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Sent in by:
Tishauna of Malden, MA

Brilliant: a homemade flashlight in a flash!

Materials Needed

  • 2 or 3 different, inexpensive flashlights
  • pencil and paper
  • stuff from around your house to make your flashlight, like...
  • small flash light bulb
  • batteries
  • tape
  • paper towel tube
  • small cardboard box
  • wire
  • aluminum foil
  • brass fasteners
  • scissors
  • paper clips
  • plastic wrap



  1. Check with a grown-up before you get started.
  2. Before you can build your own flashlight, it will help to find out how other flashlights work and what materials you'll need.
  3. Start by taking apart a few inexpensive store-bought flashlights. Check with a grown-up before you do this to make sure it's okay to take the flashlights apart.
  4. Trace the path of electricity in the flashlights. Notice how the power source, the switch and the light are connected.
  5. Write down the materials you'll need and draw a design.
  6. Now, build the flashlight as you've designed it. You'll need to find a way to connect the circuit so that the electricity flows through the battery and the bulb. You'll also need to build a switch that turns the flashlight on and off.
  7. Now test out your flashlight. How does it compare to the store-bought flashlights?

Try to build some other tools at home using a battery. Like, maybe you could you rig up a doorbell on your bedroom door! Whatever your ideas, try them out and send your results to ZOOM!

Some of your Results

Melissa, age 9 of Oakland, CA wrote:
it was so cool because it worked so good. now I use it to read in the dark.

Aimee, age 12 of Edmond, OK wrote:
well I did mine in my science class. we had to use two toilet paper rolls. and duck tape. my light was pink.:]] haha.

Olivia wrote:
I had this exact task as a Science assignment but we had to use a waterbottle. If you cut off the top of the waterbottle and put sticktack and sticky tabs in the bottom, the batteries will stay without moving around. I used a clothes-peg as a switch so the circuit is complete when you open the peg and the wires touch. ( A wire connecting to the lightbulb and battery were each taped on to the parts you push down). It's awesome!! If you're having trouble, this should work for you!!

Krystal, age 10 of Memphis, TN wrote:
It Worked Really Well! But it was smokig a lttle

Kelsie & Sarah of Indianapolis, IN wrote:
When we first tried our design, it didn't work, but then we realized that the light bulbs were burnt out so we tried it again. And what do you know, it worked with a new flashlight bulb. Also, instead of using a d-cell battery, we switched out for a 9-volt battery so we would get more light.

Laura, age 14 of WA wrote:
I did it as a science project assigned and remembered that I had seen it on Zoom. I didn't think it would work but when my partner and I tried it it was awsome! It worked!

Barnett, age 14 of Nebraska City, NE wrote:
My flashlight woriked! it was amazing! I cant belive how bright a light it made when I turned it on. It was a great experiment to do.

Samantha, age 11 of Mornville, AZ wrote:
What I did was that I had one paper towel roll and I had two batteries, two pieces of electric wires and put them together and then I made a flashlight.

Eli, age 12 of Philadelphia, PA wrote:
I used wire, a light bulb, a battery, tape, and paper towle roll. I taped on end of the wire to the positive side of the battery, then taped the other side to the light bulb. I taped the light bulb to the battery, then put the paper towle roll over the battery and light bulb. And wala a flash light. (Note: the light bulb should light before adding the paper towel roll.)

Cassey, age 10 of Manitowoc wrote:
I did it!!! I made a flash light I desighned it and everything!!! I made it with a d cell tape wire brass fasteners and paper clips. I made the switch it was a project in school.

Solomiya, age 11 of Brooklyn, NY wrote:
The flashlight came out really good and I didn't have any problems.

Kayla, age 10 of El Paso, TX wrote:
It worked!! I made the switch by using brass fasteners and a paper clip. It was sooo awsome!!! Everyone thought it was cool.

Kesley, age 10 of McKenzie, TN wrote:
When I first built it I just experamented. Now I have an awesome flashlight!

Jazmine, age 11 of Casa Grande, AZ wrote:
I did make a flashlight but it was differnt. Instead I used wire, a battery, tape and a lightbulb. 1st you get the battery and the wire and you put the end of the wire where the flat side of the batty is and you tape it. Then you get the lightbulbe and wrap the end of the wire where the mettle of the lightbulbe is. Last you get the lightbulbe where you wraped the wire to. And you put the lightbulbe on top of the battry, and it should light up.

Quang, age 8 of San Bernardino, CA wrote:
When I did it I used a paper towel roll and a lamp when the light of the lamp went through the towel roll.

Courtney, age 12 of Carthage, MS wrote:
I put it together my sister thought it wouldn'twork but it did! It really did! I entered it in a science fair and I got first place.

Danielle of Wadmalaw Island, SC wrote:
When I tried the flashlight, it really lit the whole room. I was just wondering what would happen if you used a larger bulb and a larger battery.

Shawna, age 10 of Hawthorne, CA wrote:
When I made the flashlight it worked just like yours, but it only worked for a day.

Sean, age 10 of Saratoga, ND wrote:
It was so bright it lit my whole room.

Brianna, age 9 of San Antonio, TX wrote:
At first it didn't work, but when my uncle helped me the second time, it worked perfectly!

Ronald, age 10 of Powhatan, VA wrote:
It did not work. I conected the aluminum foil to the light bulb and conected the battery to it and I've try conecting the aluminum foil to the light bulb and conected the battery to the aluminum foil. What I'm I doing wroung Zoom?

Muhammad, age 11 of Bridgeport, CT wrote:
When I try to make my flashlight it did not work but, the tin foil got very hot. What should I do?

Sharlene, age 12 of Vancouver wrote:
It worked really good. I turned off the lights in my room and it worked. My room shined... but sometimes it falls apart.. but I still enjoy building it again.

Jennifer, age 11 of Foster City, CA wrote:
It didn't work very well, like it didn't light up as bright as the second time you guys did it, it was more like the first time where it wasn't very bright, but it was still so cool to make a homemade flashlight! Thank you guys so much!

Ashley, age 13 of Oshawa, ON wrote:
The flashlight works soooo good I put up my tent in my backyard and told scary stories to my cousin and the flashlight gave it a scary effect. Ps the flashlight is so bright I almost blinded myself. Thanks for showing how to make a flashlight!!!

Aubrey, age 11 of Zanesville, OH wrote:
It didn't work, but it did get hot at the bottom of the flashlight.

Beka and Sarah of Edmonton, AB wrote:
We tried it like they said on the show. The foil got hot but we could not get more than a flash from the light bulb. We must be doing something wrong.

Sarah, age 12 of Winnipeg, MB wrote:
When I tried it it didnt work! I did exactly how you did it! I am going to try with a different light bulb. Maybe that was what was wrong! Wish me luck!

Adriana, age 8 of San Antonio wrote:
At first it did not work. Then it started to light up.

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