red circuit wires (Read this for an interesting explanation on why wires are color coded the way they are)
  • Electrical Tape
  • LED Light

Step One: Lay out all your materials in front of you.


Step Two: Attach the circuit wires to their respective sides of the battery and seal with electrical tape. Secure with the paper clip.


Step Three: Place the wiring a few spaces away from each other on the circuit board in the last row. Connect one end of the flip switch in the same column as the red circuit wire.


Step Four: Connect one leg of the LED lamp to the same column as the leg of the flip switch (that is not connected to the red circuit wire). Place the other leg of the LED lamp wherever you want.


Step Five: Put the unit in the jar and tape it to the roof of the lid. Flip! The light should turn on.


Even though this flip switch light is very straightforward, the work that Liter of Light does has have tremendous implications for populations of people affected by disaster. Without working electricity, the lack of light can have significant effects on people’s sense of safety within their communities and ability to be productive after the sun sets. Very cool organization.


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