Introduction: How to Build a Geodesic Dome

Picture of How to Build a Geodesic Dome

How to build a geodesic dome out of newspaper.

Step 1: Materials and Getting Started.

Picture of Materials and Getting Started.

To make this, you're going to need a couple things.

-Newspaper, and lots of it (could be substituted for toothpicks for a smaller version)
-Staplers and extra staples (marshmellows for a smaller version)

Step 2: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started

So we're going to take 3 pieces of newspaper stacked on top (make sure it's the bigger type of page, with the fold on the middle,) start at one corner and roll it to the far corner, forming a tube. Be sure to read the funnies once you get to them.

Step 3: Roll More Tubes

Picture of Roll More Tubes

We're going to need 25 tubes. So git' rollin'.
I didn't have a picture of all the tubes piled up because I figured "Who wants to look at a bunch of tubes?"

So here's a badger from the tubes.

Step 4: Making Individual Tubes Into a Series.

Picture of Making Individual Tubes Into a Series.

Now we need to make the frame that will eventually become the awesome structure that is our dome.

Make a triangle.
Make an inverted triangle (with the point at the opposite side of the first)
Continue until you have 5 "upright" triangles and 5 "upside down" triangles (all connected, see image)
attach 1 tube to the end of the "ladder"

Now the tricky part, fold the "ladder" up so that the ends of the chain meet and staple (This is easiest with 2 people)

You should have 5 tubes left after this step.

Step 5: Finish It Up!

Picture of Finish It Up!

Now staple one tube to each of the tops of the "upright triangles" and staple in the center (looks like a 5 pointed star)

You're done!


HelenB81 (author)2016-09-28

And what if you DO want a dome, but don’t know what to do with it ? - if you don't have a clue - this infographic gives you, like, 50 reasons…

fharry (author)2012-06-04

Did this Saturday afternoon, skeptical that it would really work and dang it, it worked great. Substituted duct tape for staples. Thanks!

Covered with a sheet and my boy slept in in for two days (in his bedroom).

Its starting to sag a bit now so going to try recreating it with lengths of 1/8" dowels and styrofoam balls for the joints.

knattertom (author)2012-04-22


very lovely this papermade one.
I was living for short terms in a same sized dome, a friend of mine was traveling around with........, but of course not made by pappmachché. This friend was staying long at every place.

Now, i am planing to spend the summer up to sweden and maybe even finland. i want to see much and move often, so i thought about living in such one with a sticklength of about 2,5 m, which is big enough for 2 or 3 person.

To shorten the building-time, i thought about getting fittings for the connections between the sticks. But i am not sure about the angels.............,

The bottom pieces with 4 sticks would be 108 degrees for the bottom surface frame. The pentagon on top is split in five triangles, which makes 360:5=72 degrees. Missing is only the downward angle for the 5 sticks in the roof pentagon, which repeats in all the surrounding wall pentagons.

I hope you understand what i mean.

I'll do the calculation, when i have the tools, maybe one of you already did
it and can tell, that i can compare with my result.

Further, maybe some of you have experience or are interested in getting the same. If so, please let me know here, after we can get in touch. I thought of having them done in wood, but maybe plastic also could be possible if there is a larger order.



jackytran102 (author)2012-04-17

Thanks! This is just what I was looking for. You see, I have a geodesic dome project. You saved me lot of time.

katemday (author)2009-11-16

this is great, but I'd like to build one that can hold up to 3 3-5 yr old boys climbing and hanging all over it--pretty sure the newspaper won't cut it. but the design is great. Any ideas for material substitutes that don't require welding?

flamesami (author)katemday2010-03-06

wood maybe?
pipes and pipe joints?

tjmortenson (author)2007-12-24

this is pretty sweet

flyer300 (author)tjmortenson2009-04-28

my school is planning on building a 20' dia one to use as a greenhouse. if it gets done this year ill post pics on how it turns out.

dgobyo (author)2008-10-15

for all you building this, why don't you make a pentagon first, lay it on the floor, then add triangle to each strut, then connect the triangles and build the top

Tomton (author)dgobyo2008-10-18

That sounds feasible, It sounds like it should work. This is the way I learned to do it, so that's how I wrote it, but If I build it that way, I'll take pictures and add them and instructions, if it's ok with you.

dgobyo (author)2008-10-14

what are the stick lenghts please, i need to know by tomoarrow

srhadaham (author)dgobyo2008-10-14

as long as you keep them all the same they can be as long or short as you like, this is because they are all based on the same shape. if you need to know the exact lengths simply roll one and measure it hope this helped

dgobyo (author)srhadaham2008-10-15

ya thnx, but know I keep getting a hexagon and a pentagon, how do I get two pentagons, How many triangles do I use for the bottom part

MrL33TPenguin (author)2008-08-19

I had to do this for mathcounts last year. It was great, so we displayed it in the lunchroom, but the little kids played in it and it got destroyed. :( Good job on it.

agdollison (author)2008-08-18

i will do this for my geometry class project

anna_2008 (author)2008-05-22

I rated this best ever because the concept of geodesic domes is important to our future, and this one can be made in stealth mode, by small children, with mostly throwaway items around the house, and it explains without a single mention of frequency and geometry, which so many dome builders begin with. And the cartoons. I have a game we play making bucky balls (domes out of 5 sided pieces, pentagons instead of triangles) out of straws and paper clips - all in the dark. No lights, just feel. Make all the pentagons fully sided, then put together and lose the extra straws. Then turn on the lights ands see what you made.

Cerafem (author)anna_20082008-05-28

Ah... the Buckminster Fullerene (obviously I have no life). I remember doing a report on nanotechnology and wrote about them in it. I think it is cool how they are arranged exactly like a soccer ball (best sport ever, by the way).

anna_2008 (author)Cerafem2008-05-29

The SEED project here has a paper bucky ball template, and what's neat if you build it, and spin it aloft, I found it has AMAZING (to me, also no life obviousyl) aerodynamic qualities.

Paper Buckyball

I think this is where RUTAN got his idea for his "deltoid pumpkin seed" airplane design.

PS I just found solar roof tiles for a real off the grid version...

Tomton (author)anna_20082008-05-23

Why Thank you! I'm glad you enjoy it, and now I want to try and make one with a different shape for each of the "panels"... but that's for another day.

anna_2008 (author)2008-05-22

Oops I left out the hexagon making part of the Bucky ball.

penguinskankill (author)2008-02-25

were do you staple it so it doesn't roll back to a curlly piece of newspaper?

rickharris (author)2007-12-24

at Desert domes you will find instructions, calculations and examples of BIG domes - we built a 30 foot Dia a couple of years ago at School.

IF you want to build big and want to cover it try Tyvek - Works well BUT is only Sun shine proof for 6 months.

Tomton (author)rickharris2007-12-24

Nice! I kicked around the idea of a big dome, but I did this around like 8 or 9 o clock at night, and I don't think the neighbors or my parents would be pleased with me cutting pipe and building a giant dome in the back yard... Post pictures if you have them? Kind of interested to see what a bigger one turns out like, because you'd need to have more "layers" of triangles.

gameboy7oa (author)Tomton2008-02-11

well dont tell ur parents ur building it and who cares what ur neighbors think mine think im an insane 13 year old i have not much to loose(except for my limbs)

Pyrowuzzup (author)2007-12-29

oh snoopy. what will you do next?

Tomton (author)Pyrowuzzup2007-12-29

That one was part of the "Mad Punter" Series of strips... I don't know why, but that series has always appealed to me.... Who knows what that beagle will do next?

gameboy7oa (author)2007-12-24

i like ur badger

Tomton (author)gameboy7oa2007-12-24

Why thank you!

gameboy7oa (author)Tomton2007-12-27
oh dang i feel stupid now So here's a badger from the tubes.<<<<
Tomton (author)gameboy7oa2007-12-28

I was actually referring to the internet (series of tubes), but youtube is on the internet, and I bet the badger thing is on there, so that works, I suppose...

Maxx1 (author)Tomton2007-12-29

Here's the Link

Tomton (author)Maxx12007-12-29

Actually I was thinking more along the lines of this, but yours works too....

meddler (author)2007-12-25

I found this fascinating, i have wanted to try something like this for a while, and thanks to everyone else for the awesome links.

Tomton (author)meddler2007-12-26

I always thought that these were really cool too. I actually used a fairly large one made out of straws and those brass fastener thingies for an art project in 7th grade.

nnygamer (author)2007-12-24

Good work, something simple for kids to play with too. I live in a geodesic dome house (20+ years now) and although being cool looking it has troubles. Furniture doesn't fit well, no attic, water drainage troubles. You can make a bigger one with the dimension show on a page I found

Tomton (author)nnygamer2007-12-24

Hmm... I always thought it'd be kinda cool but if it has problems like that, I'm kinda rethinking that. Thanks for the link.

nnygamer (author)Tomton2007-12-24

With proper drainage you wouldn't have much trouble, it's just the cellar here was built on what seems to be an underground stream. Plus putting on gutters was never done since where would I pipe 5 downspouts. This house is 24 years old and has settle a bunch too but any house will have some problems after that long. Mine is 39' diameter, with 2 stories. I'm sure never versions have most of the kinks worked out now.

Tomton (author)nnygamer2007-12-24

Cool, I still think It'd be fun to live in one....

altaria1993 (author)2007-12-24

i think i'll make this, and make a tentlike thingie out of it! if i finished it i'll post pics (if i can find the camera..)

Tomton (author)altaria19932007-12-24

Thanks! Post the pics if you can, I actually tried it earlier, mine held a bedsheet okay, but a heavy blanket probably won't work.

GorillazMiko (author)2007-12-24

just wondering, exactly what does this do?

Tomton (author)GorillazMiko2007-12-24

It's a strong type of structure, it's not really used for anything except architecture and the big blow up dome things. But they're fun for little kids to play in and build forts out of (cover all but one entrance and the ceiling with newspaper as well). I think that they're considering using one of these domes for the moon bases, if that ever happens.

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