Easily Draw Perfect Ellipses with One Equation

Follow these directions to draw a perfect ellipse in a few minutes with a simple equation and some string.

perfect ellipseFamily Handyman

To draw a perfect ellipse, you need two push pins, non-stretching string, a pencil and a simple formula to determine the distance (D) between the push pins.

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Perfect ellipse formula

The formula is D = square root of(L2 H2). L and H are the length and height of the desired ellipse. Lets say I want an ellipse 16 in. long by 10 in. high. Plug the numbers into the formula, and you get D = 12-1/2.

Draw a straight line exactly 16 in. long and mark the center point. Mark 6-1/4 in. both directions from the center point, creating the foci and giving you the 12-1/2 in. distance you calculated. Push in a pin at each point.

Make a string loop using a slip knot so you can adjust the loops size. Put the loop around the pins. Adjust the loops size until a pencil inserted in the loop is exactly at the end of the line. Tighten the knot and draw your ellipse by pulling the loop around the pins with your pencil. Kellen Johnson

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ellipse formulaFamily Handyman

perfect ellipseFamily Handyman

perfect ellipseFamily Handyman