How to Make Rotation Tessellations

Brick designs often follow a pattern of a rotation tessellation
••• Jupiterimages/ Images

Tessellations are geometric patterns that repeat without any breaks to form a larger design. While tessellations are studied in mathematics, artists and designers use them to create mosaics, tile patterns and other designs. In some tessellations the elements that make up the pattern do not repeat in the same orientation all the way across the design. Rotation is a common element of tessellations. As long as a shape or pattern has two adjacent sides that are congruent, a rotation tessellation can be produced.

    Draw the shape of the original tessellation that you want to rotate. Basic geometric figures, like triangles or squares, are good shapes to deal with when you are first learning how to rotate.

    Select the point that you want to rotate your figure around. The point can be a corner of the tessellation, anywhere along a side or at a point that is not a part of the tessellation.

    Rotate the figure. This process will depend on how exactly your tessellation was made. If it was drawn on paper, for example, the artist can turn the page and redraw the figure. Tilers can reposition themselves and recreate the image in a new orientation.

    Repeat the design as many times as necessary to make your way 360 degrees around the tessellation.


    • If you are struggling with picturing the rotation, draw numbers in each of the corners and along the sides of the original image, then match the old corners up with the new corners on the rotation tessellation as you create it.

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