Math Monday: Coffee Stirrers

Math Monday: Coffee Stirrers

By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics


Nick Sayers enjoys making geometric constructions from unusual materials. Here’s an organic-looking sculpture he made from 630 coffee stirrers, with “blobs” protruding in the twelve directions of a dodecahedron‘s faces.

This close-up view shows the geometric form and the method of assembly. Each stick is drilled with four equally-spaced holes, making a total of 2,520 holes that are pinned together in pairs with 1,260 tooth picks. Note the consistent handedness to the cycles and the overs and unders, so the sticks spring together to hold the shape. The tooth picks just keep the joints from sliding.

Each “blob” form is based on half an icosidodecahedron, with small triangles surrounded by three large pentagons.

See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance 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 to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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