Make an Electromagnet

Create a magnet with electricity. Electromagnets are used in many things that you see or use everyday - like motors, speakers and even automatic doors.


things you will need

  • 1 x 4 AA battery pack
  • Copper wire
  • 1 x black croc clip lead
  • 1 x red croc clip lead
  • Large iron nail
  • Staples

safety notice

  • The battery pack and wire can get hot quickly. Always hold the plastic covered croc clips.
  • Never leave the electromagnet unattended.
  • Only ever use the electromagnet for about one minute at a time.
  • Always disconnect the wires from the battery pack when you have finished using the electromagnet.

Make one loop

Take the copper wire and starting about 5cm from the end make one loop around the top of the nail.


Cover the nail

  • Wrap the copper wire around the nail 15 to 20 times. 
  • Trim the end of the copper wire, leaving 5cm spare.

Power it up

  • Connect a red croc clip to the red wire of the battery pack and the copper wire at the top of the nail.
  • Connect a black croc clip to the black wire of the battery pack and the copper wire at the bottom of the nail.

Try it out

  • Turn the battery pack on and hey presto. You have made a magnet.
  • Holding one of the black and red croc clips, use the end of your nail to pick up the staples.

Challenge time

  • Can you make your magnet stronger by adding more coils to the wire?
  • How strong is your magnet? Fasten it to a toy crane and see what you can lift.

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