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The National MagLab is funded by the National Science Foundation and the State of Florida.

Möbius Strip

When you take a strip of paper, give it half a twist, and join the ends, you have created a Möbius strip.

A Möbius strip is a unique shape with only one side and one edge. It looks like an infinite loop. An ant crawling along it would wind along both the bottom and the top and return to where it started.

The properties of the strip were discovered independently by two German mathematicians, August Ferdinand Möbius and Johann Benedict Listing, in 1858. Since then, the Möbius strip has fascinated mathematicians and inspired artists. The discovery even inspired a new field of mathematics: topology. Topology studies the shapes of objects and scientists at the MagLab use it to understand new materials.

What you’ll need:

  1. a long strip of paper (20x3cm)
  2. clear tape or glue stick
  3. scissors
  4. pen/marker

What you'll do:

1. Take the strip of paper and bring the ends together.

A piece of paper to do a Mobius Strip

2. Twist one of the ends 180 degrees before taping or gluing the ends together.

Taping the ends of the paper together

3. To prove it only has one side, take a pen or marker and draw a continuous line along the middle. You will be able to draw down the entire length of the strip and back to where you started.

4. Grab your scissors and try the experiments below to see what you create.

Cutting a piece of paper

Mobius strip

Fun experiments

  1. Connect a strip without a twist and cut it in half lengthwise along its midpoint. What happens?
  2. Twist once and cut down the middle lengthwise. What do you end up with now?
  3. Now twist the strip twice and cut along the same path. What happens this time?

Watch the video to see if you get the same results as us!

Did you know?

  • The Möbius strip is not just a curiosity. It is used for practical applications, including conveyor belts that last longer because the entire surface area gets the same amount of wear and tear, continuous-loop recording tapes, and printing cartridges.

Download print version

Möbius Strip printable cover

Download Möbius Strip activity - PDF (1.28 MB)