Buckyball Instructions

Now we are ready to weave our model of the buckyball using paper strips. The African weaving technique can create the folds you will need.

Folding Method

Mathematician Paulus Gerdes developed this method for folding what he calls "hexastrips" based on his studies of African basketweaving. You start with the wrap-around we saw before (a). Then you fold one end down (b). You repeat that along the entire strip until it has alternating rhombi down its length (c).

Note: It's faster to just use our printed form. If your teacher did not already provide the strips.

Print out this form (ideally using a color printer)

Print out these instructions (only if you need a hardcopy)

Now cut out your 6 strips.

Video Instructions

Printed Instructions

After folding your strips, you will notice each fold makes a trapezoid, with a long side and a short side alternating up and down.


The weaving will make hexagons when 3 strips come together:

  1. The short side of the trapezoid is always on the outside of the hexagon.
  2. The folds always lay over other folds in the same orientation. So if it doesn't seem to fit, try flipping the strip in the other direction.
  3. The strips intersect so that they collide against each other. If one strip slides between the other two, you don't have it right.
hex from rhombus

Tape over intersections after each step. Always place folds onto folds in the same direction. Note that each strip color is also a letter: red=A, Orange=B, Yellow=C, Green=D, Blue=E

1. Place 7B over 6A

2. Place 5C under 5A and over 6B

3. Place 5D over 7B and under 6A

4. Place 3C over 7D

5. Place 3D over 7C

6. Place 3B over 9D

7. Connect the ends of 10C and 1C

8. Place 1B over 10C, and attach the ends of 10B and 1B

9. Place 10A under 10C and over 1B; connect the ends of 10A and 1A

10. Place 10D over 1A, and connect the ends of 10D and 1D

11. Place 9E over 3C and under 7D

12. Now weave E into the pattern: 8E under 5B; 6E goes under 3A; 5E goes over 1D; 4E goes under 8C; 3E goes over 10B; 1E goes over 8A; attach the ends of 1E and 10E.

13. Now weave F in and out: place 10F over 2C and under 8D; then go over 4B and under 7E; over 3A and under 6C; over 4D and under 9B; over 2E and under 8A.