How to Make Paper Geometric Shapes

Written by scott becker
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How to Make Paper Geometric Shapes
Use coloured paper to make a 2-D or 3-D geometric shape. (geisha réalisée avec les 7 pièces d'un tangram image by Unclesam from

Making two-dimensional geometric shapes out of paper is a simple task, but making three-dimensional shapes takes a little more thought. Follow a few steps to create well-proportioned paper shapes in 2-D or 3-D.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Scissors
  • Straight-edge (ruler optional)
  • Pencil
  • Protractor (optional)
  • Transparent tape

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  1. 1

    Decide which geometric shapes you will be modelling with your paper. Also, decide how large the shapes will be.

  2. 2

    Allow room for many shapes to be cut from a single piece. You can also use one piece of paper per shape.

  3. 3

    Place a ruler or straightedge on the paper and draw a straight line. This is the first side of the shape.

  4. 4

    Repeat this process, drawing another line in a direction that allows you to create your desired shape. Draw as many lines as are necessary to complete the shape.

  1. 1

    Learn the meaning of a geometric "net." A net is an unfolded, segmented version of the 3-D shape. To make this kind of shape, you must trace the two-dimensional shape many times in such a way that the paper can be symmetrically folded together to produce the target figure.

  2. 2

    Create your own net for your desired shape by tracing the base of the figure. Often, this is a square.

  3. 3

    Trace another geometric shape (one per side of the base) around the traced base. For example, a square pyramid net consists of a square base and four triangles traced around the base.

  4. 4

    Finish tracing the net and use scissors to cut it out.

  5. 5

    Crease the straight lines around the base of the shape. Fold the surrounding shapes above the base such that they meet above the base. Tape the edges together with enough tape so the shape remains 3-D.

Tips and warnings

  • To make identical shapes, such as equal triangles for the pyramid, create a triangle as a template for the others.
  • Use a protractor to create equiangular shapes. If creating equilateral shapes, use a ruler to measure exact lengths of the sides of each shape.
  • Use caution when working with scissors or any other sharp objects.
  • When creating 3-D shapes, be careful not to cut off too much paper within the lines when cutting out the net. Otherwise, the shapes may not meet correctly when folded.

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