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How to make a sphere out of paper

Updated February 21, 2017

A sphere is a perfectly round object like a soccer or tennis ball. You can make paper spheres as a table decoration or as homemade Christmas ornaments to give as gifts. Varying sizes of paper spheres can also work well as part of a science project about the Platonic solids; this particular sphere is made up of twenty individual triangles and is sometimes called an icosahedron. You can make a paper sphere from any type of stiff paper or cardboard, but construction paper works best as it is easy to cut and fold.

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  1. Draw an equilateral triangle with 5 cm (2 inch) sides on the construction paper with the compass. Use a protractor to ensure the angles are each 60 degrees.

  2. Place the pointed tip of the compass in the exact centre of the triangle. Place the pencil end of the compass at one of the triangle's corners. Draw a circle around the outside edge of the triangle, so that the triangle is circumscribed within the circle.

  3. Fold the circle's edges up around the triangle so that you have three flaps.

  4. Lay out 10 circles in a row. Each triangle should alternate direction (up, down, up, down).

  5. Hot glue the triangles together at the adjacent edges to make a ring.

  6. Lay five triangles together to make a circular shape. The tips should all be pointing together in the same place.

  7. Hot glue the adjacent edges together.

  8. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 to make one more circle of five triangles.

  9. Hot glue one circle on top of the ring of triangles to make the top of the sphere. The adjacent edges should be glued together.

  10. Repeat Step 9 for the bottom of the sphere.

  11. Tip

    Increase or decrease the size of your triangles to make larger or smaller spheres. If you want to use your sphere as a decoration, make the pencil lines on the inside of the folds.

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Things You'll Need

  • Construction paper
  • Compass
  • Protractor
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue

About the Author

Stephanie Ellen

Stephanie Ellen teaches mathematics and statistics at the university and college level. She coauthored a statistics textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York, a master's degree in math education from Jacksonville University and a Master of Arts in creative writing from National University.

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