How to Create Art With Dominoes


A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, thumb-sized, with one or more sides blank or bearing from one to six pips (or dots). A set of 28 dominoes forms a full domino set. Dominoes are also sometimes called bones, cards, tiles, spinners, or tickets. They are used to play games that involve matching the ends of dominoes or arranging them in lines and angular patterns. Some people use them to create art.

Creating domino art can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. You can make straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, or even 3-D structures such as towers and pyramids. If you plan a domino track, start by writing out the way you want it to look when it is finished. Draw arrows to show the direction each domino should fall, then calculate how many you will need for your design.

Dominoes have inertia, which means they resist motion until pushed by some outside force. A tiny nudge is all it takes to push a domino past its tipping point. When a domino falls, most of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, the energy of motion. Some of this energy is transferred to the next domino, providing the push it needs to fall as well. The rest of the energy is dissipated as heat and sound.

When Hevesh creates her mind-blowing domino setups, she follows a version of the engineering-design process. She begins by considering the theme or purpose of the installation. She then brainstorms images or words she might want to use in the design. Once she has a general idea of what she wants to build, she starts making test versions of each section. When the test pieces work, she puts them together. She works from the smallest 3-D sections to the largest.

Many people enjoy playing dominoes with family and friends. The games can be competitive or cooperative. The object is to set up a row of dominoes so that when one is knocked over, it will trigger other dominoes to fall, creating an ever-increasing chain reaction.

A large number of games can be played with dominoes, but the most popular are draw, double-6, and domino-nine. In addition, extended sets of dominoes are available, with each progressively larger set increasing the maximum number of spots on an end.

Although some dominoes have a blank side, it is not possible to match these with any other domino, so they are usually considered “wild” and can be ascribed any value. The word domino may be derived from the Italian word for “flip,” which may refer to the action of turning a coin upside down and then letting it fall. The word has also been linked to an older sense of the term for a long, hooded cloak worn by a priest over his surplice.