While preparing our world record attempts, we have learned a lot about dominoes and how (not) to let them topple. If you are also building your own home made domino projects, you might be interested in the tips and tricks that you can find below. On the right hand side you can also find a display of some of the most extraordinary and special tricks that we have used throughout the years.
The most common way to place dominoes is by hand. This is an excellent way if you want to create a domino pattern with rounded shapes or if you have to place dominoes onto other objects. But if you want to build a straight line the human hand is not always as exact as you would like it to be. To help yourself a little you can first draw a line on the floor and then you can place the dominoes right next to the line. Another problem might be placing dominoes in hard to reach locations. In this case you can use a pair of tweezers to provide you with extra stability while placing the stones.
Securing your project
When you are building a large domino-project with a lot of stones you will want to secure the project. We always use safeties when preparing a world record attempt. The most basic way is to leave out some stones every several meters. Make sure you leave out a big enough gap to prevent the remaining stones to bridge the opening when they topple (4 stones should do the trick). Another way to secure your project is by placing actual barriers. This could be a piece of wood, which you place between two stones and that will stop the domino-line when it starts to topple. Always make sure you remove all the securities before you topple the project.
Making images appear
When a domino topples, the back of the stone becomes more visible. You could almost say that it appears. By painting the backside a different colour than the colour of the stone itself, we can make a domino change colour and make use of the appearing back. We use these painted stones to make an image appear or change in a field of dominoes. Another way to make an image appear is by placing a sticker on the back of the stone. First we print really big stickers which we stick onto dominoes that have been laid flat. Then we cut the dominoes loose one by one, making sure we do not mix them up. Then we place the dominoes upright in the correct order and they are ready for toppling.
It is always nice to combine toppling dominoes with small mechanisms. This puts a little bit of extra magic into a domino project. For world record attempts it is important not to add any extra energy during the toppling of the stones, because otherwise the record does not count. You can achieve this by storing energy into objects. For example a mousetrap which is set, releases its energy when a domino falls on top of it. Energy can also be stored into a stretched rubber band, springs or a wind-up mechanical toy.