Posted by: Wayne | August 27, 2010


Sorry for the lack of boat posts.  It has been a very busy couple of weeks at the office, and I haven’t had much energy left after I get home.  This evening I took a leftover piece of hardboard and made a tangram puzzle for the kids.  Patrick has been having a lot of fun with a couple smaller tangrams, and some of the pieces had gotten misplaced.  It is fairly simple to lay out.  The trick is doing the cuts in the right order.

The basic layout for a tangram. I used 12 inches for x.

You are not supposed to cut all the way through all of these lines.  Start by cutting off the medium-sized triangle in the upper right corner (x/2 to a short side).  Then cut the line from the bottom left corner to the center of the remaining edge.  Then cut each of the big triangles in the left and lower quadrants (these triangles should have a long side length of x).  Cut the upper off-cut to yield a small triangle (x/2 to a long side) and a square.  Finally, cut the lower right off-cut to give another small triangle (also x/2 to a long side) and a parallelogram (x/2 to a longer side).

If you did everything correctly, you should be able to assemble your chunks of wood to make things like this.

One of many permutations of a tangram.

That’s all for now, folks.



  1. I read through some of Martin Gardner’s books of mathematical games and puzzles this summer. Highly recommended. He’s probably written more than one article on tangrams and has written about other collections of constructive shapes, like polyominoes, flexagons (though that’s more about folding than building), and some whose names I’ve forgotten.

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