Subscribe to Make Magazine Today!

By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

Math_Monday_banner02_600px.jpg

With paper and scissors and patience, you can make an amazing variety of mathematical forms. The paper sculpture below consists of twenty identical components that form a complex linkage. They lock together without glue in a very symmetric arrangement.

modular-kirigami-meanders.jpg

If you want to try this, the template for the construction is the blue shape below. Twenty copies are required. Note that there will be twelve 5-sided openings like the one at the center of the above image.

modular-kirigami-templates.jpg

With sixty copies of the above “3”-shaped template, one can make thirty copies of the “8” shape, which interlock to form the construction below. It also holds together without glue.

modular-kirigami-eights.jpg

“Kirigami” is the Japanese art of paper cutting. Because these constructions involve many identical copies of a single module, I call them “Modular Kirigami.” For more examples and larger-scale templates, see this paper [PDF].

More:

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • John Baichtal

    Still my favorite column on Make! Most excellent.

    • Gareth Branwyn

      And George has some more REALLY cool stuff coming up, too!

  • http://twitter.com/TessaSling Tessa Slingerland

    I love these modular kirigami! They look very complicated but I will just have to try making one myself.

Related Supplies at Maker Shed