What you will make:
Learn how to make a really fun geometric toy—a six-sided,
six-faced flexagon called a hexa-hexaflexagon! It
looks like an ordinary, two-dimensional, paper hexagon with a front and a back, but hidden
inside are four more sides (or faces) that
become visible by flexing the paper.
There are many types of flexagons. The names of flexagons
tell the type of polygon and the number of faces. In this project we make a
hexa-hexaflexagon—a six-sided polygon (hexagon) with six faces (hexa).
Related crafts: For other (and easier to make) versions
of the flexagon, try a tri-hexaflexagon
tri-tetraflexagon. For more about the history of flexagons, see the
Here's what you need:
- Computer paper
- Glue or double-sided tape
- Bone folder or empty ballpoint pen
- Optional: Rubber stamps, stamp pad, tape,
This project is rated AVERAGE to do.
How to Make a Hexa-hexaflexagon
Read all of the steps before starting.
- Step 1: Choose a Pattern and Print It
Choose a hexa-hexaflexagon to make. Download and print the pattern.
Choose a design that prints in color, or select
one of the black & white
patterns and use your creativity to add color and designs. It is
easiest to fold patterns that have numbers or counting dots. Make one
of these flexagons first before trying any of the others. To aid in
folding and decorating the blank patterns, guides that number the
faces are included on the patterns.
Patterns are Adobe PDF files. The
Adobe Reader is available for free.
All of Aunt Annie's project patterns are designed to be printed on standard letter-size paper (8.5"x11" or A4).
When printing from Adobe Reader, you may need to select Auto-Rotate and Center or Choose paper source by PDF page size to ensure the best fit.
- Step 2: Color Pattern (optional)
Color the pattern template as you like with markers, colored pencils or
crayons. You don't need to color the glue tabs marked with '*'.
Tip: On blank patterns, follow the Coloring
Guide. All the triangles that make up a hexagon face have the
same number, so color and decorate them with that in mind.
- Step 3: Cut
Cut around the two pattern pieces on the outline. Try to make the
cuts very straight and accurate. There will be two pieces with
19 triangles each.
- Step 4: Double and Glue
Make a double thickness by folding each pattern piece in half lengthwise and glue.
To make a sharp, straight fold, first score on the fold line. Join
the two pieces of the hexa-hexaflexagon together to form a strip of
19 triangles. Glue the strips together by gluing the single
triangles together, back-to-back.
To score: Use a ruler and the empty ballpoint pen (or bone folder) to make an
indent along the fold lines.
- Step 5: Fold
Score and fold back and forth on all the solid lines. Do this for each of the 19 triangles of the
Place the strip of 19 triangles with the side with 6s, 5s, and 4s
face up and the glue tab, *, to the left. Fold the strip back on
itself matching two 6s, then two 5s, then two 4s, on like this for
the entire strip (nine folds). Now you have a strip of 10 triangles.
Place the strip with the side without glue tabs facing up and the
3 end to the left. Fold back on the line between the third and
fourth triangles (2 and 1)—four 2s are together now. Fold back
on the line between the next 2 and 1. Now you should be able to see
five 2s. Pull the 2 forward that is behind the 3. There should be
six 2s on top and a 1 to the side. Fold the 1 back.
The two glue tabs marked with '*' are now face-to-face. Glue them together. Wait for the glue to dry before flexing your flexagon.
- Step 6: Flex
Fold the flexagon to bring together three alternate corners of the flexagon. The top of the
flexagon will pop open if there is a new face to reveal. If it doesn't pop open, flatten the
flexagon and try again with the other three corners.
As you flex the flexagon in this project, see if you can find all
the possible combinations of faces. The hexa-hexaflexagon has six
faces with 3
different arrangements each, for a total of 18 possible faces. Only
15 of the faces versions can be seen with the straight strip pattern
for a hexa-hexaflexagon. Can you find all 15 possibilities?
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