The Art of Dominoes


Dominoes, also known as bones or men, are small rectangular blocks that are used as gaming objects. They are usually made of wood or bone and are arranged on a flat surface such as a table or board. Dominoes have various uses, from blocking games to scoring and forming patterns.

Many dominoes have a unique marking called a pip, which is represented by one to five dots. The number of pips on a domino determines its value in the game and the total number of points that can be scored. The number of pips on each end is determined by the number of dominoes in the set and the arrangement of the ends on the tiles.

When a domino is placed on a line of other dominoes, the adjacent ends must match, for example one’s touch ones or two’s touch two’s. This is the basis for a variety of positional games in which players place tiles one by one and continue to play until a player wins by having all of his or her dominoes played, or until there are no more tiles to be placed.

Dominoes can also be used to create impressive artwork, such as straight lines, curved lines, and grids that form pictures when they fall. Domino art is often accompanied by an artistic theme or some sort of story, and it can range from simple to elaborate. Some artists even build 3D structures such as towers and pyramids from dominoes.

A domino artist named Hevesh creates some of the most incredible domino setups you’ll ever see. Some of her installations take several nail-biting minutes to complete, and they depend on the laws of physics for their success. Hevesh says that one physical phenomenon in particular is key to her mind-blowing creations: gravity. When a domino is knocked over, it transfers energy to the domino that’s in front of it, and that energy can cause the other dominoes to topple as well.

Hevesh is careful to leave out a few dominoes from her designs as she builds, to prevent the entire setup from falling down in one fell swoop. She has developed a version of the engineering-design process that she follows when creating her creations, and she starts by considering a theme or a message. Then she brainstorms what images or words might be associated with the theme.

To create a domino art, you first need to map out how you want the dominoes to fall. You can draw arrows on paper to show the direction you want the dominoes to fall, or use a software program to do it for you. You can choose a straight line, a curved line, a grid that forms a picture, or even a tower. You can also use a computer program to plan out a three-dimensional structure, such as a pyramid or a tower. You can then calculate how many dominoes you need to make your design. If you’re planning to build a very large structure, it is helpful to create a diagram of the layout and mark where each domino will be placed.