In this project, learn a simple technique based on circles for making all five Platonic solids—tetrahedron, octahedron, icosahedron, cube, and dodecahedron. Each solid is made from a circle, with the shape the solid is based on drawn inside of the circle. This construction technique reinforces the concepts of Platonic solids as the student assembles each solid.
Three-dimensional objects with only flat (or plane) surfaces are known as polyhedra. There are many different polyhedra, but five of them have the property of being regular, or "Platonic". A solid is regular if all planes (or faces) are the same, and the same number of planes meet at each corner (or vertex). Five solids qualify as regular: three are based on equilateral triangles (tetrahedron, octahedron, and icosahedron), one is based on squares (cube), and one is based on regular pentagons (dodecahedron).
For other geometric solids to make, see the project Geometric Solids.
Choose the platonic solid you want to make—there are templates for triangle, square and pentagon faces. For the cube, print squares; for the dodecahedron, print pentagons, and print triangles for the tetrahedron, octahedron and icosahedron (2 sheets). Download and print the pattern on paper or cardstock. The patterns are available in color or in black and white, for you to print on colored paper or add your own design. There are also pentagon patterns for making dodecahedron calendars for 2012, 2013 and 2014.
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.
Cut on the outline of each circle.
Fold on each of the three (or four or five) fold lines. To hide the printed fold lines, turn the circle with the printed side down before folding; otherwise, keep the printed side up. Repeat for each circle. For circles printed on cardstock, score the fold lines first with the empty ballpoint pen.
You may optionally decorate the inner triangles, squares, or pentagons with crayons, markers, stickers, or rubber stamps. Decorate on the unprinted side.
When gluing, use the folded sides as glue tabs, and keep them on the outside.
Icosahedron only: Glue ten folded circles with triangles into a ring using the glue tabs.
Glue the parts together.
Tip: If you want, the glue tabs can be folded down and glued to a face or trimmed to one-eighth of an inch.
That's it! Your Platonic solids
are complete!
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Tip: Make a calendar in the form of a dodecahedron.
Print the
2014 calendar pattern on paper or cardstock and
assemble following the instructions in this project. For more
creativity, you might print the
black & white 2014 calendar pattern on white
or pastel colored cardstock and
decorate it with markers in any way you like!
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Tip: Glue tabs can be glued inside for a neat look.
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Tip: These solids can be used as gift boxes. Print
directly on cardstock. Decide how you want the box to open and leave
tabs unglued as needed for a lid.
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Tip: The bottom halves of the dodecahedron and icosahedron
can be used as bowls for party decorations. Pictured: the bottom of
the dodecahedron filled with
paper flowers
attached to a balloon.