PARALLEL PAPER CIRCUIT – Symmetry, Contrast, Emphasis

Students use conductive copper tape to build a parallel paper circuit with a maximum of 3 LEDs. They use the circuit to light up a picture they have created using symmetrical shapes and letters cut out of construction paper.

Share this:
PARALLEL PAPER CIRCUIT – Symmetry, Contrast, Emphasis


  • Crayola Construction Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - Variety of Colours
  • Crayola Scissors
  • Crayola Glue Sticks
  • Crayola White Glue
  • Crayola Sketchbooks
  • ¼" Self-Adhesive Conductive Copper Tape
  • 3 mm LEDs
  • CR2032 Coin Cell Batteries - 1 per student
  • Duct Tape
  • Cardstock Paper
  • Corrugated Cardboard - 15 cm x 23 cm (6" x 9") - 1 ½ per student


Step 1
  1. Make 4 thumbnail sketches in your sketchbook.
  2. Use symmetrical shapes for the main images.
  3. Include at least 1 word in your design.
Step 2
  1. Choose the colours you want to work with.
  2. Cut out rectangles of paper for each of the main shapes.
  3. Fold the rectangles to cut them into symmetrical shapes.
  4. Choose contrasting colours for the details.
  5. Follow the instructions to cut out your letters. (Downloads - CuttingOutLetters.pdf)
  6. Arrange the shapes on the background colour to be sure they all fit.
  7. Once you are satisfied with the design glue the pieces in place.
Step 3
  1. Use a glue stick to apply lots of glue to the back of the picture.
  2. Glue the picture onto a piece of corrugated cardboard.
  3. Press the paper down so it is flat and smooth.
Step 4
  1. Place the picture on a small piece of foam sponge.
  2. Use a small nail to push holes into the cardboard where you want the LEDs to be.
  3. Push the nail through the cardboard and into the sponge.
Step 5
  1. Draw the circuit on the back of the cardboard.
  2. Make sure the lines go to the holes you have made.
  3. Leave a small gap between the holes.
Step 6
  1. Apply copper tape to all the lines.
  2. Smooth the copper down with your finger.
  3. Fold the tape at the corners.
    - fold it at a 45° angle away from the direction you are going
    - make a crease then fold it back along the circuit line - 180° angle
  4. Leave a gap in the copper tape at each hole.
Step 7
  1. Insert the LEDs into the holes.
  2. Bend the legs at a 90° angle.
  3. Use a small piece of copper tape to attach the LED to the copper tape on either side of the hole.
  4. Make sure the long leg of the LED is attached to the positive side of the circuit.
Step 8
  1. Glue a strip of cardstock long enough to reach the battery at a right angle to the positive end of the copper tape. This will be the switch to turn the LEDs on and off.
  2. Stick several strips of copper tape to the cardstock.
  3. Make sure the copper tape runs onto the positive end of the circuit tape.
  4. Use a glue stick to apply a small dab of glue to each side of the negative end of the copper tape.
  5. Place the battery on top of the copper tape so the glue holds it in place.

Step 9
  1. Close the paper switch to test the circuit.
  2. Make sure the copper tape on the cardstock makes contact with the battery.
  3. The LEDs should light up.
  4. Place 2 small pieces of duct tape on each side of the cardstock switch to hold it in place.
  5. Make sure the duct tape does not touch the copper tape.
Step 10
  1. Cut 2 cardboard rectangles 5 cm x 8 cm.
  2. Cut one long side of each rectangle on a slight angle – about 75°.
  3. Use white glue to attach the cardboard pieces to the back of the corrugated cardboard.
    - draw 2 lines of glue on the back of the picture
    - place the angle side of the small rectangle into the glue and line up the bottom of the rectangle with the bottom of the picture
    - hold the cardboard in place for a few seconds until the glue sets
  4. Allow to dry for about an hour.
Step 11
  1. Stand the picture up.
  2. Close the switch to turn on the LEDs.
Illustrated Crayon Character