How to Build a Geodesic Dome





Introduction: How to Build a Geodesic Dome

How to build a geodesic dome out of newspaper.

Step 1: Materials and Getting Started.

To make this, you're going to need a couple things.

-Newspaper, and lots of it (could be substituted for toothpicks for a smaller version)
-Staplers and extra staples (marshmellows for a smaller version)

Step 2: Getting Started

So we're going to take 3 pieces of newspaper stacked on top (make sure it's the bigger type of page, with the fold on the middle,) start at one corner and roll it to the far corner, forming a tube. Be sure to read the funnies once you get to them.

Step 3: Roll More Tubes

We're going to need 25 tubes. So git' rollin'.
I didn't have a picture of all the tubes piled up because I figured "Who wants to look at a bunch of tubes?"

So here's a badger from the tubes.

Step 4: Making Individual Tubes Into a Series.

Now we need to make the frame that will eventually become the awesome structure that is our dome.

Make a triangle.
Make an inverted triangle (with the point at the opposite side of the first)
Continue until you have 5 "upright" triangles and 5 "upside down" triangles (all connected, see image)
attach 1 tube to the end of the "ladder"

Now the tricky part, fold the "ladder" up so that the ends of the chain meet and staple (This is easiest with 2 people)

You should have 5 tubes left after this step.

Step 5: Finish It Up!

Now staple one tube to each of the tops of the "upright triangles" and staple in the center (looks like a 5 pointed star)

You're done!



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    42 Discussions

    Did this Saturday afternoon, skeptical that it would really work and dang it, it worked great. Substituted duct tape for staples. Thanks!

    Covered with a sheet and my boy slept in in for two days (in his bedroom).

    Its starting to sag a bit now so going to try recreating it with lengths of 1/8" dowels and styrofoam balls for the joints.


    very lovely this papermade one.
    I was living for short terms in a same sized dome, a friend of mine was traveling around with........, but of course not made by pappmachché. This friend was staying long at every place.

    Now, i am planing to spend the summer up to sweden and maybe even finland. i want to see much and move often, so i thought about living in such one with a sticklength of about 2,5 m, which is big enough for 2 or 3 person.

    To shorten the building-time, i thought about getting fittings for the connections between the sticks. But i am not sure about the angels.............,

    The bottom pieces with 4 sticks would be 108 degrees for the bottom surface frame. The pentagon on top is split in five triangles, which makes 360:5=72 degrees. Missing is only the downward angle for the 5 sticks in the roof pentagon, which repeats in all the surrounding wall pentagons.

    I hope you understand what i mean.

    I'll do the calculation, when i have the tools, maybe one of you already did
    it and can tell, that i can compare with my result.

    Further, maybe some of you have experience or are interested in getting the same. If so, please let me know here, after we can get in touch. I thought of having them done in wood, but maybe plastic also could be possible if there is a larger order.



    Thanks! This is just what I was looking for. You see, I have a geodesic dome project. You saved me lot of time.

    this is great, but I'd like to build one that can hold up to 3 3-5 yr old boys climbing and hanging all over it--pretty sure the newspaper won't cut it. but the design is great. Any ideas for material substitutes that don't require welding?

    1 reply

    my school is planning on building a 20' dia one to use as a greenhouse. if it gets done this year ill post pics on how it turns out.

    for all you building this, why don't you make a pentagon first, lay it on the floor, then add triangle to each strut, then connect the triangles and build the top

    1 reply

    That sounds feasible, It sounds like it should work. This is the way I learned to do it, so that's how I wrote it, but If I build it that way, I'll take pictures and add them and instructions, if it's ok with you.

    as long as you keep them all the same they can be as long or short as you like, this is because they are all based on the same shape. if you need to know the exact lengths simply roll one and measure it hope this helped

    ya thnx, but know I keep getting a hexagon and a pentagon, how do I get two pentagons, How many triangles do I use for the bottom part

    I had to do this for mathcounts last year. It was great, so we displayed it in the lunchroom, but the little kids played in it and it got destroyed. :( Good job on it.

    I rated this best ever because the concept of geodesic domes is important to our future, and this one can be made in stealth mode, by small children, with mostly throwaway items around the house, and it explains without a single mention of frequency and geometry, which so many dome builders begin with. And the cartoons. I have a game we play making bucky balls (domes out of 5 sided pieces, pentagons instead of triangles) out of straws and paper clips - all in the dark. No lights, just feel. Make all the pentagons fully sided, then put together and lose the extra straws. Then turn on the lights ands see what you made.

    3 replies

    Ah... the Buckminster Fullerene (obviously I have no life). I remember doing a report on nanotechnology and wrote about them in it. I think it is cool how they are arranged exactly like a soccer ball (best sport ever, by the way).

    The SEED project here has a paper bucky ball template, and what's neat if you build it, and spin it aloft, I found it has AMAZING (to me, also no life obviousyl) aerodynamic qualities.

    Paper Buckyball

    I think this is where RUTAN got his idea for his "deltoid pumpkin seed" airplane design.

    PS I just found solar roof tiles for a real off the grid version...

    Why Thank you! I'm glad you enjoy it, and now I want to try and make one with a different shape for each of the "panels"... but that's for another day.

    Oops I left out the hexagon making part of the Bucky ball.