How to Make a DIY Membrane Switch: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make a DIY Membrane Switch


How to Make a DIY Membrane Switch? Membrane switches are widely used in various electronic devices due to their simplicity, durability, and cost-effectiveness. These switches consist of a flexible membrane layer with printed conductive traces that when pressed, create electrical connections to activate specific functions. If you’re a hobbyist or have a specific project in mind that requires a custom membrane switch, you may be interested in making your own DIY membrane switch. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of creating a DIY membrane switch, allowing you to customize its design and functionality according to your specific needs.

Please note that making a DIY membrane switch requires some technical skills and knowledge of electronics. Take necessary precautions, work in a well-ventilated area, and follow safety guidelines. Additionally, the process may require specialized materials and tools, which you can obtain from electronics suppliers or online retailers.

Materials Needed:

  • Polyester film or polycarbonate sheet
  • Conductive ink or copper foil
  • Adhesive or double-sided tape
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Conductive adhesive or soldering iron (depending on the chosen method)
  • Multimeter (for testing continuity)

Step 1: Design the Membrane Switch

Start by designing the layout of your membrane switch. Consider the number and placement of buttons or switches, as well as any accompanying labels or graphics. Use graphic design software or create a template on paper to plan the switch’s dimensions and aesthetics.

Step 2: Prepare the Membrane Layer

Cut a piece of polyester film or polycarbonate sheet to the desired size and shape for the membrane layer. Ensure that it is large enough to accommodate all the buttons or switches you designed. The film or sheet will act as the base for the conductive traces and buttons.

Step 3: Create the Conductive Traces

There are two common methods to create the conductive traces on your DIY membrane switch:

a) Conductive Ink Method:

  • Using a brush or fine-tip applicator, carefully apply conductive ink along the desired path for the traces. Ensure that the ink forms a continuous line without breaks or gaps.
  • Allow the ink to dry completely as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This may take a few hours or overnight, depending on the specific product.

b) Copper Foil Method:

  • Cut copper foil into thin strips or shapes that correspond to the desired conductive traces on your switch.
  • Carefully adhere the copper foil to the membrane layer using conductive adhesive or a soldering iron, ensuring proper alignment and connection between the traces.

Step 4: Create the Buttons or Switches

To create the buttons or switches on your membrane switch, you have a few options:

a) Conductive Ink Method:

  • Using conductive ink, carefully fill in the areas around the conductive traces to create button or switch contacts. Ensure that there is no contact between neighboring traces to prevent short circuits.
  • Allow the ink to dry completely as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

b) Copper Foil Method:

  • Cut small pieces of copper foil and shape them into button or switch contacts.
  • Adhere the copper foil contacts to the membrane layer using conductive adhesive or a soldering iron, ensuring proper alignment with the corresponding traces.

Step 5: Connect the Traces to External Components

If your DIY membrane switch requires connections to external components, such as a microcontroller or circuit board, you will need to create contact points or pads on the membrane layer. Follow these steps:

a) Conductive Ink Method:

  • Apply conductive ink to designated areas on the membrane layer to create contact pads.
  • Allow the ink to dry completely.

b) Copper Foil Method:

  • Cut small pieces of copper foil and shape them into contact pads.
  • Adhere the copper foil pads to the membrane layer using conductive adhesive or a soldering iron.

Step 6: Assemble the Membrane Switch

Once the conductive traces, buttons, and contact pads are in place, it’s time to assemble the membrane switch:

a) Attach the Membrane Layer:

  • Apply adhesive or double-sided tape to the back of the membrane layer.
  • Carefully position and attach the membrane layer to a suitable surface or substrate, ensuring it aligns with any external components or buttons.

b) Secure External Connections:

  • If necessary, solder or connect wires to the contact pads on the membrane layer for further integration with external components.

Step 7: Test the Membrane Switch

Before finalizing your DIY membrane switch, it’s crucial to test its functionality and ensure proper electrical connections:

a) Continuity Testing:

  • Use a multimeter set to the continuity mode to check for proper electrical connections.
  • Test the continuity between the conductive traces, buttons, and contact pads to verify that the switch operates as intended.

b) Button Press Testing:

  • Apply gentle pressure to each button or switch to ensure they make contact with the corresponding conductive traces, registering a change in continuity.

Step 8: Customize and Protect

If desired, you can further customize your DIY membrane switch by adding labels, graphics, or a protective layer:

a) Labeling and Graphics:

  • Print or design labels or graphics to indicate the functions or labels of the buttons on your switch.
  • Carefully attach the labels or graphics to the top surface of the membrane layer, ensuring they align with the corresponding buttons or switches.

b) Protective Layer:

  • To protect the conductive traces and buttons, consider adding a clear protective layer, such as a transparent adhesive film or laminate sheet, over the membrane layer. This will guard against wear, moisture, and physical damage.


Creating a DIY membrane switch allows you to tailor the design and functionality to your specific project or application. While it requires some technical skills and materials, the process can be rewarding and cost-effective. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this blog post, you can embark on your journey to make a custom membrane switch. Remember to take necessary safety precautions, test the switch’s functionality, and ensure proper connections before integrating it into your electronic project. With creativity and a little DIY spirit, you can successfully build a customized membrane switch that meets your unique requirements.