Introduction: How to Make a Tetrahedron Platonic Solid or a Four Sided D&D Die (dice)

How to make a Tetrahedron Platonic Solid or a Four Sided D&D; die (dice)

This instructable will show you how to make a 4 sided tetrahedron out of paper or cardboard. A quick little project that you can do with the kids. This should take about 10-15 minutes and if you can do this one you can move up to making the more complicated solids.

Step 1: Materials


Cardstock or thick paper
Butter Knife

Nail Polish Remover: Just incase you accidentally glue your fingers.

Step 2: Make the Base Triangle

1. Turn the paper in a Landscape position.

2. Measure and mark 8mm and 4mm from the left side on the top and bottom of the paper.

3.Connect the marks at top and bottom lightly.

4.Using the ruler measure 8mm from the left hand corner on an angle until it touches the 4mm mark.

5.Repeat the process from the other side. The marks should come to a point and make a perfect 8mm isosceles triangle

6.Double check the measurements and make sure all 3 sides are exactly 8mm.

7.Carefully cut the triangle out.

Step 3: Making the Body of the Solid

8.Flip the paper over.

9.Using the cut out triangle as a template draw three triangles next to one another. Two will point up one will point down.

10.Draw another triangle pointing up on top of the middle triangle. This should resemble a larger version of the triangle you have already made.

Step 4: Score the Sides

11. Cut out the larger triangle.

12. Score the lines on the larger triangle.

13.Hold a ruler over the scored lines and gently lift the corner, this will allow a nice crisp bend in the paper.

Step 5: Fasten the Sides

14.Cut a small rectangular scrap from the cardstock to make a tab to secure the sides together.

15.Bend the tab in the middle and apply a small bit of superglue to the tab.

16.Apply the tab wait a few seconds and then bend and glue the corresponding side up to the tab.

17.Apply at least one tab to each side and glue.

Step 6: Finished

18. Paint, I used red for mine.


REA (author)2009-03-14

lol its the triforce!

Eye Poker (author)2007-11-11

Marking the lines on the top and bottom of the paper insures you get a nice straight line. The 8mm line is used to find the right edge of the triangle. The 4mm line is used to determine the top of the triangle.

citzar (author)2007-11-11

can you tell me what step two on step two means because i really do not get the wording. oh ya thanks for the instructable though. i need it for my math project.

lemonie (author)2007-07-19

Looks tidy, but please explain how this is Platonic? L

Eye Poker (author)lemonie2007-07-19

Well they are Platonic because Plato was really into them. Taken from Wikipedia, Platonic Solids: The Platonic solids feature prominently in the philosophy of Plato for whom they are named. Plato wrote about them in the dialogue Timaeus c.360 B.C. in which he associated each of the four classical elements (earth, air, water, and fire) with a regular solid. Earth was associated with the cube, air with the octahedron, water with the icosahedron, and fire with the tetrahedron. There was intuitive justification for these associations: the heat of fire feels sharp and stabbing (like little tetrahedra). Air is made of the octahedron; its minuscule components are so smooth that one can barely feel it. Water, the icosahedron, flows out of one's hand when picked up, as if it is made of tiny little balls. By contrast, a highly un-spherical solid, the hexahedron (cube) represents earth. These clumsy little solids cause dirt to crumble and break when picked up, in stark difference to the smooth flow of water. The fifth Platonic solid, the dodecahedron, Plato obscurely remarks, "...the god used for arranging the constellations on the whole heaven". Aristotle added a fifth element, aithêr (aether in Latin, "ether" in English) and postulated that the heavens were made of this element, but he had no interest in matching it with Plato's fifth solid.

lemonie (author)Eye Poker2007-07-20

I didn't know that, so I appreciate the comprehensive explanation.
Tetrahedron always reminds me of a publication though...


(I published something there once)