LED Animal Balancing Blocks




About: Parsons the New School for Design

LED Animal Balancing Blocks allow you to pile and balance them, light them up however you want.

Materials Used:

1. Bristol board

2. Thick paper board

3. White glue stick

4. Double-sided tape

5. Elmer’s white glue

6. Copper tape

7. Cell batteries and battery holders

8. Conductive fabric

9. Conductive Ink

10. Printed vector illustrations

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Step 1: Make Illustrative Front & Back Covers

Draw four different animals with whatever tool you like (Adobe Illustrator, Hand-drawings, etc.) and print/place them on a sheet of Bristol board (I used a glue stick to attach printed illustrations onto it). Cut them out by dividing through gaps between them, and trim them all a little bit to make every piece have a somewhat reasonable/natural white outline. Then trace each piece on another sheet of Bristol board and cut it out. That will be the cover on the back.

Step 2: Create Bottom Half Connection Surface

Make a paper (Bristol board) stripe according to your animal shape's outline's bottom half with tabs along two sides of it. Score it and fold it to the directions according to whether the animal shape goes in or out. On the outside of the paper board, attach two parallel stripes of copper tape with both ends bended into the paper. Then solder a LED and a cell battery (with a holder) to connect the two ends of two stripes of copper tape inside the structure.

Step 3: Attach Bottom Connections

Use white glue to attach the paper stripe along onto the back of the animal shape (with no illustration).

Step 4: Create the Upper Half Connection Surface

Make Another paper board stripe outline according to the bottom half of the animal shape. Cut out a piece of conductive fabric that is a little bigger than the paper, and then attach the fabric onto the outside of the paper (including tabs) with double-sided tape.

Step 5: Close the Form

Use double-sided tape between the two-stripe-of-copper-tape surface and the conductive fabric surface (if the two touch, the LED will always be lit), then use double-side tape along with white glue to attach the rest of the upper outline of the animal shape. Remember to cut out some pieces of thick boards to add weight to the inner structure of the block (I messed up once, and the weight of the block was not enough to trigger the connection between copper tape stripes and conductive fabric). Finally glue the front cover, and we have one completed animal block!

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    9 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    It looks like the conductive fabric is making contact with both the negative and positive copper strips. Also, I am curious about whether each animal has a battery, or if it is only the elephant. This looks like it would captivate a young child. :)

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yes you're exactly right! The fabric is to close the broken circuit, and yes each animal has a battery. It is possible to make they all light up as one circuit, but that may require perfect connection or it may cause frustration.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    These is super cool. My nieces and nephews would absolutely love them! Can you add a photo of the final step? Did you mean to add a 6th step?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi there! Thank you for your feedback. Sorry for the confusion. The final step is to add some weight inside the block and glue the front cover onto it along its outline. Remember to test around with double-sided tape and white glue since the fabric is not great with any liquid glue. Hope that helps. :)