pattern play projects

Project: QuaranTiles

If you are like me, your workload hasn’t exactly petered out during these recent weeks of quarantine. Within this new normal, I have found it incredibly beneficial to play. That play is freeform; you could categorize it as aimless, but it is far from mindless. The need to step away from the computer for a few precious moments has allowed me to finish up a couple math projects that have been brewing for a while. The first was the creation of Upscale Pattern Blocks. The second was really an unintended one, born from the influence of Christopher Danielson’s new Truchet Cubes. I affectionately call them QuaranTiles.

It all started with some leftover one-inch squares from another project (still currently pending, but stay tuned). I started painting them in the same fashion as the Truchet cubes, and several people showed interest in the pictures posted to Twitter, asking where they could get some. In the future, I would love to have a way to distribute them to primary classrooms, and, of course, to tiling enthusiasts of all ages, but that is a project for after quarantine is over. For now, this post contains simple instructions to create your own, and a few tiling inspirations to get you going.

My initial collection of QuaranTiles


  • Blank, wooden square tiles. (You will want at least 100. Between 1″ and 1.5″ seem to work well. 1/8th of an inch thick. Something like this).
  • Painting tape.
  • Acrylic paint. (I used four colours, but there’s nothing stopping you from using more or fewer colours)


The six types of QuaranTile, each with an unpainted back side.

The solids. Pretty self explanatory. Paint the entire side of the tile.

The halves. Run a piece of painting tape diagonally across each tile. Paint the exposed triangle. (These are traditional Truchet tiles, and you will probably want twice as many of these as any other tile).

The one-quarters & three-quarters. These tiles are painted in pairs, and there are two different varieties. First, flip the tiles over, line them up side-by-side, and stick a small piece of tape to keep them from moving. Then, flip the tiles over to the side you are going to paint. Run a piece of painting tape across the diagonal of the two tiles together. Note: there are now two ways that this diagonal can run, and you will want both types of tiles in your collection. Paint the exposed portion of the face, let dry, remove tape, and separate the tiles.


Here is some inspiration to get you going. If you decide to build a set to play with–and wish to do so in a digital, collaborative space–tag @NatBanting on Twitter and use the hashtag #Quarantiles. Hopefully, someday soon, quarantine is no longer necessary and we can QuaranTile together!


5 replies on “Project: QuaranTiles”

Thanks for these directions & link to getting the square tiles. Looking forward to making some

[…] I was really intrigued by all of the tweets I was seeing during this time of quarantine about the wood blocks being turned into math play things. Look it up at #QuaranTiles. My husband has been doing a lot of woodworking and when I showed him the project he was also interested (mainly because he had an excuse to now get a table saw that went on sale). Luckily, Nat Banting made a great how-to guide: […]

Just caught up on Twitter and learned of this amazing project! Ordered the wooden tiles on Amazon. Can’t wait to make them with my kids!!!

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