How to Make a Tetrahedron

Subject: tutorials

Description: How to draw the net of a tetrahedron using just a ruler and compass and make a model

Posted by David Caldwell on 15/04/20 at 10:59

The Tetrahedron

The tetrahedron is a four-sided regular polyhedron.  It has four corners, four faces, and six edges.  It is also known as a triangular pyramid.

What does tetrahedron mean?

The tetrahedron is a Greek word and means literally four-sided.  'Tetra' meaning four and 'hedron' meaning many faces.

The Latin for four is 'Quad' as in Quadrilateral or Quad Bike.  Tetra is Greek for Four.

Platonic Solid

The tetrahedron is one of the five Platonic Solids and represents the element of Fire.

The tetrahedron is unique among the Platonic Solids in that it only has a duality with itself.  If you were to connect a dot on the center of each face internally it would create another tetrahedron.

You can watch the video for this tutorial on youtube.

Drawing the Net of a Tetrahedron

Step One

• Use a sheet of light card.
• Draw a horizontal line across the page with your ruler or straight edge.
• Place the point of the compass on the line in a slightly off-center position and draw a circle.
• Move the point of the compass to the intersection of the line and the circle and draw a second circle that overlaps the first.

Step Two

• Place the compass at the intersection of the line and the circle on the left and draw an arc inside the left circle.
• Place the compass at the intersection of the line and the circle on the left and draw an arc inside the right circle.

Step Three

• With a ruler draw the three sides of the equilateral triangle which is created by joining the point where the two circles intersect at the top and the intersections of the left and right arcs created in step two going through the centre points of the two circles.

Step Four

• Draw two lines from the central points of the circles to the point where the two circles intersect at the bottom.

Step Five

• Ink in your net with a fine-liner pen and erase your construction lines.
• Draw three tabs for gluing your model.

Step Six

• Using a craft knife or scissors carefully cut out your net.
• Score along the internal lines and tabs so they can be folded to create a neat straight edge.

Step Seven

• Fold the tabs and internal folds of the tetrahedron net.
• Apply clear PVA glue along the tabs of the net.

Step Eight

1. Press the tab gently against it's opposing side and hold until it begins to adhere.  you can use masking tape while it drys.
2. Repeat until all tabs are glued.
3. Hold the model together with fingers, a rubber band or masking tape until all sides are glued.

Your model of a tetrahedron is now complete

Keywords: tetrahedron, tetrahedron net, model tetrahedron, what does tetrahedron mean