How to Make a Paper Step Pyramid

Updated November 21, 2016

Crafts often work well as follow-up activities to lessons in school and at home. Students learn best when they have a visual reference to help them comprehend and connect concepts, making crafts useful to them as well as fun. This works especially well in conjunction with history, since each historical period in each country had its own particular “look.” One simple craft is to help your students make paper step pyramids. Early Egyptian pyramids, like the one at Saqqara, were step pyramids and all of the Aztec pyramids follow this style. Your students can make paper replicas as a follow-up activity.

Use a ruler to draw a 6-inch by 6-inch square in the centre of your paper. This is the base of the pyramid. Mark the centre of each side of the square with a small dot. Draw a four-inch line sticking out from each dot and perpendicular to each side.

Draw more lines connecting the tip of each 4-inch line to the corners of the square so that you have one equilateral triangle on each side of the square. Make dots up both sides of each triangle, ½ an inch apart and connect them with straight lines. Draw glue tabs on the sides of each triangle as well. This is your pyramid pattern.

Cut out your pyramid pattern, making sure to cut out the tabs as well. Crease each triangle along the parallel lines, folding the triangles in toward the centre square. The result should be several 90-degree angles, or steps, folded into each triangle.

Fold the triangles up so their sides meet. The steps should line up exactly. Smear glue on the glue tabs of one triangle and press them onto the inside of the triangles on either side of it. Continue until all of the triangles are glued this way.

Fill the plastic tub with natural-coloured sand and spray the pyramid with spray adhesive. Place the pyramid in the tub and use a spoon to scoop sand onto it for a realistic finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper square (1 foot square or larger)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Spray adhesive
  • Plastic tub
  • Sand
  • Plastic spoons
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