Article

Lily Hevesh built this spiral using 12,000 dominoes in 15 colors.

Courtesy of Lily Hevesh/Hevesh5

STANDARDS

CCSS: 3.NBT.A1, MP4, MP5, MP7

TEKS: 3.2C

Domino Designer

Meet an artist who creates amazing domino displays

Ever since she was 9 years old, Lily Hevesh has loved dominoes. “My grandparents had the classic 28-pack,” she says. She would set them up in a straight line or an arc. Then she would flick the first one and watch the whole setup fall down.

By age 10, Hevesh was hooked. “I became obsessed with dominoes,” she says. She collected more and more dominoes. She started posting online videos of her own designs.

Now, at 20, she’s a professional domino artist. Her YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has more than 2 million subscribers. She creates spectacular domino setups for movies, TV shows, and events. For example, she recently built a design using more than 7,000 dominoes for pop star Katy Perry!

Hevesh’s largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to fall. She even once set a Guinness World Record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement: 76,017. “It’s super exciting to see your idea come to life and then knock it down,” she says.

Lily Hevesh has loved dominoes since age 9. “My grandparents had the classic 28-pack,” she says. She set them up in a straight line or an arc. Then she flicked the first one. She watched the whole setup fall down.

By age 10, Hevesh was hooked. “I became obsessed with dominoes,” she says. She collected many dominoes. She started posting online videos of her designs. 

Now she is 20 years old. She’s a professional domino artist. She has a YouTube channel called Hevesh5. The channel has more than 2 million subscribers. She creates amazing domino setups for movies, TV shows, and events. For example, she recently built a design for pop star Katy Perry! She used more than 7,000 dominoes for the design.

Hevesh’s largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to fall. She even once set a Guinness World Record. Hevesh used 76,017 dominoes for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement. “It’s super exciting to see your idea come to life and then knock it down,” she says.

Designing a Display

Creating a giant, intricate domino display takes a lot of planning. To begin, Hevesh thinks about the purpose of the design. She brainstorms images or words to use.

Next, Hevesh plans out how she wants to arrange the dominoes. She might make a grid of dominoes that form pictures when they fall. Or she could build stacked domino walls. She could also make 3-D structures like domino towers or pyramids.

Then Hevesh calculates how many dominoes of each color she’ll need. Some creations require tens of thousands of dominoes. Instead of counting them by hand, she weighs them. She uses the total weight in an equation to calculate whether she has enough of each color.

Hevesh also has to consider whether the floor she will build on is smooth or rough. “Plastic dominoes on a polished floor can be very slippery. They’re going to fall differently than wooden dominoes on a rougher surface,” says Hevesh.

To address these differences, Hevesh tests each section of a display. She films the tests in slow motion. This allows her to make precise corrections to fix errors. When each section works perfectly, she puts them all together.

Creating a giant, complicated domino display takes a lot of planning. First, Hevesh thinks about the purpose of the design. She brainstorms images or words to use.

Next, Hevesh plans how to arrange the dominoes. She might make a grid of dominoes. The grids form pictures when they fall. Or she could build stacked domino walls. She could also make 3-D structures like domino towers or pyramids. 

Then Hevesh calculates how many dominoes of each color she’ll need. Some creations require tens of thousands of dominoes. She doesn’t count them by hand. Instead, she weighs them. She uses an equation to calculate whether she has enough of each color.      

Hevesh also considers the type of floor she’s building on. Plastic dominoes are slippery on smooth floors. Wooden dominoes fall differently on rougher surfaces.

To address these differences, Hevesh tests each section of a display. She films the tests in slow motion. This allows her to make precise corrections to fix errors. When each section works perfectly, she puts them all together.

Scott Eisen/AP Images for Scholastic Inc

Hevesh assembles a structure she created for Scholastic magazines. It’s made up of 7,400 dominoes!

The Final Countdown

It can take Hevesh many hours to plan and complete a single project. For example, her design for Katy Perry took nine hours. Other projects have taken days.

While she builds the designs, Hevesh leaves a few dominoes out here and there. These are called safety gaps. That way if she accidentally knocks something over, the mistake doesn’t bring the whole thing crashing down.

“I’m pretty good at preventing big accidental topples, but small ones happen in just about every project,” says Hevesh.

When it’s time for the official run, Hevesh is usually a bit nervous. “No matter how much I’ve planned, there are always little things that surprise me,” she says. “I worry constantly that something will go wrong. Once the last domino has toppled, that’s when I can finally celebrate and sigh in relief.”

It can take Hevesh many hours to complete a single project. For example, her design for Katy Perry took nine hours. Other projects have taken days.

While she builds the designs, Hevesh leaves a few dominoes out here and there. These are called safety gaps. They protect the design if she accidentally knocks something over. The mistake doesn’t bring the whole thing crashing down. 

“I’m pretty good at preventing big accidental topples,” says Hevesh. “But small ones happen in just about every project.”

When it’s time for the official run, Hevesh is usually a bit nervous. No matter how much she plans, there’s always little surprises. “I worry constantly that something will go wrong. Once the last domino has toppled, that’s when I can finally celebrate and sigh in relief.”

Hevesh used 18 dominoes in an early design. Fill in the curved number line below. What is 18 rounded to the nearest 10?

Hevesh used 18 dominoes in an early design. Fill in the curved number line below. What is 18 rounded to the nearest 10?

One part of the domino design for Katy Perry used 164 blue dominoes. What is 164 rounded to the nearest 100?

One part of the domino design for Katy Perry used 164 blue dominoes. What is 164 rounded to the nearest 100?

Hevesh spent 2 months making a design that had 5,252 dominoes. What is 5,252 rounded to the nearest hundred?

Hevesh spent 2 months making a design that had 5,252 dominoes. What is 5,252 rounded to the nearest hundred?

Hevesh built a giant rectangular prism out of 1,508 blue dominoes, 1,332 green dominoes, and 1,428 purple dominoes. Round each number to the nearest 100, then order the numbers from greatest to least.

Hevesh built a giant rectangular prism out of 1,508 blue dominoes, 1,332 green dominoes, and 1,428 purple dominoes. Round each number to the nearest 100, then order the numbers from greatest to least.

A. Her record-setting display had 76,017 dominoes. What is this rounded to the nearest 10?

A. Her record-setting display had 76,017 dominoes. What is this rounded to the nearest 10?

B. What is 76,017 rounded to the nearest 100? How does your answer differ from your answer to 5A?

B. What is 76,017 rounded to the nearest 100? How does your answer differ from your answer to 5A?

Google Quiz

Click the Google Quiz button below to share an interactive version of the questions with your class. Click Download PDF for the non-interactive blank Answer Sheet.

Download PDF
Back to top
videos (2)
videos (2)
Skills Sheets (4)
Skills Sheets (4)
Skills Sheets (4)
Skills Sheets (4)
Lesson Plan (2)
Lesson Plan (2)