Thursday, May 30, 2013

DIY: Tangram Magnets

I loved tangrams as a child; sometimes I’d played with them by myself while other times I played against an opponent. It’s one of those fun yet educational games (that parents like to give their children) as it helps players think and learn about spatial relations.

I thought I’d create Tangram Magnets that you could place on the refrigerator (and play whenever you wanted).

  • Chipboard
  • Colored paper
  • Magnet sheet
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • X-acto knife (optional)
  • Self-healing mat (optional)

— 1 —
Cut out a square from the chipboard. (Mine is a 4x4 inch square.)

— 2 —
With the pencil and ruler, create the cutting lines on the chipboard square.

— 3 —
Cut along the cutting lines to create the shapes.

I used a ruler and x-acto knife (with my self-healing cutting mat) because it creates straighter edges for me than using scissors. But use scissors if you prefer.

— 4 —
Glue colored paper to the tops of the shapes.

Longer Way: Use each chipboard shape as a template; on the back of the colored paper, draw around the shape with a pencil. All the shapes look the same from the front and back except the parallelogram.

If you don’t mind that you won’t be able to make as many shape combinations, then you can create just one parallelogram. Otherwise, you can trace the parallelogram twice on the colored paper, once tracing on one side and once tracing on the other side of the chipboard shape (as well as cutting out a second parallelogram chipboard piece). This way you should have two parallelograms, with one leaning towards the left and one leaning towards the right.

Cut out each of the shapes from the colored paper and glue them to their corresponding chipboard shape. Let glue dry.

This way is particularly good if you want each shape to use different colored paper.

Shorter Way: Right after Step 2, glue the colored paper sheet (with the same dimensions as the chipboard square) to the lineless side of the chipboard square. Let the glue dry. Cut along the cutting lines to create the shapes.

When I created my Tangram Magnets, I used the Shorter Way. After I finished, I realized that I couldn’t create as many shape combinations because I was unable to flip my parallelogram to the other side. So I created a second parallelogram that was facing the other side and covered it with blue paper.

Note: I selected a striped piece of origami paper because I thought it would look interesting when the pieces were all mixed together and the lines went in different directions.

Consider using scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper or scraps of paper to cover the tangram pieces. Also consider making each shape a different color or all different shades of the same color. And if you don’t feel like using glue, consider using contact paper to cover the pieces.

— 5 —
Cut out a square from the magnet sheet with the same dimensions as the original chipboard square from Step 1 (so mine is a 4x4 inch square).

— 6 —
With the pencil and ruler, create the cutting lines on magnet sheet.

Make sure that you do this on the correct side of the magnet. Look to the parallelogram and make sure that the correct sides will be facing each other when the chipboard piece and magnet piece are adhered together.

— 7 —
Cut along those lines with scissors to create the magnet pieces.

— 8 —
Adhere each magnet piece to the back of its corresponding shape (mine has a sticker back to adhere it. If the magnet sticker doesn’t adhere as strongly to the chipboard piece as you would like, use some glue to help it adhere more strongly). If there’s any magnet section that shows along the edges, use scissors to trim any excess. Tangram Magnets complete. Adhere Tangram Magnets to the refrigerator and create shapes.

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