Introduction: What Would Escher Do?

Picture of What Would Escher Do?

I love XKCD, and one particular cartoon has been preying on my mind for quite some time.

I decided to make it real.

(If you haven't realised by now, I'm making a real version of XKCD strip #88, "What Would Escher Do?".)

Step 1: The Needings

Picture of The Needings

You will need...
  • A silicon wristband.
  • A very sharp knife
  • Gorilla Glue*
  • Clear adhesive tape
You may also need something to decorate the band, but I'll leave that to your own imaginings.

*Before using Gorilla Glue, I tried this with super glue (failed) and welding with the heat of a soldering iron (failed).  If you find another method for sticking silicon bands together, please leave a comment about it.

Step 2: The Cutting

Picture of The Cutting

Cut across the wristband.  If your blade cannot be pressed straight down, use a metal ruler to ensure as straight a cut as possible.

(If you're going to decorate your band, now is the time to do it, because you can lay it flat.)

Turn one cut end through 180°, and tape the two cut ends back together, on only one side.

Step 3: The Gluings

Picture of The Gluings

Using the tape as a hinge, open the cut you just made, exposing the two cut surfaces.

If you're using Gorilla Glue*, use a twist of paper towel to lightly dampen one face, and another twist to apply a light smear of glue to the other.

Close up the joint, and use another piece of tape to close it tightly.

Leave the band taped up for at least two hours before checking the strength of the joint.

(*If you're using a different glue, such as a cyanoacrylate "crazy" or "super" glue, make sure you follow their instructions...)

Step 4: The Meanings

Picture of The Meanings

What you have made, of course, is a Möbius band.  Escher didn't invent it, but he used it a lot in his work.

This novel structure has only one surface, and one edge.  It can thus be seen as even "more endless" than a simple circle.  Eternal and unending.

I made this one from a plain band, with no logo or legend, but you could use a band for your favoured charity or saying.  It is even possible to get custom-made bands that say whatever you want them to.

Whatever kind of band you use, turning it into a Möbius band adds that extra layer of meaning to it.


Lord SneezyC (author)2016-04-03

Shoe Goo is a bit thick, but it's flexible when dry. It works on most surfaces.

TheCommander (author)2014-07-04

also perhaps the glue used for model airplanes would work it srrms to excel at plastic adhesion

Kiteman (author)TheCommander2014-07-05

No, that glue works by dissolving the pladtic slightly. Silicon rubber won't dissolve.

TheCommander (author)Kiteman2014-07-07

or will it?

TheCommander (author)2014-07-04

this made me laugh so hard well done!!!!

Kiteman (author)TheCommander2014-07-05

Thank you!

the_boss_builder (author)2013-07-16

If in theory a mobius strip has only one side, then a three dimensional version should truly be identified as a triangle. It may take a while to understand if you are not highly interested in geometry and physics. If you don't understand at all it may help to know that if you put your fingers on the "two" main sides, you are really just touching one side in two spots. Your mind has just been blown, you can in theory say you are touching a tangible triangle!

Kiteman (author)the_boss_builder2013-07-16

No, because a band like this starts with four faces; in, out and two edges.

So, if you're going to be pedantic, this becomes a three-dimensional object with two faces, joined at a single edge at 90 degrees.

the_boss_builder (author)Kiteman2013-07-16

Right, I guess I may have used improper terminology in calling it a triangle. However it is a three dimensional shape with only three sides, so in other word I do not know what to call it. I would also like to point out as I did before that if you touch the two sides you are touching two points of the same plane only from different angles. I could also have been wrong, but the way I see it in brain is hard to put into words.

knexpert1700 (author)2012-08-07

This is called a 'Mobius Strip' discovered by two scieniss that I forgot the name of somewhere in the 1800's ( I think it was 1864 but I'm not sure :P ).

This is called a 'Mobius Strip' discovered by two scientist that I forgot the name of somewhere in the 1800's ( I think it was 1864 but I'm not sure :P ).

Kiteman (author)knexpert17002012-08-07

(See the link in step 4...?)

knexpert1700 (author)Kiteman2012-08-07

oh, I just read step 1 and 2 before (was busy studying on how to code HTMLs).

ultimut cat (author)2012-06-19

i love that comic to :D

KCTris95 (author)2012-04-29

This is so cute! And so simple too!! I definitely want to make one!

Kiteman (author)KCTris952012-04-29

Thank you!

The Science Guy (author)2012-04-17

So simple yet so awesome!

Kiteman (author)The Science Guy2012-04-17

Thank you.

ac-dc (author)2012-03-08

Am I really reading an instructable about cutting a rubber band and taping and gluing it back together?

I can't put my finger on it but something is terribly wrong with the world.

Kuhne (author)ac-dc2012-03-10

+1 to this post

-A-N-D-Y- (author)ac-dc2012-03-08

[looks for the thumbs up button for this comment ;) but not even a like button]

Kiteman (author)ac-dc2012-03-08

Hey, just because you didn't think of it first...

(Can't really argue with nearly 4000 views and over 200 referrals...)

troud (author)2012-03-08

Nice application of mobius.

Kiteman (author)troud2012-03-09

Thank you.

julietecho (author)2012-03-08

Now that you have your mobius strip or band, slit the strip along its length. Then slit the band along its length again. The results are quite surprising.

yellowcatt (author)2012-03-08

I saw your Kiteman shop. Looks very good but errr... shouldn't you have some kites for sale there?

Kiteman (author)yellowcatt2012-03-08

Haha, Cafepress don't sell kites - maybe I'll get around to creating some kite images one day...

BrefelanDesigns (author)2012-03-04

It's not nice to spam....

Kiteman (author)BrefelanDesigns2012-03-05

Thank you.

BrefelanDesigns (author)Kiteman2012-03-05

Not a problem, I dislike spammers... Though I have one question if someone posts a how-to on building a commercially available kit, is that considered spam, or is it only if the company is posting the 'ibles? I am wondering cause I have seen more of those types pop up, especially in the technology section.

Kiteman (author)BrefelanDesigns2012-03-05

It's only spam if the project originates from the manufacturer or retailer.

The projects I've seen have included improved or alternative instructions, or have taken the kit to another level, say by adding electronics to a basic plastic model.

BrefelanDesigns (author)Kiteman2012-03-05

I have two examples to further define my question...
This one the instructable user runs a website(s) selling these kits and wrote an 'ible on how to construct one of them.... Though everything is open-source.....
This one seems to be a commercial site that posted a 'ible
The 'ible seems (to me) to be more of a "product specs and how to use" than an actual "how to" Also the code isn't open-source... only a snipit of the code is shown...

Kiteman (author)BrefelanDesigns2012-03-06


As you say, all open-source. You could easily reproduce the project yourself, without buying the kit. Plus, the link to the site was clear, honest, and only appeared once.


Again, open source, potentially reproducible without paying the author, and again the link was clear and open (though the ible itself was quite poorly written - I would have liked to see much more detailed assembly instructions, with the full code attached in a file I could download - as it stands, I think that author has cost himself some business through poor presentation).

Neither author hid the commercial aspect of the projects, neither rubbed it in our faces. If they had simply posted images of the finished item, and linked back to their site to find the instructions, buy the kit etc, then I would have flagged them in a blink.

BrefelanDesigns (author)Kiteman2012-03-06

Ok, thanks for the clarification!

hurten (author)2012-03-06

I love Escher and your idea. The only thing I would suggest as a Escher "twist" on the Mobius band would be to put "WW" on one end (side A of your cut band) and "ED" on the other end (side B of your cut band). This would put "WW" and "ED" on either side of the twist in your band. I look forward to making and proudly wearing my own "WWED" band; thank you for this instructable.

rimar2000 (author)2012-03-04

I always wondered what it means XKCD

Kiteman (author)rimar20002012-03-04

rimar2000 (author)Kiteman2012-03-05


wilgubeast (author)rimar20002012-03-05

Y somebody translates them a español:

rimar2000 (author)wilgubeast2012-03-06

Some instructables merecen ser translated to español, too!

rocketsurgery (author)2012-03-05

Hey thanks for sharing, Kiteman! The Möbius strip has always fascinated me and I really love your take on how it can be used to accentuate or elevate the wristband message.

I love XKCD too!

Thanks again!

PS As a scientist and teacher, I thought you may enjoy a little Nick Kim - fellow Scientist and Sceptic (  Cartoons from his site are free to use for personal, non-profit, research, and educational purposes.  Science related are ordered here - a selection of his 'best' (to give you some idea of his humour), here.

Kiteman (author)rocketsurgery2012-03-06

Oh, Nearing Zero!

Yes, I love that, but I hadn't looked at the site for ages, thanks for reminding me of it!

BrefelanDesigns (author)2012-03-05

Hey Kiteman! I also just discovered another profile that is a spammer (or spam-bot)
It seems to me to be the same person (thing?)
The 'ible I found the spam on:
(I really am starting to get annoyed at spammers!)

vulcan24 (author)2012-03-05

XKCD is great ;P I thought the name came form there being no other available domain names

cammers (author)2012-03-04

I like it.

Kiteman (author)cammers2012-03-05

Thank you.

Jayefuu (author)2012-03-04


Kiteman (author)Jayefuu2012-03-05


canucksgirl (author)2012-03-04

Its great how something so simple can spark abstract thinking.
Thanks for sharing! ;)

Kiteman (author)canucksgirl2012-03-04

You're welcome. Little projects are fun.

About This Instructable




Bio: The answer is "lasers", now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr & Twitter: @KitemanX
More by Kiteman:Fallen Astronaut 2Custom laser cut metal business cardsDashboard Phone Stand
Add instructable to: