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DIY for the Weekend: Dancing Dolphins, Talking Puppets, and an Electric You

Have you ever wanted to know how ‘electric’ or ‘resistive’ you really are? Have a wall of dancing dolphins or a talking puppet? Whatever electronics project you’d like to try – we’ve got the resources you need!

Making Everyday Electronics Work: a Do-It-Yourself Guide will help you learn the basics of electricity, about everyday electronics, and what makes them work – or not. Author Stan Gibilisco starts with the basics by explaining direct current, alternative current, working his way through magnetic force, semiconductors and vacuum tubes. Each section has “Did you know?”, “Fact or Myth?” and “For Nerds Only” boxes and sidebars. And, since I’m sure you don’t want to be electrocuted, there are also warnings about dangers of which you will want to be aware!

Multimeter (Voltmeter) available for check out from our Tool Library
Multimeter available in our Tool Library

Gibilisco talks about building and stocking your workbench. He includes a detailed list of what you’ll need to have a well-stocked place to experiment. One of the items mentioned is a multimeter. We have one in our Tool Library – ready for you to check out!

Now that you are ‘grounded’ in the basics of electricity and everyday electronics, you can move on to the experiments that Gibilisco provides.. You can start by building a wet cell using distilled white vinegar, table salt and other items from your workbench. And, once you’ve created the wet cell, Gibilisco will walk you through using the left-over items to test both how electric and resistive you are!


Dancing Dolphins. Electronics Projects for Dummies
Dancing Dolphins. Electronics Projects for Dummies

Or maybe you’d like to have a wall of Dancing Dolphins….or birds…. or spaceships…. Using the dancing dolphins as an example, Electronics Projects for Dummies will teach you everything you need to know about putting the schematic together and building “a circuit with a porpoise.” (their words, not mine. Really). From making the circuit, the dolphins and the lighting, Electronics Projects for Dummies walks you through each of the steps, complete with photos to help you through the process.

Murmuring Merlin. Electronics Projects for Dummies
Murmuring Merlin. Electronics Projects for Dummies

Talking puppets (or just about anything else) more your style? You can learn about working with sound synthesizer chips and have fun making a “Murmuring Merlin” puppet. The project that is demonstrated in Electronics Projects for Dummies uses a wizard hand puppet. You can program the synthesizer chip to say anything you’d like.  Have anything you’d like to say to your roommate?

If you want to try your hand at making light dance to music, controlling a Go-Kart “infrared style,” or making your own metal detector, Electronics Projects for Dummies will help you through.


Have fun using these projects and your new knowledge as a jumping off point for your own projects and ideas!


Gibilisco, Stan. 2014. Making everyday electronics work: a do-it-yourself guide. New York : McGraw-Hill Education. Engineering Library TK7819 .G37 2014.

Ham Radio. February 24, 2008. Ham Radio.

Boysen, Earl. 2006. Electronics projects for dummies. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley. Engineering Library TK7819 .M38 2006

Other Resources:

Giblisco, Stan. 2005. Electronics demystified. New York : McGraw-Hill. Engineering Library TK7819 .G35 2005

Giblisco, Stan. 2011. Teach yourself electricity and electronics. New York : McGraw-Hill. Engineering Library TK7819 .G38 2011

Nuts & volts magazine. Corona, CA : T & L Publications.  Journal. Engineering Library No call number