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Make coloured coffee filters
Note: Want to make your coral right away? Try decorating your filters with markers, pencil crayons or paint instead.
Make the coral
The ruffled, brightly coloured structure you just created is very similar in appearance to some types of coral. Coral comes in many different forms, such as branches, fans, bubbles, grapes and more, and can be found throughout the world. The ruffled edges of your coffee filter coral—and the real coral that inspired it—are examples of a complex form of geometry (called hyperbolic geometry) that form naturally during coral growth.
A single piece of coral is actually made up of many individual polyps. These tiny, soft creatures take calcium from seawater and change it into calcium carbonate, which creates a protective skeleton for new polyps to grow on. In this way, the coral polyps build onto each other, eventually creating a coral reef structure—and an entire ecosystem where other creatures can live!
Get creative with your coffee filter coral by playing with colours and size. Add more than seven coffee filters to one pipe cleaner for a denser piece of coral, or see what happens when you try using another similar material, like tissue paper. Combine several different colours for one piece of coral, or make an entire “garden” of coral crafts. There’s no limit to the coral you can create!