How To Make Your Own Battery

salt water cup connected to batteries and a light
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-40
What You'll Need
Plastic cup
Metal strips
Lead wires
Plastic cup
Can of soda
Alligator clips
Voltage reader
Piece of wood or plastic
Metal Plates

Batteries are a reliable source of power, but if you are in a pinch and don’t have access to one or just want to create your own for fun, you can easily make one out of pretty common household materials.

Method One: Saltwater

Step 1 - Fill a Plastic Cup with Water

Fill a plastic cup three quarters of the way full with tap water. The cup for this doesn’t have to be plastic, but it must be non-metallic. A paper or foam cup would also work.

Step 2 - Add Salt

Add a tablespoon of salt to the water and stir it well.

Step 3 - Place Metal Strips

You’ll need two metal strips in different types of metal. They can be any of the following: zinc, aluminum, or copper. Place one strip on each side of the cup. The bottom of each strip should be touching the salt water. Fold the other end of each strip slightly over the rim.

Step 4 - Attach Lead Wires

Attach a lead wire to one of the metal strips using an alligator clip. Attach a different lead wire to the other strip, also using an alligator clip. In this step, don’t let the alligator clips touch the water.

Step 5 - Test the Battery

Connect the other ends of your lead wires to a voltage meter. This will allow you to test the strength of your battery. It should be approximately three quarters of a volt.

Method Two: Soda Powered

open soda cans

Step 1 - Fill a Plastic Cup with Soda

Using a plastic or other non-metallic cup, fill it with soda from a can until it’s approximately three-quarters of the way full.

Step 2 - Empty the Can

Discard the excess soda into the sink or drink it so that the can is completely empty.

Step 3 - Cut a Strip of Aluminum

Cut a strip of aluminum out of the soda can that is three-quarters or an inch wide. It should be slightly longer than the height of the cup. Keep in mind that aluminum foil is not a suitable replacement for this strip, so don’t sub it out for that.

Step 4 - Sand the Aluminum

Sand off the coating on the sides of the aluminum strip at this point.

Step 5 - Place the Strips

Place the aluminum strip as well as a copper strip into the soda across from each other in the cup. Each strip should be touching the soda and should be hanging over the top of the rim. Don’t allow the strips to touch each other.

Step 6 - Attach Lead Wires

Attach a lead wire to the aluminum strip and another to the copper strip. Each should be connected with an alligator clip. Do not let the alligator clips touch the soda.

Step 7 - Test the Battery

Attach the lead wires from each strip to a voltage meter. The meter will likely tell you that the strength of the battery is three-quarters of a volt.

Method Three: Hand-Powered Battery

Step 1 - Place the Plates

Place an aluminum and copper plate on a piece of wood next to each other. If you don’t have a piece of wood readily available, any other non-metallic surface will work instead. For instance, plastic.

alligator clips

Step 2 - Connect the Plates

Use alligator clips to each of the sheets, connecting them to a voltage meter.

Step 3 - Place Your Hands on the Plate

With the plates still connected to the voltage reader, place your hands down flatly on each plate. The sweat on your hands will react with the metal to produce a reading on the voltage reader. If the reader isn't showing anything, reverse your connections with the plates and wires. If you’re still not getting a reading, instead try cleaning the plates with a pencil eraser or steel wool in order to remove oxidation. Just like that, your hands are creating battery power!