How to Make Four Triangles out of Three Matchsticks

Written by rachel watkins
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How to Make Four Triangles out of Three Matchsticks
Matchsticks and toothpicks are used to solve many brainteasers. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Brainteasers that involve making shapes out of a limited number of tools are used as learning exercises for children and adults. The question concerning how to make four triangles out of three matchsticks has some obvious problems, including the fact that there are not enough sides on the three sticks to create four shapes. Yet with some trial and error, as well as some imagination, this brainteaser has a fairly simple solution.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Three matchsticks or toothpicks
  • Non-toxic glue

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  1. 1

    Arrange the matchsticks in the shape of a triangle.

  2. 2

    Make a dot on the paper at each corner of the triangle. Move the sticks away from the dots and connect the dots to create a triangle shape on the paper.

  3. 3

    Place a small dot on glue on top of each corner of the drawn triangle.

  4. 4

    Place the end of one matchstick in the centre of one of the glue dots. Hold the matchstick perpendicular to the paper. Place one end of each of the remaining two matchsticks in the centre of the last two glue dots.

  5. 5

    Bring the top point of all three matchsticks together. Apply a small dot of glue to the point where the matchsticks meet. Hold the matchsticks together until the glue dries.

  6. 6

    Let the matchsticks go when they are dry. The matchsticks should now make the shape of a three-sided pyramid. Counting the three triangle-shaped sides of the pyramid as well as the bottom side of the pyramid, you have now made four triangles out of three matchsticks.

Tips and warnings

  • Glue is used to properly demonstrate the puzzle solution, but it is not necessary.

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