The new Code-a-Key Backpack! Bringing the Makey Makey and the BBC micro:bit together for more invention fun!

Makey Makey Scrappy Joystick

Use a Makey Makey with common items in uncommon ways to reinvent how we interact with the physical and digital worlds. In this build, use everyday paperclips to build your own functional joystick!

Craft a Scrappy Joystick


(Note: This is an adapted build from Michael Carroll's Scrappy Joystick)

To recreate an 8 point joystick you are going to create a joystick that is able to move by using a paper clip! You will also use paper clips as the conductive inputs for each directional input.

Materials for Scrappy joystick: cardboar, cardstock, foil, paper clips

Unfold the small end of a paperclip to a 90 degree angle from the large end of the paperclip. This will be our joystick base.

Paperclip unfolded

Poke this through a 3"X3" square of cardboard. (Use a pencil if you need to pre-poke a hole!)

paperclip base for joystick pushed through cardboard

Place tape over the large end on the bottom of the cardboard to stabilize your joystick.

large end of paperclip on bottom of cardboard

Take a 3" X 3" piece of cardstock and roll it up to be your second layer of joystick. Use a pice of tape to keep it together. Place onto your paper clip base.

cardstock as second layer of joystick

Use a 4" by 4" piece of foil. Roll the cardstock with the foil. You will have extra left over the end. You need it for the next step!

Roll cardstock in foil

Place the foil covered cardstock onto the paper clip joystick base. Take the extra end of foil off at diagonal to the corner of your cardboard.

foil covered cardstock placed on paper clip

Alligator clip to the foil to create an EARTH connection.

clip to EARTH
To make your directional inputs, take four paper clips and bend the larger end away from the smaller end at about a 90 degree angle and push the small end into the cardboard. 
push paper clip into cardboard
Fold paper clip in and mold the end so it is rounded and there is more surface area for your foil joystick to make contact. Plus into the soccer app and test your input!
test clip
Repeat fo the other 3 sides and test your joystick with the Makey Makey Soccer App.
full scrappy joystick playing soccer app on tablet

Want to prototype your own game controller? See: Invention Literacy Foundations: Prototype Game Controller for Makey Makey Soccer App



Time Investment
20 min


  • Makey Makey
  • Paperclips
  • Cardstock
  • Cardboard




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