How to Make Moiré Patterns?

Have you ever looked through an electric fan and seen a shimmering pattern of light and dark areas around the center? This is a type of optical illusion called a moiré (pronounced mwar-ay). It happens when two see-through patterns of lines overlap, like the wires on the front and back of the fan.

Try this easy experiment to make your own moiré patterns!


  1. Plastic canvas – used in needlepoint
  2. Lazy susan
  3. Scissors
  4. Black paint
  5. Sponge
  6. Smartphone – optional


Gather your materials. 


Cut the canvas into two 6″ squares. 


Paint both sides of each canvas black. Let them dry for at least 30 minutes.


Place one of the canvases in the middle of the lazy susan. 


Hold the second canvas centered over the first canvas and slowly spin the lazy susan. What do you observe? What happens when you spin faster? What about slower?

If you have trouble seeing the patterns, ask a friend to take a video of you spinning the lazy susan from directly above. In a video, you can see the patterns moiré clearly! 

DIY Details


Avg. Duration

1 hour

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