Visualising maths

Nets and surface area

The net of a 3D shape is the flat shape you would get if you unfolded the shape. For example, here is a 3D cube and the net (which consists of 6 flat squares):

net of cube

Once you have found the net of a 3D shape, you can calculate the surface area by calculating the areas of each shape in the net, and adding them together.

In the examples in this section, there are various animated 3D shapes that you can fold and unfold interactively.