The Penrose stairs, also known as the impossible staircase, is a two-dimensional depiction of a staircase in which the stairs make four 90-degree turns as they ascend or descend yet form a continuous loop. Although the staircase is conceptually impossible, it does interfere with your perception since it looks like a person could climb forever and never get any higher.

Watching the video is the easiest way to see how it works. I’ve included a drawing which is linked in the video description.

Step 1: Tools/Materials


  • Band Saw
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Clamps
  • Sander (optional)


  • Wood 1 x 6 or 1 x 3
  • Wood glue

Step 2: Cut First Side

Cut wood as shown in the pictures. I used a table saw for the sections and a band saw for the steps.

Step 3: Cut Second Side

Step 4: Cut Third Side

Step 5: Cut Fourth Side

Step 6: Glue Sides Together

Use a vice or clamps

Step 7: It Should Look Like This When Assembled

Step 8: Highlight Edges

Use a pencil or marker to highlight the step edges. You could also paint the steps as an enhancement.

Step 9:

I used a Canon DSLR camera for the photo and video. It took a few minutes on a tripod to line up the angles. I also had to use manual focus to blend the focus which helps with the illusion.

Step 10: Another Example

If you like this, check out another example


<p>That's pretty cool! Thanks for sharing, I liked the triangle too!</p>
<p>Thank you. </p>
<p>my mom gives better examples than this </p>
<p>That's good to know.</p>
<p>Would you be wiling to make the 3D model which was shown in the video clip available?</p>
Sure. Note that the drawing is linked in the video description. It's a very simple model so I'm not sure how much time it would save you. I can email you the inventor and/or STEP files. Let me know if you want them.
<p>Check this out for a similar project - with a working waterfall!</p><p><a href="http://boingboing.net/2011/02/18/is-this-how-the-esch.html" rel="nofollow">http://boingboing.net/2011/02/18/is-this-how-the-e...</a></p>
<p>You made me squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I lurve M.C. Escher and this is amazing! =D</p><p>-Gashly!</p>
Wow love it I'm so makeing one
<p>Oh, the <a href="http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_de_Penrose" rel="nofollow">triangle de Penrose</a> : Great, good job !</p>
<p>First saw this in the movie Inception.</p>
Correct...here is the movie clip.<br><br>http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uUzBIR-dOwg
<p>I remember hearing about people creating similar things (Escher art) in 3D about 15 years ago, but I never got to see the renders. This is perhaps a little more interesting :) Thank you for sharing.</p>
Well after watching this I have concluded that you sir are a WITCH!
<p>This looks great! Thanks for sharing and I loved the impossible triangle :-)</p>
<p>Loved it :). Thank you for sharing :)</p>
This is way cool. Good work!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to design and build random things.
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