What you will make:
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
Here's what you need:
- Computer paper or cardstock, plain or colored
- Optional: Empty ballpoint pen and ruler, markers, crayons, stickers.
- Glue or double-sided tape
This project is rated EASY to do.
How to Make Platonic Solids
Read all of the steps before starting.
- Step 1: Choose a Pattern and Print It
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
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: Cut Circles
Cut on the outline of each circle.
- Tetrahedron - Cut four circles with equilateral triangles.
- Cube - Cut six circles with squares.
- Octahedron - Cut eight circles with equilateral triangles.
- Icosahedron - Cut twenty circles with equilateral triangles.
- Dodecahedron - Cut twelve circles with pentagons.
- Step 3: Fold
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.
- Step 4: Glue Parts
When gluing, use the folded sides as glue tabs, and keep them on the outside.
- Tetrahedron - Glue three folded circles with triangles together to
form a pyramid. Glue them so that they meet at one point. One
circle remains -- go
on to Step 6.
- Cube - Glue three folded circles with squares together to form one
corner of the cube. Glue them so that they
meet at one point. Repeat for the other three circles. To finish assembling -- go
on to Step 6.
- Octahedron - Glue four folded circles with triangles together to
form a pyramid shape. Glue them so that they meet
at one point. Repeat for the other four circles. To finish assembling -- go
- Dodecahedron - Glue five folded circles with pentagons around the
sides of a sixth. Glue the sides together to form
the top. Be sure that the glue tabs are on the outside. Repeat for the bottom.
To finish assembling -- go on to Step 6.
- Icosahedron - Glue five folded circles with triangles together to
form the top. Glue them so that they meet
at one point. Repeat to form the bottom.
- Step 5: Make Ring
Icosahedron only: Glue ten folded circles with
triangles into a ring using the glue tabs.
- Step 6: Assemble
Glue the parts together.
- Tetrahedron - Complete the shape by gluing the last circle into
the bottom of the three-sided pyramid shape.
- Cube - Glue the two pieces together.
- Octahedron - Glue the two four-sided pyramid shapes together at
- Dodecahedron - Glue the top and bottom together.
- Icosahedron - Glue the top to the ring, then glue the bottom to the ring.
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
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