Picture of Drawing Ellipses
Here is an easy way to draw an ellipse by hand with a few basic materials.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
For this project you will need some string or yarn, two push pins, a writing utensil, and a some surface to draw on.
Tangski3 years ago
Thank you! I use such shapes for creating sets for the Nature Center, in this case, an oval to paint pocupines inside of...as part of a title display panel! I needed a LARGE one, since they are over 6 feel high and 3 feel wide.:)

Knew it would be simple, but, was not quite sure..so thank you!

Let's see...

To answer 3/4 of the comments on here:

Ugifer5 years ago
An excellent technique, and very useful - if you ever need to cut a hole to pass a vertical pipe (chimney, flue, drain etc) through a sloping roof then the shape you need is an ellipse.
ecogzie6 years ago
excellent been racking my brains and this oh so simple solution ,does the business
Don Quioxte7 years ago
A common sense solution. (because an ellipse is defined as a set of points in which the sum of the distances between two foci is constant) I like it. In a similar vein, using only one focus, the result is a circle. Using three or more (noncollinear) foci could yield interesting shapes, which could be useful for making signs or templates.
Awesome. Isn't this closely related to Kepler's three laws?
mikesty9 years ago
That's quite clever. Now I'll need to think of a good reason to draw an ellipse :)
ellipseseses can be handy when you need to cut an arc out of something, as opposed to a simple quadrant from a circle. Like a fancy schmanky coffee table corner or sumfink.
What´s a schmanky coffee table like ?
I kindly direct your attention to the attached object of fancy schmankyness (including ovalesque corner cuttouts)
Woooshh !!
mikesty mikesty9 years ago
*nods* Good point.

How about a custommini CD in the shape of an ellipse? That would be cool.
I once tried pulling out one of my hairs to use as the string to do this in an exercise book. School was really boring.
what is an Ellipse
It's the maths way of saying "oval".
aragao9 years ago
Distance between pins:
2 x Sq root of {(1/2L)squared minus(1/2H)squared}, where L=lenght and H=height of final ellipse.

mikesty aragao9 years ago
Clever you. Can you now tell me how to find the largest circle I can inscribe in a given ellipse ? I can't :)
Simple. The center is midway between the two points (push pins). The radius equals the height of the ellipse (distance to nearest edge).
aragao9 years ago
If it is to be inscribed, diameter should be equal to the ellipse´s height (y axis).
what is an Ellipse