The Paper Sphere Problem


We’re currently learning 3-D shapes – and by that, I mean the basic ones like cubes, and the crazy ones like Octahedron, and Rhombicuboctahedron (say  it, I dare you!)  Apparently the more intricate the name, the more interesting the shape to my crazy little Engineer.

I ended up doing this sphere as part of the project: read more on why below.

You’ll need:

  • 4 sheets of letter-sized paper stock
  • scissors
  • Tape
  • An entire afternoon
  • Clothespins or paper clips
  • This template
  • Patience.  Loads of this stuff.


Why did I do this?

I’ve been making a set of paper template for 3-D shapes, and I smashed right into the wall of flat planes when it came to making a sphere.  Oof!  It didn’t go well.  Failure x 3 hurts – and yes, I’m posting a pic of my failures.


So now what?  Our set isn’t complete without a sphere, right?  Or a hemisphere, but I’ll cross that bridge later.  What to do?  Google it, of course.

I found this site about weaving paper that was just amazing.  It looks so cool!  And difficult… no way I could do that.

Well, we had to try something or risk a disappointed 5-year-old.  Off I went to print and cut 24 little squiggly arms of paper.  Cool looking, right?  I can’t emphasize enough: read the directions!  I missed the “print 4 sheets” part and got really frustrated because 12 just didn’t work.


Off and running. Paper clips or clothespins are essential to not tearing your hair out in frustration.


Just keep weaving – over, under, rotate, repeat.  It looks really complicated but it wasn’t all that difficult to weave as long as you understand the over/under concept. Tape the inside down as you go to prevent shifting – you need a tight weave to make it to a full sphere.

Then…getting close to the end. Jellyfish looking critter, right?

almost there

Now what?  This was the hard part, and it wasn’t any more fun because I kept having to deal with small children trying to murder each other while I was trying to tie off ends.  I honestly have no idea how I managed it, and I need to go back and watch the video they posted if I plan to do this again.  Yikes!

The front looks good.  The back…not so much. Double-stick tape covers a multitude of sins.


Now we have a true sphere for our 3-D collection – and if I feel adventurous, I’ll do this again – halfway, for a hemisphere.  Woohoo!  Happy 5-year-old.




One thought on “The Paper Sphere Problem

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s