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By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics


Here is a set of laser-cut Truchet tiles with circular arcs, designed to be rearranged in a frame. The top layer parts with the quarter-circle arcs are glued to the squares of the bottom layer. The rule when assembling the tiles is to match high to high and low to low.

With just these two types of pieces, you can make a variety of patterns ranging from only circular islands to only circular lakes, with many possible landscapes in-between. Because the surface is raised, you can make rubbings with a pencil or crayon to save your favorites to paper.

See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.



  1. Balloondoggle says:

    A set of tiles with these patterns printed on them would make an interesting kitchen floor.

  2. Dorothy says:

    This is an old quilt pattern called “Snowball”, “Boson Puzzle”, or “Baseball”.

    1. Dorothy says:

      Oops! I meant “Boston Puzzle”. No physics here.

  3. M. Kelsey says:

    Very interesting! The board game Carcassonne ( uses a more complex version of Truchet tiling, with multiple tile patterns.

    1. Jesper Krog Poulsen says:

      Speaking of games, these tiles reminds me of a game called Amoeba, that I played as a kid. I found it on Boardgamegeek:

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