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Math Art: Mobius Strips

Art and Science: Mobius Strips •

Art and Science: Mobius Strips •


I wish math art was a big part of my math education when I was a kid. It’s not that I was bad at math. On the contrary, I did quite well in math, but that’s just because I was good at remembering the rules. Being able to physically make some math would have rendered it far more interesting, though, and perhaps math would have lingered as something I wanted to pursue instead of leave behind as a series of boring tests.

Have you ever made a Mobius strip? It’s a simple thing to make, but it will blow your (and your kids’) minds. In case you don’t know what it is, here’s what you do: take a strip of paper. Fasten the ends together, but give the paper a little twist first.

Art and Science: Mobius Strips •


Take your finger (or use a pen), and run it along one side of the strip. Follow it all around, and you’ll find that you end up on the opposite side of the paper, without having lifted your finger (pen) up off the paper. That one little twist turns the strip into what is called a nonorientable surface.

That’s as mathy as I will get here, because this hurts my brain:

Mobius Math


As if the regular Mobius strip weren’t cool enough, grab a pair of scissors, and cut it lengthwise, all around the strip. This is what you get:

Math Art - Mobius Strips •


Is that not mind-boggling? One big loop! This loop contains 2 twists. But don’t stop there; cut this strip down the middle and get…

Math Art - Mobius strips •

…which is 2 strips, each with 2 full twists.


Don’t stop cutting! It’s still wide enough to cut!

Math Art - Mobius Strips •

Not sure what this is, but it’s fun to throw it around in the air and pretend it is a monster.


The work of M.C. Escher is always a favorite with kids because of the optical illusions he wove into his pieces. Check out his 2 works based directly on Mobius strips:


Escher Moebius Strip1 •

Moebius Strip I
wood engraving and woodcut
photo credit:

Escher Red Ants Mobius Strip •

Moebius Strip II (Red Ants)
Woodcut printed from three blocks
photo credit:


Looking for more Escher inspiration? Try these books:


What do you think?

Written by Joanne Gonzales

Joanne Gonzales has a passion for getting creative. Whether she is making personalized DIY gifts or taking part in larger arts and crafts projects, she puts her all into making new and beautiful things.

She lives with a group of close friends and believes in the natural way of life. Joanne has built an outdoor arts and crafts gallery that overlooks the countryside in her hometown, which is where all of her creations come to life.

Art started off as a hobby, but over time Joanne has mastered her skills and sold some of her favorite pieces. She works full time as a florist and has done for many years. It helps keep her creative juices flowing and she hopes to one day open her own florist shop with a twist.


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  1. I totally agree. Visual math makes math so much more intriguing and accessible. I love the YouTube videos of that genius math girl and the things she does for that very reason.

    • Oh, I’m so glad they’ll love it! I wasn’t sure if this was one of those, “Oh yeah, Jeanette. We all already know about this. What else ya got?” things. I’m glad I could blow your mind a little, too.

  2. You could take this project a step farther and have kids create an abstract relief sculpture with mobius strip pieces by gluing them to a background paper and also to each other. It helps kids understand the concept of space as an element of art.

    • I LOVE this idea- I think we may need to try it, and I know it will be a great process that ends up looking really great, too. I love when people creatively brainstorm here!

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