What is the Domino Effect?


Dominoes are black and white rectangles that can be lined up in long curved or straight lines to create intricate patterns when they fall. They also can be arranged in grids that form pictures or 3D structures such as towers and pyramids. Some people enjoy playing games with them, while others just like to watch them tumble down. Today’s WONDERer Juan wonders, “What is the domino effect?”

The individual pieces of a domino set are called dominoes, although they are often referred to by other names: bones, cards, men, tiles, stones, or spinners. Dominoes are usually twice as long as they are wide and may have one or more squared ends with varying numbers of dots (called pips) in various combinations. They may have anywhere from six to blank (zero) pips on both sides. Traditionally, each piece is identified by its value, which is determined by the number of matching pips on adjacent pieces or by counting the total number of pips on opposing players’ tiles in a multi-round game. For example, a double-six domino has six pips on two of its ends and thus counts as 6; a domino with a single-six on an end and a blank on the other counts as 14.

A person’s skill in setting up a sequence of dominoes that will result in the desired pattern is referred to as domino art. It can be simple or elaborate, requiring only that the final pattern conform to certain rules. The more complex patterns can be difficult to design and require a great deal of practice in order to ensure that all the pieces will fall into place exactly as intended.

When Hevesh was nine years old, her grandparents gave her the classic 28-piece domino set. She loved lining up the pieces in straight or curved lines and then flicking them, watching them cascade down. She had a fascination with how the pieces interlocked and worked together, and she soon started posting videos of her creations on YouTube. Today, Hevesh has more than 2 million followers on her channel, where she shows off some of her most impressive domino setups.

In the beginning, Hevesh did not have access to a professional woodworking workshop with expensive computer controlled tools. Instead, he used the tools he had available in his grandmother’s garage, including a drill press, radial arm saw, scroll saw, belt sander, and welder. He had a passion for making things with his hands, and he wanted to create a way for other amateur craftsmen to make their own dominoes as well. His method was not the only way to make a domino, but it allowed him to achieve amazing results with his limited resources. Hevesh’s videos have inspired many to try their hand at domino art, and the internet is now flooded with videos of people creating intricate masterpieces. Hevesh believes that domino art is a perfect medium for anyone to express themselves creatively. In her video, she encourages people to “think outside the box” when planning their designs and to use different shapes and sizes of dominoes to create unique patterns.