Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ellipse Tutorial

See that guy on the far right? He's going to do a tutorial on making an ellipse. He taught me how to make one many years ago and I feel the need to pass on the knowledge. It's almost quicker to make than it is to describe, but here goes:

You will need a board, a piece of paper, a pencil, three pushpins, and some string. You must decide how tall and how wide you want the ellipse. I made this one 12" tall x 18" long.

Draw a horizontal line 18" long and mark the center point. Then draw a perpendicular vertical line 12" long at the center point of the 18" line. Now here's the important part. Take half the length (9") and measure that same distance from the top point of the vertical line down at an angle to the horizontal line. Mark two points, one on the left half, one on the right half.

Now stick the pushpins in the top point and the two points along the horizontal line. Tie the string tightly around the three pushpins. This string triangle should not reach the ends of the horizontal line.

Now remove the top pushpin, insert your pencil where it was and forcing out gently on the string, drag it around the ellipse. It's like magic! It creates a geometrically perfect ellipse. The string sometimes stretches a bit, but it's amazing how well it works.

Here is my completed ellipse. You could use this technique to make any size oval. For an oval lawn or pond, just use stakes and a rope. You could also use this technique to make a mat for a picture or a central design on a quilt, or a table top, or even a panel for a sign. A great thing to know, don't you think?

P.S. I walked today: 45 minutes/5292 steps


Tara said...

Neat! I didn't know how to do that! You pick up something everyday in blogging world!

the homely year said...

Wow, that's amazing...I must try it!
Margaret and Noreen