Spirographs are geometric drawings that repeat the same pattern over and over again with intersecting shapes. They are rendered by rolling a circle around a fixed circle and creating hypotrochoids and epitrochoids. Spirographs have become famous thanks to Kenner, which commercialised the Spirograph toy in 1967. Since then, children have made haunting designs on paper by putting a pencil in a hole of a circle that spins around inside a larger circle. To draw vector spirographs, you can use a dedicated software program or the spirograph tools in programs such as Illustrator and Inkscape.
- Skill level:
Download this free program from the Brothersoft (see "Resources" below). Unzip the file on your computer. Double-click the file that says "Kolam." Click "Install."
Adjust the parameters. Click "BgC" to adjust the background colour. Click "LnC" to change the colour of the lines. Pick the colour that you want and click "OK." Click "Compute" to make the spirograph.
Click "Copy" to copy the image. Paste the image in a Word document or a paint program and save it.
Open a new document in the free Inkscape program (see "Resources" below).
Click the "Extensions" tab at the top of your window. Select "Render" after scrolling down the menu. Click on "Spirograph." A window will pop up.
Change the parameters. Click "Apply." The spirograph will form on your drawing board. You can modify it at will by changing the parameters and clicking "Apply." Click on the colour swatch to change the colour.
Go to the "Ellipse" tool. Under "Options," mark the width as 150 pixels and the height as 25 pixels.
Go to "Object" and then select "Transform"; the Transform Each: window will pop up. Set the "Scale" at 100% each and the "Move" to 0 pixels. Set the rotation of the angle to 30 degrees. Click "Copy."
Go to "Object" and then select "Transform." Click "Transform Again" four times in a row. Go to the "Select" tool and draw a square around the ellipses. Click "Object" and "Group."
Click the "Ellipse" tool and draw a circle. Click the "Select" tool and then click your circle.
Click the "Rotate" tool. Click slightly below your circle to set the points around which your spirograph will grow.
Click and drag over your circles to select them; hold the "Alt" key at the same time. Press the "Ctrl" and "D" keys to repeat this process over and over again, until you have a coil of circles.
Tips and warnings
- Use your spirographs to make seaside backgrounds, stormy skies and flowers.
- Vary the colours on your spirographs to make them more attractive.
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