Create Pattern Art With Duct Tape

Patterns are everywhere you look. In this project, your child will use duct tape to create colorful, bold patterns.
Jun 08, 2018



Create Pattern Art With Duct Tape

Jun 08, 2018

From nature to multiplication tables, patterns can be found just about everywhere. Engineering duct tape designs is a great way to get kids acquainted with the concept. 

Get the synapses firing on both sides of your young learner’s mind with this STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) project that encourages them to create bold, colorful patterns using duct tape and their imagination.

You’ll Need

  • Duct tape (Choose two or more colors. Duct tape with designs works well too.)
  • Key chain loops or jewelry hardware (optional)

Safety Tips and Hints 

Young children may need assistance tearing or cutting the tape into squares. 

What to Do
Step 1: Begin by showing your child how to fold the tape. Tear off a square of duct tape. Fold two adjacent corners to the middle to create a triangle (see photo.)

Step 2: Smooth the tape down.

Step 3: Create another tape triangle (a different color) and tape it to the first one. 
Step 4: Give your child a square of duct tape and let him try. Remind him that it doesn’t have to be perfect and let him start his own pattern. 
Step 5: Suggest that your child begin by alternating two colors to create a simple pattern. Let her connect several pieces of tape to make a bookmark. 
Step 6: Ask your child to create repeating patterns using three colors. Encourage your young artist to imagine what else he could make using duct tape patterns. 
Step 7: When the patterns are completed, trim the sides and let your tape engineer create bookmarks, keychains, earrings with sticky tape strips to hold them on, or anything else she can think up.

Step 8: Put on your scientist hats and go outside to look for patterns in nature. Remember, you can find patterns in shape and texture, as well as color. 

The STEAM Behind the Fun

Patterns are repeated forms that can be found in nature and in objects we engineer ourselves. We incorporate them into everything from music to architecture. Sometimes we create them, and other times they happen unintentionally.    

Patterns are found in math too. For example, sequences are strings of numbers that follow a pattern. You’ll see them in multiplication tables too.

Ada Lovelace was the first mathematician to see the enormous potential of computers and hypothesize that they might be used one day for applications other than mathematics. Some people thing that the inspiration for this idea came from her familiarity with art, and weaving in particular. In 1843, she said, “The Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”

To create camouflage, artists and designers either create mimicking patterns like leaves, allowing objects to blend in to a particular background, or they create disruptive patterns where regular patterns have been destroyed and regular edges are broken up.  

This project and more like it are featured in Liz’s new book STEAM Lab for Kids:52 Creative Hands-On Projects Using Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (Quarry Books, spring 2018).

© Quarry Books, 2018/STEAM Lab for Kids:52 Creative Hands-On Projects Using Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math
Featured Photos Credit: © Quarry Books

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