Flexagons

TCC flexagons: header image

Flexagons. Are. Awesome.

I really mean that. They’re awesome. What are they? They’re little twisty bits of paper you can play with or write notes on, and they’re awesome. They’re also super easy to make! If you like fidget toys like fidget spinners or cubes, these are a perfect alternative you can make any where. The best part is, you can write a whole bunch of notes on them, which is super useful for forgetful folk like me. Flexagons are awesome, and they really helped me through my sixth form years, so you just have to give them a go!

As with all things a bit “maths”, flexagons have loads of weird and wonderful names, depending on how you make them. For today, we’re just going to make two types of flexagon: tetraflexagon, and hexaflexagon. But don’t worry, there’s no maths involved in making them! I super recommend that you try each of the flexagons. You might prefer one over the other, and that’s okay!

You will need

For both of these flexagons, you only need the following:

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • PVA glue (for the hexaflexagon)
  • Pencil (optional)

Tetraflexagon

Start with a square piece of paper. Fold it in half, and in half again, then unfold it. Turn the paper on its side and repeat. This will give you 16 squares in total.

Next, fold the paper in half, and cut out the middle two squares. Unfold it, and you’ll have a ring of paper!

After that, fold down the first row of squares. Turn the paper 90 degrees, and fold the top row again. Turn 90 degrees, and fold again. You should now have a rectangle with six squares showing!

TCC flexagons: how to fold the tetraflexagon ring
image; How to fold the tetra flexagon ring

Turn it 90 degrees again, and fold once more. Then, take the top right corner, and open it up. Begin turning the folds “inside out”, so you will now have a different panel showing! This may take a bit of patience, but keep working with it and you’ll get it.

TCC flexagons : how to open the corner
image; Open the corner and turn it inside out!

There you have it! A simple tetraflexagon. To use it, hold the flexagon in front of you so that the top right and bottom left corners have folds on them. Fold it in half, so that the centre of the flexagon comes towards you. Begin gently pulling the centre apart, and you’ll have a new face to work on!

Hexaflexagon

Next is the hexaflexagon. Personally, I find these ones much easier, but it’s entirely up to you which you like best!

To make a hexaflexagon, you will need a strip of paper. To make things easier for you, you can draw triangles along your strip of paper. They must be “equilateral”, which means all their sides are roughly the same size! You will need a total of 10 triangles along your strip.

Cut the ends of your strip so it looks like the diagram below. Next, begin to fold each of the lines to form a triangle concertina. When you’re done, unfold them, and follow the curve of the strip to form a hexagon shape..

TCC flexagons : a strip with folded triangles
images; The strip with folded triangles

When you have your hexagon shape, make sure to tuck the last few triangles behind the first few. Then, glue the last triangle down to the one below it.

TCC flexagons: Folding the hexaflexagon
image; Folding the strip into a hexaflexagon

To use this flexagon, pinch three of the corners together, and begin opening the flexagon up from the centre. This will show a new side to draw or write on!

All done!

Congrats, now you have some finished flexagons! Twist them, write on them, use them as study or memory aids, whatever you want. Personally, I love them as a way to keep my hands busy when I’m scheming away at new ideas, and they’re great to write down those ideas, too!

Which is your favourite flexagon? Tell me in the comments below, or show me pics of your cute flexagons! Or, if you like, hit me up on social media with the hashtag #ConfoundedDIY on Twitter or Instagram. Go forth and make lots of flexagons, and fill your fidgety and/or forgetful heart’s desire!

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