Learn how to make an LED Throwie


LED throwies are an easy electronics project to do - great for kids 5+.

What do you do with your GLOWIE or THROWIE?

Without the magnet attached, you can use your LED as a GLOWIE – use them at night to practice writing your words in the air or make your own flashlight. GLOWIES can also be used as party decorations – scatter them around a table to showcase your food and drinks or put a bunch of different colored GLOWIES in a glass jar as a centerpiece. Hang your GLOWIES for lighting or spell out words on a sign commemorating a special event. With a magnet attached, they become a THROWIE. Use them as a party game – gently toss a THROWIE against a metal surface with a target or make a THROWIE Pin the Tail on the Donkey!

To make an LED throwie, you will need tape, an LED (any size or color), a 3V lithium battery (CR2032), and a small disc magnet.

LED GLOWIE: Slide the longer lead (leg) of the LED over the POSITIVE (+) side of the battery. When both leads are touching either side of the battery, the LED should immediately light up. Take a piece of tape and wind it around the leads and battery 2 times to secure the LED to the battery.

LED THROWIE: Attach a magnet to the POSITIVE (+) side of the battery. Wind a piece of tape around the THROWIE 2 times taking care to cover any ceramic magnets.

How do LEDS light up?

LED is short for Light Emitting Diode. To light up, LEDS need a power source (like the battery). If you examine the inside of an LED flashlight or keychain, you will find the same materials that we’ve given you: an LED and a battery.

Attaching the POSITIVE (+) lead (longer leg) of the LED to the POSITIVE (+) side of the battery and the NEGATIVE (-) lead (shorter leg) of the LED to the NEGATIVE (-) side of the battery creates a CIRCUIT. When the leads are not touching the battery, the CIRCUIT is broken.

How else can you create a circuit? For a more advanced project, you could add a SWITCH to turn the LED on and off. To learn about adding a switch to your LED throwie, you can read our tutorial.

Adding a switch will lengthen the life of your GLOWIE since you can easily turn it on and off. If left on continuously, most GLOWIES will last about a week. If you don’t add a switch, you can make your LED GLOWIE last by separating the components when not in use and retaping them when you want the LED to light up.