Picture of Paper DNA (Double Helix)
This Instructable is entered in the "The Teacher" contest. Please vote for my instructable! -General Eggs

I made one of these for my Biology class. It doesn't take very long and it looks pretty cool in the end. The one I made for school is colored. I've also made another one without using tools. Any way, here's what you need:

1 sheet of 8.5" by 11" paper
A pencil
A ruler

This can actually be done with any size of paper. This works best when the width of the sheet is around 8- 9 inches.

This could be used as a fun, cheap way to teach about DNA. Students would learn about the structure of a DNA strand and about how  the four chemicals (Guanine, Adenine, Thymine, and Cytosine) combine in long complex structures to create the blueprints for what the cell makes.

NOTE: The DNA in the photos twists towards the left. As explained to me DNA actually spirals to the right. This is just a matter of which way you make your folds. Thanks to yardleydobon for pointing this out.
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Step 1: Mark it down the middle

Picture of Mark it down the middle
Mark the paper down the middle. On a standard sheet of paper that's 4 1/4".

Step 2: Marking out the Sugar- Phosphate backbone.

Picture of Marking out the Sugar- Phosphate backbone.
Make one line 3/8" from each edge and do the same on either side of the middle line. This creates the Sugar Phosphate Backbone of the DNA.

Step 3: Marking out each Nitrogenus Base

Picture of Marking out each Nitrogenus Base
Now, use your ruler to make a line every inch down the line. make sure these are even or it won't turn out right.

Then make a line across each rectangle you just made. The lines on each side should point inward like a "V". As you can see, I accidentally did this wrong in the picture.

If you want to color it, this is the step to do it. Just split each rectangle in half and color each according to the Nitrogenus base.

Remember: Adenine -> Thymine and Guanine->Cytosine

To color the back bone, split each section on the sides and middle across the middle and alternate black and white.

Step 4: Fold it in Half

Picture of Fold it in Half
Pretty straightforward.
seamster3 years ago
This is really neat! It would be even better if you included a PDF of the pattern already laid out. Just draw it out, scan it directly as a PDF, and include it in one of the steps.

(I include PDF patterns with some of my instructables, and people really respond well to it. Just a thought!)
General Eggs (author)  seamster3 years ago
The PDFs are easy to find on the internet. I was just trying to do it without a template because so many people make tutorials about using a template.
Ah, I see. Very good!
Any links for the PDF's? i cant find any D:
General Eggs (author)  or_ford982 years ago
ah, thank you general
DNA is right-handed. Your paper helix is left-handed.
I happen to know that General Eggs is left handed. This could have contributed to this. Still it's a cool project!
General Eggs (author)  yardleydobon3 years ago
oops... the way it twists really just depends on the way you make your folds, but thanks for pointing that out!
Xenobia3 years ago
I love this! Very clear instructions, thank you.
foobear3 years ago
Nifty. I wish there was a video demo too though because I'm so dumb, I don't get it. Thank you!
Aw, ChrysN said awesome already - OK AMAZING, my mind is turning right now with a thought.... click, click, click
ChrysN3 years ago
Cool, that looks awesome!