Triangular Diatom 三角珪藻(けいそう)

Diatom from above web

Diatom from side

Diatom Open box

Diatom top and bottom

Diatom bottom oblique

Above is the finished work. Below are the stages of creation.

I found a delightful diatom called Triceratium on the internet. Here is one link to a microscope image:

Diatoms are unicellular algae with chloroplasts for photosynthesis. They live in water. The cell is enclosed in a silica shell with an upper and a lower half like a shoebox with a lid. The holes allow exchange of gases and wastes. I think God loves diatoms because there are so many species and they are beautiful. More general information may be found at

I usually try to find a simple shape to fit the creature. At first I considered a triangular prism. Then I thought to add ‘knobs’.

This is the sequence of events for the bottom part minus the knobs. First I devised the net.

Diatom Free net bottom web

Next I added the colour pattern.

Diatom Colour Patterned Bottom web

To make things really interesting I overlaid a number pattern.

Diatom Number Patterned Bottom web

Then I applied colours one at a time to each part of the net to achieve this result.

Diatom Painted Bottom ready web



Diatom Painted Top ready web

Diatom Painted Knobs ready web

The above coloured nets have also been cleaned up a bit using Photoshop, but the colours have not been adjusted.

I cut out and assembled the diatom from these nets. The knobs are definitely the trickiest part to assemble.

The final result can be a table decoration or a gift box.

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