DIY Electronics: 7 Simple Design Projects For Beginners

Wannabe DiY tinkerers, creators and toy makers take note: there’s never been a better time to bring your ideas to life!

No longer dependent on costly degrees or professional electronic product developers, cheap and readily available beginner electronic equipment and Microcontrollers like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi have given rise to a hobbyist community that welcomes new members and exciting new projects every day.

It’s this community we have to thank for the wealth of guides, how-to articles and video series you’ll find across the web, all detailing in their own way the exact steps needed to breathe life into your electronic creations. Even better, doing so requires minimal financial outlay, and next to no risk.

Still, every journey needs a beginning. You won’t be the next Nikola Tesla or Albert Einstein overnight! Which is why we’ve hand-picked 7 of the best DiY beginner electronic design projects from around the web to help get you started. Each of these projects is perfect for any skill level, and we’d be surprised if at least one didn’t spark your electronics imagination.

#1 – Build A Simple Circuit With A Pizza Box

Pizza Box Circuit

Fast food and electronic product development don’t have all that much in common. At least at first glance. But the first project in our list definitely puts that theory to the test.

The pizza itself is, unfortunately, optional – it’s the cardboard we need here – but nevertheless this project does a great job of stepping you through the process of creating a fully-functioning electronic circuit similar to what you might find on a circuit or PCB board. And all of that with just a handful of readily-available materials.

This is a beginner project through and through, which highlights just how easy it is to get started with electronics. You don’t need any previous knowledge to give this one a go. There’s no soldering iron in sight! Just a used pizza box, a few everyday items and a small helping of theory that will help wrap your head around the basics of electronics.

#2 – Light Up An LED With A Breadboard Circuit

LED Breadboard Circuit

The humble light bulb is largely taken for granted nowadays. Instead, we’re all focussed on much more exciting technological marvels. But even something as simple as an LED light bulb can offer an exciting insight into the inner working of an electronic circuit.

This simple project sees you exploring just that, illuminating the inner workings of both light bulb and switch with a breadboard circuit. There’s even a smaller version of this project that sees you creating a light-up card, which might just be the perfect gift card for the tech-savvy friend or family member.

#3 – Chapstick LED Flashlight

Chapstick Light

The true joy in any DiY project is finding ways to make the ordinary extraordinary. Is there anything more ordinary than the humble chapstick container? We didn’t think so! This project sees you applying the basic circuitry principles you’ve learned in earlier projects to turn it into a fully-functioning LED flashlight. It even comes complete with an on and off switch!

#4 – Wire Loop Game

One part electronic project, one part game, this project is sure to provide more than a few ‘Ooohh!’ And ‘Aaah!’ moments. While previous projects have dealt more in theory, this step-by-step guide to creating your own Wire Loop Game might be just the thing you need to spark the interest of a younger audience.

#5 – Fruit Clock

Fruit Clock

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but with this project it also – seemingly – keeps the electrical bills at bay, too. At least to an extent! This nifty project shows you how to power a clock with a single piece of fruit. Lasting for as much as a week, it harnesses the chemical reaction between the citrus and metal components used to create it. How’s that for ingenuity?

#6 – Clap Activated Light Switch

Colour Changing Night Light

The clap switch is a device often associated with the lives of the rich and famous, but with this project you’ll be surprised to find just how simple – and inexpensive – these seemingly exclusive devices are to make yourself.

#7 – Colour Changing Night Light

Anyone with children knows how difficult it can be to persuade them that, no, there’s nothing lurking under the bed or in their closet. We’ve all been a little afraid of the dark at some point in our lives!

The humble night light is usually the go-to cure all in this situation, but why buy one from a store when you could get the kids involved in fighting those nighttime nightmares and make one yourself?

This project highlights how to do just that, providing you with the perfect opportunity to solve a problem, educate yourself – and your kids! – on the basics of electronics, and at the end of the day have a multi-colour night light to show for it.

Feeling Adventurous? Build A Robot With This Bonus Project

From the terror of the Terminator to the far friendlier faces of C3PO and R2D2, who doesn’t love a good robot? Sure, while Hollywood may still be undecided as to whether they’re our friend or foe, for now they remain the pinnacle creation in every DiY electronic hobbyist’s collection.

This may sound like an advanced project, but with Lifehacker’s step-by-step guide you can create at least one part of your own robot. Namely, the arm. Just be sure to leave out the world-destroying robot AI while you’re at it.

Scratch Your Electronics Itch With Even More Electronic Projects

Whether you’ve burned through these projects and need more to keep your mind occupied, or you’re intrigued at just what the wide world of electronics has to offer, the following sites are a constant source of inspiration, ideas and new projects. With these sites bookmarked, the possibilities for future electronic creations are truly endless. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get creating!