Tangram Puzzles to Make
What you will make:
In this project, you'll make a tangram puzzle using printable
patterns with puzzles in two sizes. The tangram is a
puzzle game that originated in China during the 1800s. It rapidly spread
to the United States and Europe, and became very popular with both
children and adults. Each tangram puzzle has seven pieces, also called
tans, cut from one large square—two large triangles, one medium-sized
triangle, two small triangles, one square, and one parallelogram. It is
a puzzle that requires imagination and creativity.
At the end of this project page, there are
puzzle sheets with several shapes that you are challenged to duplicate,
along with solutions to the puzzles. There are also
rules for playing with the tangram
puzzle and links to sites with more tangram
puzzle fun, photos and information.
Here's what you need to make a tangram puzzle:
- Computer paper or cardstock
- Optional: Felt, label stock, craft knife and ruler
This project is rated VERY EASY to do.
How to Make Tangram Puzzles
Read all of the steps before starting.
- Step 1: Choose a Pattern and Print It
Choose the tangram puzzle size that you want to make—large:
7.75" (19.6cm) or small: 3.875" (9.8cm). Download and print the
tangram puzzle pattern. It is best to print on cardstock. If you
don't have any cardstock, print on paper. Print the colored patterns
on white cardstock or paper, and print black and white patterns on colored
cardstock or paper—or you can print on white paper and color the puzzle as
The wood grain puzzles look particularly nice when printed on glossy photo paper. Glue the photo paper to cardstock, or apply
adhesive felt to the back. This is sure to be a favorite set.
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: Stiffen Paper (optional)
If you printed a pattern on paper, it will need to be
stiffened. Do a rough cut of the tangram puzzle and glue it to a
piece of cardboard a little bigger than the puzzle. Cereal box
cardboard works well.
Be sure that the glue completely covers the back of the
tangram puzzle. Also make sure that there are no loose corners or
sides. To make a very nice puzzle, glue another piece of colored
paper to the back of the cardboard.
Tip: For puzzles printed on cardstock,
make a sturdier puzzle by gluing the printed pattern to another
piece of cardstock.
- Step 3: Cut
Cut the tangram puzzle into seven pieces on the solid black lines. Try to make your cuts very straight. The
tangram puzzle will work better
and be more fun with straight edges.
It is easier to make straight cuts with a craft knife and
ruler. Protect your work surface with thick cardboard or a cutting
mat. Place the ruler along the line to be cut, then carefully draw
the craft knife along the ruler's edge. Be sure to keep your
fingertips away from the knife.
Kids require adult supervision when using a craft knife!
- Playing with the Tangram Puzzle
There are two ways to play with tangrams. One way is to try to duplicate shapes from a simple outline of the shape. Another way uses your imagination
and sense of fun to create new designs. The most common designs are silhouettes of animals, people, and objects.
A mathematician has calculated that there are at least 1600
designs that can be made with the seven tangram pieces/tans. Use
more than one puzzle set, and the possibilities grow even larger.
How many designs can you create?
When playing with tangrams, keep these simple rules in mind:
- All seven tans are used in each picture (except where noted).
- All tans remain flat, none standing.
- Each tan may touch another, but none may overlap
Now get started playing with your tangram puzzle!
Print a puzzle sheet, and try to create the shapes with
your tangram puzzle pieces. The small tangram puzzle is sized to
fit the shapes on the Square and Geometric Shapes puzzle
sheets. A printable tangram solution sheet is available if
you need it.
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