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How to Make an Egyptian Pyramid

Updated on April 30, 2017

Make a Mini Pyramid Using a Printable Egyptian Pyramid Template

I used Photoshop to convert a photo of a real ancient Egyptian wall into a repeating texture. (Okay, the wall was built in Roman times, but with the same kind of stone.)
I used Photoshop to convert a photo of a real ancient Egyptian wall into a repeating texture. (Okay, the wall was built in Roman times, but with the same kind of stone.) | Source

A Fun School Project: Build a Paper Pyramid

I notice that many students come to my tetrahedral kite-building tutorial in search of how to make a pyramid out of straws and paper, so here are patterns for making a model Egyptian pyramid for school!

In this article, you'll find three things:

  • The first pyramid pattern creates a great-looking but small (3.8" tall) Egyptian pyramid out of paper. This one is easy: just print out the pattern and tape it together!
  • The second pyramid tutorial is based on my tetrahedral kite design. It makes a larger pyramid out of straws which can be covered with paper. By changing the length or number of straws, you can experiment with pyramid geometry.
  • After the tutorials, I've included links to other people's paper craft tutorials as well as links to several great webpages on pyramids in Egypt and elsewhere in the world.

Step 1: Print Template

Download my paper pyramid pattern and print it out four times.

Note: tell your computer only to print the first page of the template: 4 copies, but only page 1. Sometimes, depending on the printer, a tiny strip flows onto page two, but it's not needed.

Step 2: Cut

Cut out the template (cut away all the plain white paper). Don't worry if the edges aren't perfect; just don't cut off any points of the triangle.

Cut the other three faces of the pyramid in exactly the same way.

Step 3: Fold

Carefully fold the bottom square and side flaps back, using the dark lines of the triangle as a guide. Accurate folds are the key to making the pyramid look great. Once you've got a fold in the right spot, gently run a fingernail along it on a flat surface to make it sharp.

Next, fold the other three faces of the pyramid in exactly the same way.

Step 4: Join

Use two small pieces of clear tape to join two faces of the pyramid along one edge. The easiest method is to lay the two triangles back-to-back with the side flaps sandwiched between them, then fold the tape over the outside edge that's formed.

Now, on the inside, tape the two flaps together. (Or you could glue them together, in which case you don't need the tape on the outside!)

Fasten together all four sides. Each time you add a new triangle/face, you can fold it back-to-back with the one next to it to help get them lined up.

Joining the last two is a little tricky. Pinch the inside flaps together when taping the outside edge.

Step 5: Finish

Fold the bottom squares under so that each covers the one beneath. Only tape the last (outermost) one to the one beneath it. (I found that if I taped all of them, the additional glue warped the pyramid's shape.)

And you're done!

How to Make a Larger Pyramid with Straws and Paper

My original Pyramid Kite Design makes a tetrahedron, a pyramid with exactly four faces, each of them a triangle. It's not quite an Egyptian pyramid shape, but it's easy to turn it into a proper Egyptian pyramid—just add one more straw to the bottom! Add more straws and you can make a larger pyramid than the paper model I gave you above.

Preparation for Larger Straw Pyramid

What you will need:

  • Eight drinking straws. If the store only has bendy straws, snip them just below the bendy joint.
  • White string (like kite string) or heavy carpet thread.
  • A heavy needle with a big eye, or make yourself a custom needle by folding over the end of a twist tie and shaving the paper sides to make it skinny! This needle will need to drop through the straws. If it gets stuck, you can push it through with a chopstick.
  • Tape or craft glue.

Optional preparation:

My instructions work as long as the four bottom straws are all the same length, and the four top straws are all the same length. But what if you want to match the angle of a typical Egyptian pyramid? What if you want a project that involves more math?

In that case, try this online pyramid calculator that I used to create the paper model above. Measure one of the straws you'll be using for the bottom. It can be in centimeters or inches! This is your BASE EDGE. Then pick the ANGLE for your pyramid. (The Great Pyramid of Khufu has a slope, or face-to-base (f/b) angle, of 51.85399 degrees, for your information. Here's a dense article with a chart of the angles of several Egyptian pyramids.) Once you've chosen the base edge and the f/b angle, click "calculate" on the online pyramid calculator. The SLANT EDGE will be the length you need to cut the other four straws, the ones that rise up and meet at the top.

If you're working on a school geometry project, try trimming the bottom four straws to a different length from the top four straws, and see how that changes the steepness of the pyramid. Or use different numbers of straws to make different kinds of pyramids.

Materials for Paper Pyramid Using Straws...

Instructions to Make This Pyramid

  1. Thread strings through four plastic drinking straws.
  2. Place the straws in a square. This will be the bottom of your pyramid.
  3. Tie the strings' ends together securely, leaving as little slack as possible. Don't cut off the string yet, though, since you'll still use it to tie on additional straws.
  4. Now here's the interesting part. Grab the remaining four straws. You're going to decide how tall and skinny, or short and wide, your pyramid is. If you use the drinking straws as they are, your pyramid will be steeper and skinnier than an Egyptian pyramid. So, cut these four straws a bit to make the pyramid shorter and more pyramid-shaped. It will work as long as these four straws are all exactly the same length. (Use the optional pyramid calculator above if you want to match a real Egyptian pyramid.)
  5. Once you've picked your length, tie two straws to two adjacent corners of the square, one per corner, then tie the tops of those straws together to form a triangle. Take the other two straws and make a triangle on the opposite side, giving the square "ears."
  6. Lift the top points of the triangles up and tie them together.
  7. Take one of my stone wall textures (below), print out several sheets, and wrap the pyramid in it. Or use construction paper and decorate it yourself!
  8. You can make a pyramid of any size by making more pyramids (repeating steps 1-5), stacking them, and covering the whole structure with paper, as long as you cut all the straws used in step 3 to the same length. To make a double-size version of my design, create four more pyramids, then tie the peaks of the bottom ones to the bottom corners of the top one. Don't paper until you've got them all done.

Stone Wall Texture

Adapted from Ian Scott's image. Print it out to make wrapping paper for your pyramid.
Adapted from Ian Scott's image. Print it out to make wrapping paper for your pyramid. | Source

Pyramid Building Blocks for Children

HABA Pyramid Wooden Architectural Building Blocks 67 Piece Set - Build Chambers for the Sarcophagus
HABA Pyramid Wooden Architectural Building Blocks 67 Piece Set - Build Chambers for the Sarcophagus

Forget castles. If you've got a youngster who's gung-ho on ancient Egypt, here's another good way to encourage their pyramid-building skills!

 

Guestbook—Thanks For Stopping By!

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  • profile image

    vidhu 16 months ago

    nice job

    you made it look simple easy and attractive

  • profile image

    Jsjdu 16 months ago

    I hate your lens it is boring

  • profile image

    nick 19 months ago

    thanks.

  • Virginia Allain profile image

    Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

    Wow, this tutorial is marvelous! If I ever need to make a pyramid, I know where to come.

  • james25882 profile image

    james25882 3 years ago

    Wow, what a cool Lens so easy to use and understand.. Thanks!!

  • darkflowers profile image

    Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

    Thank you so much for this, I love the old Egypt and am definitely going to make the paper pyramid later today, it's easy to understand how to do it and I love that!

  • JennyRowling profile image

    Jenny Rowling 4 years ago from London, UK

    These are toys for kids, but I'll probably make them myself. I love Ancient Egypt :)

  • hovirag profile image

    hovirag 4 years ago

    I want to build a pyramid - so this comes in handy :)

  • takkhisa profile image

    Takkhis 4 years ago

    Thanks for the instructions! Now i can try it at least.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    This pyramid looks amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    Thanks for your help. It really helped my second grade class .

  • profile image

    jaclyn-suri 4 years ago

    Looking to build a really great Egyption Pyramid. So many choices... Don't know what to choose

  • ConspiracyTheor profile image

    ConspiracyTheor 4 years ago

    I know what my son and I have planned for later - fingers crossed that it goes well! Great lens :)

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    Very interesting lens, I never try something like this

  • profile image

    wendyfinn 4 years ago

    @mythphile: Did it this afternoon - fab! She has dyspraxia so needed a small amount of help but the whole thing was pleasantly easy to complete. Thanks again!

  • mythphile profile image
    Author

    Ellen Brundige 4 years ago from California

    @wendyfinn: Oh, great! I hope it came out!

  • profile image

    wendyfinn 4 years ago

    This is fab. I'm going to try it with my 6 year old this weekend as they are currently studying ancient Egypt in her class this term. Thank you!

  • Linda BookLady profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    I've never thought of making a paper pyramid. My boyfriend has a couple made from copper tubing, and I've got two made from orgone for the desk in my office.

  • maryLuu profile image

    maryLuu 5 years ago

    Very interesting lens. I will try to do the pyramid for my son.

  • profile image

    ApproachableLife 5 years ago

    My 2nd grader is just about to start studying Old Testament & Ancient Egypt. This is the perfect homeschool project for us to use. Thank you!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Here's a little trick after making the pyramid. You will need a needle and thread. Thread the needle and poke the needle on the tip of the pyramid and hang it up somewhere. now watch the pyramid turn counterclockwise! It will always turn CCWS!

  • Gypzeerose profile image

    Rose Jones 5 years ago

    Really nice, I might actually sit down and do this. Pinned to my board Arts and Crafts I love so it can wait for me.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Truly artistic.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Happy April Fool's Day

  • mythphile profile image
    Author

    Ellen Brundige 5 years ago from California

    @anonymous: Oh, fantastic! Sounds like a cool crafts project.

  • Blackspaniel1 profile image

    Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

    Nice idea for a craft.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Thank You for sharing this cut out kit, I will be able to make a mold out of this size. And eventually I will create a pyramid out of resin with crystals. Thank You

  • profile image

    00saurabhjha11 5 years ago

    Very nice lens Quite interesting and creative ... Thanks for sharing!!

  • profile image

    etravelvn 5 years ago

    Nice tricks. Thanks for sharing.

  • LotusLandry profile image

    LotusLandry 5 years ago from Southern California

    Thanks for providing the download and the photoshop textures!

  • FlynntheCat1 profile image

    FlynntheCat1 5 years ago

    I have a sudden urge to make a dozen pyramids and leave them all around the house. And then hide and watch my flatmates finding them.

  • AlisonMeacham profile image

    AlisonMeacham 5 years ago

    I am always looking for new school projects so we are going to tackle this one today. Thank you and Squid Angel Blessings for an excellent how to lens.

  • profile image

    julieannbrady 5 years ago

    Pretty cool my dear ... I love geometric objects ... say, may I tell you honestly that as I read through your excellent instructions, I had something playing in my head ... "walk like an Egyptian ..." so I do believe you have connected excellently with your reader, on all levels. Bravo!

  • tvyps profile image

    Teri Villars 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

    So many lenses, so little time..ha! You are quite the busy girl. I jumped on this one, hoping to learn how to make a real pyramid. I thought about using sugar cubes but my dog ate my inventory...alas....I don't think the Egyptians had that problem, cats don't seem to like sugar.

  • darciefrench lm profile image

    darciefrench lm 6 years ago

    Very cool - my hubby says he used to live in the Egyptian age and helped build the pyramids. He says belatedly that he's 'still pushing rocks uphill' ;)

  • profile image

    IainWhite 6 years ago

    I like this

  • gregoryolney lm profile image

    gregoryolney lm 6 years ago

    Sounds like fun !

  • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

    JoyfulPamela2 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

    Love it, can't wait to try it! :)

  • profile image

    barts2011 6 years ago

    wow, I love Egypt

  • sysuns profile image

    sysuns 6 years ago

    fun....=)

  • DuaneJ profile image

    DuaneJ 6 years ago

    I must say..you are very creative!!

  • profile image

    pawpaw911 6 years ago

    Neat lens. Interesting.

  • profile image

    Geniusabi 6 years ago

    nice origami lens. Keep the good work up.

  • AsianMarketplace profile image

    AsianMarketplace 6 years ago

    Pyramid is always an intriguing piece of art work. Thanks for the lens

  • phoenix arizona f profile image

    phoenix arizona f 6 years ago

    Cool lens.

  • Chris-H LM profile image

    Chris-H LM 6 years ago

    What a fantastic lens! I love that you even include the seamless stone texture. Really nicely done. I'm going to do this project with my little one :)

    Thank you!

  • tharshan lm profile image

    tharshan lm 6 years ago

    thank for the nice guide

  • Craftyville profile image

    Craftyville 6 years ago

    I love your paper pyramid, its amazing! Thank you for sharing.