Making Art With Dominoes

Dominoes are a fun toy to play with, whether you’re lining them up in straight or curved lines or creating complex 3D structures. They can also be used to make art. Lily Hevesh, a domino artist with more than 2 million YouTube subscribers, creates elaborate setups for movies, TV shows, and even events like an album launch for Katy Perry. Hevesh starts by making test versions of each part of her creations, then puts it all together. Often, she films the tests in slow motion to check for precision. This way, she can correct mistakes quickly.

Hevesh grew up playing with dominoes, which are flat thumb-sized rectangular blocks that can be used to make a line of matching tiles on a table. Each domino has an open end and a numbered surface, and 28 such pieces can form a complete set. Dominoes can be played with two or more people and have a wide variety of rules, but most games fall into four categories: bidding, blocking, scoring, and round.

In many domino games, a line of dominoes is formed as players match and play their tiles. This configuration is called the line of play, layout, or string. The player who makes the first play is known as the setter, downer, or leader and may be able to buy additional tiles later in the game. If a player plays out of turn, it is considered a misplay and the tile must be recalled.

Depending on the game, the next player to the left of the leader may be allowed to purchase the remaining tiles in the line of play (see “Passing and Byeing” below). A player who draws more than he is entitled to must return the extra tiles to the stock before he or she plays.

If a domino is not able to be played according to the game’s rules, it is blocked and the game ends. Some games allow a player to play a single tile on a double, but this is only possible when the two matching ends are touching and the pips are facing one another.

The earliest use of the word domino, in English and French, was as a name for a long hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. The word eventually became synonymous with the game, but the earlier senses of both words remained in usage until shortly after 1750.