bookmark_borderHow to Create Intricate Domino Setups


Domino is a game played with a set of small wood or plastic blocks, generally 28 in number. The domino pieces have one side that displays an arrangement of spots or pips like those on dice; the other is blank or identically patterned. The pips are used to identify each domino, and the game progresses by playing against each other in a series of turns until all the dominoes have been laid. Occasionally, an unfinished domino will remain upright and require the play of additional tiles to complete it.

Lily Hevesh first got interested in dominoes when she was 9 years old, when her grandparents gave her a classic 28-pack to play with. She quickly fell in love with the art of creating intricately curved lines of dominoes, and eventually started posting videos of her creations on YouTube. Her videos have garnered her more than 2 million subscribers. She now creates mind-blowing domino setups for movies, TV shows, and events, including an album launch for Katy Perry.

To create her creations, Hevesh uses a version of the engineering-design process. She starts by thinking about the theme of the piece she wants to create, and brainstorms images or words that might be associated with it. Next, she draws a picture of the desired domino shape on a piece of paper. This serves as a guide for the actual construction of the domino, and helps her avoid mistakes that might ruin her masterpiece.

Once she has a drawing of her intended domino shape, Hevesh begins building the structure with a stack of small wooden blocks. Then, she starts playing against it with other dominoes. This allows her to see how the domino will fall, and how much effort she will need to exert to make it happen. She can then adjust her strategy accordingly.

The name domino is derived from the Latin dominus, meaning “lord.” In fact, in British public houses and social clubs, domino was originally a scoring game in which players attached a domino to one end of the already-played dominoes such that its total sum could be divided by five or three. Each time this occurred, the player received a point.

In addition to the traditional material of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), or ivory, domino sets have been constructed from a variety of natural and man-made materials such as marble, granite, soapstone, and ebony; metals such as brass and pewter; and ceramic clay. Some of the more unique domino sets use a combination of these materials to provide a more visually stimulating effect. In its earliest sense, domino also referred to a long hooded cloak worn with an eye mask at a carnival or masquerade. This usage was probably borrowed from the French, where the word had earlier denoted a black domino contrasting with a priest’s white surplice. The most common domino sets have double-nine ends, but many are “extended” with more specialized ends.