I like cats, I like group projects and I like puzzles (as a social activity).
I also like to cut stuff out using my scroll saw - though cutting lots of the same item sucks and would be MUCH easier with a laser cutter (pardon me while I wipe the drool off my chin thinking about an Epilog laser cutter :-).

This instructable describes how I made a set of cat puzzle pieces as a gift for my daughter's teacher.  I made cats that interlocked, in a space filling, repeating pattern, called a tessellation.  Good examples of tessellation can be found in the works of M.C. Escher - http://www.mcescher.com/ 

My daughter and her friends decorated lots of cats, which were then given to her teacher.  We had a bunch of extra cats, which family members decorated and are pictured here.  (Too bad I forgot to take a picture of ALL the cats that were given away - this was several years ago and the teacher has since retired).

Tessellations are wonderful for group projects because each person can decorate the tiles in a unique fashion, but they can also all be combined to make a larger focal piece.  And, since all the pieces interlock, they can be assembled and reassembled in numerous variations.

Cat tessellations can also be hung together for a window/wall decoration, or, with added magnets, be fun fridge or white-board decorations.  It might be fun to make a set of cat pieces for Halloween decorations.

Step 1: Select Base Tile Shape

Tessellations are repeating tile-shapes, and can can be made using several base shapes.  Common shapes used are equilateral triangles, diamond, and squares.  The base shape must fit closely together, with NO spaces in between individual pieces... think floor tiles.

1. I used a square base shape.
2. I modified the square using the technique of TRANSLATION -  removing a part from one side of the base shape, and SLIDING over to the opposite side.  I drew cat ears on the bottom and SLID the ear shapes up to the top of the square = TRANSLATION.
3.  I wanted to have two different kinds of cats, so I drew one set of ears 'upside down' and SLID it down to the bottom of the square.  The second set of ears will become a skinny cat.

Note:  Here is where you have to decide on the goal of the project: 
1- Have recognizeable cats, no matter how they are decorated or
2 - Give the decorators more options in decoration.  You can make a tessellating piece that is very abstract and let participants draw whatever shapes they can fit on their tile.
The teacher for whom this gift was made was very fond of cats, so I wanted each piece to be recognizeable as a cat.
I've done abstract tessellation tiles for

thanks and enjoy !
Thanks for sharing! I love cats too! Have a splendorous day!<br>Sunshiine
Cool tessellations!

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More by wombatmorrison:Xylitol Crystal Candy - tooth friendly! Making 3d printed cookie cutters - Dr. Who Characters Tessellating Cats Decoration or Puzzle 
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