How to Make a Three-Sided Pyramid

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The Egyptian pyramids actually have four triangle-shaped sides, whereas a three-sided pyramid shape is called a tetrahedron.
The Egyptian pyramids actually have four triangle-shaped sides, whereas a three-sided pyramid shape is called a tetrahedron. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The proper name for a three-sided pyramid is a tetrahedron. Tetrahedrons have three showing sides formed by three triangles of equal dimensions. The base or bottom of a tetrahedron is also a triangle, whereas a real pyramid built by ancient Egyptians has a square base. Also, Egyptian pyramids have four showing triangular faces, not just three. Nevertheless, you can create three-sided pyramid models, or tetrahedrons, for school and home craft projects.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 pieces of cardboard
  • Cup of sand
  • Glue
  • Newspaper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Transparent tape

Measure and draw a triangle that is 3 inches long on all three sides on a piece of cardboard. Cut it out with a pair of scissors.

Lay the cut-out triangle in the center on another piece of cardboard. Trace the triangle outline on the second piece of cardboard with a pencil. Erase small segments of the pencil lines so that all three sides of the triangle outline consist of dotted lines.

Line one side of the cut-out cardboard triangle along one side of the dotted triangle outline. Ensure that the sides are even, so that both triangles share a common side. Trace the outline of the two non-shared sides of the cut-out cardboard triangle using a pencil.

Repeat Step 3 for the remaining two dotted sides of the center triangle. The result should look like a large triangle with four smaller triangles inside of it.

Cut out the large triangle around its outline using scissors to create the unfolded three-sided pyramid. Do not cut along any dotted lines.

Fold one triangle-shaped flap inwards towards the center triangle along the dotted line. Open it back up and repeat for the other two triangle-shaped flaps.

Fold all three triangle-shaped flaps inwards at the same time so that three tips meet in the center. Hold the tips together with your fingers. Tape each of the three corners together at the bottom using transparent tape. Tape the three tips together at the top of the three-sided pyramid with transparent tape as well.

Place the three-sided pyramid on a sheet of newspaper. Cover the three sides of the pyramid with a thin layer of glue, using the tip of the glue bottle as an applicator. Avoid getting glue on the bottom of the pyramid so that it does not stick to the newspaper. Pour sand over the three glue-covered sides of the pyramid. Shake the pyramid carefully to remove excess sand, using a toothpick to push it around. Allow the three-sided pyramid to dry for at least one hour.

Repeat step 2 through Step 8 to make additional pyramids. Make larger pyramids by increasing the length of the cardboard triangle. Ensure that all sides of the triangle are the same length.

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