How to Build a Dome

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The are many reasons a person would want to build a dome. There are also a few different types of materials a dome can be built from. A wood dome requires some constructing, but is far more structurally sound than let's say, cardboard. So the first step to building a dome is deciding what it will be used for. If the dome is just for fun why not start out by creating a dome from paper. If ever in the future you want to construct a dome sized playhouse, you'll have a handy paper template to use as a pattern.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Compass
  • Pencil

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    Build a Dome

  1. 1

    Use a compass and a ruler to make 30 paper triangles with 2 sides equal to 13.66 cm and 15.45 cm along the bottom. Make 10 triangles with all sides equal to 15.45 cm. Each triangle is called an element.

  2. 2

    Each triangle must include tabs on each side for folding. Each glue tab is to be 1 cm and run the full length of the side. Cut out the triangles.

  3. 3

    Create 6 pentagon shapes using 5 each of the 13.66 cm sides folded and glued together. If the shorter sides are all glued together to form a type of circular shape and the longer sides are at the outside of the pentagon, your pentagon shapes will be raised in the center.

  4. 4

    Cut a circle with a diameter of 75 cm out of a piece of cardboard to form a circular base for your dome. In the center of the base draw a circle, 50 cm in diameter. Next cut out a circle shape from your base, 25 cm in diameter. This is the entrance to your dome from underneath.

  5. 5

    Draw a series of chords around your circle each 15.45 cm. Make sure 10 of these lines fit perfectly around your circle. These chords will be the base template for your dome as you build upon them using your triangles and pentagon shapes.

  6. 6

    Take 2 pentagon shapes and glue a 15.45 cm triangle shape, previously cutout, between them. Add a triangle to the end of one side of your pentagon and then add another pentagon.

  7. 7

    You will continue adding triangles to pentagons until you have built a circular shape connected together using 5 pentagon shapes and 5 triangles. Glue this shape to the chords you drew on your base.

  8. 8

    Glue triangle shapes into the top of your dome between the pentagons and top it off with the sixth and final pentagon. You now have a completed dome.

Tips and warnings

  • For your paper dome project, use glue sticks for gluing ends together. Glue sticks are easy to use, mess free, and quick to dry.
  • When constructing your dome out of something other than paper, you will definitely need more advanced tools and supplies. Wood requires nails not glue. Building a wood dome would need levels, saws, and a lot more space.

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