Make crop circles

How-to with: make crop circles

Crop circles in the UK.

Crop circles (a generic term for the phenomenon of flattened plants) form in many areas of the world, with visual effects ranging from irregular shapes to amazing geometric patterns. If you’ve ever wanted to explore making crop circles as a skill and an art form, here’s how!


  1. 1

    Find a partner or a group. Making crop circles by yourself would be exceptionally difficult. Convince a friend or a group to join you – the process will be faster and more enjoyable.

  2. 2

    Pick a crop and a season. “Cereal artists,” or the people who make crop circles as a hobby, generally prefer to work with three crops that correspond to different times of year: rapeseed in April and May, barley in May and June, and wheat from June to early September. These grains will fold down smoothly, and might be your best option for your first crop circle.

    • Avoid muddy fields. Trying to make a crop circle in a soggy field will be a messy and ultimately fruitless experience. Wait a day or two after the most recent rain for best results.
  3. 3

    Choose a legal location for your crop circle. Obtain permission from the landowner before you start planning. Ideal choices include sloped fields that rise from public vantage points (a road, for instance) and an amphitheater-like valley.

  4. 4
    Touching circles form a basic design.

    Touching circles form a basic design.

    Plot your crop circle. Plan your design using a large-scale map or computer software, to ensure access for both you and your audience. Mark on the map the directions you will be flattening, to avoid visible signs of passage (inexperienced circle makers can spoil a design by leaving stripes like a lawnmower would). Initial access is normally through existing farm tracks and trails – scope these out and note their positions on your map before you begin designing.

    • Start simple. Consider making your first crop circle from an arrangement of discs in a geometric formation. More advanced curved lines can be created by overlapping partial circular arcs.
    • Some cereal artists spontaneously develop designs once they’re in the field. If you do this, make sure everyone in your group understands what the final image will look like.
  5. 5

    Gather materials. Round up all the items listed under Things You’ll Need. Make sure you have sufficient tools for your group.

  6. 6

    Work under the cover of darkness. Most crop circles are made at night, and avoid the use of flashlights, cell phones or other prominent light sources. Plan your transportation to the location ahead of time; if you’re driving, park your car a mile or two away and walk the distance in. Look up the exact time that the sun is expected to rise in the morning and make a note of it.

    • Avoid detection by local crop-circle enthusiasts. Some groups, convinced that crop circles are made by UFOs or aliens, stake out certain fields on certain nights. If such a group is active in your area, see if you can find out where they’ll be on the night of your planned crop circle event.
  7. 7

    Enter the field on the tramline. If the field is active, there will be deep tram, or tractor, tracks crossing it at several points. Walk inside these tracks so as not to make footprints. When you’ve reached the location of your planned circle, walk off the tracks such that your crop circle will cover your footprints. Leave the same way.

  8. 8
    Using construction lines to make more complex shapes.
     Using construction lines to make more complex shapes.

    Measure out your design. Once in the field, use measurements to place markers exactly. Your friends can help you place markers, make line-of-sight calculations, and lay the rope to mark areas for flattening.

    • Make construction lines by laying rope outlines to shapes. Then flatten circles at the intersection points. To make the shown example formation, create a rope outline of a equilateral triangle, and create flattened circles at the triangle corners. Avoid flattening over the rope, to create an implied triangle.
    • Use the surveyor’s tape to mark straight lines and measure equal distances. Pull it as tight as you possibly can when measuring.
  9. 9

    Start flattening. There are three primary methods of flattening crops. Some cereal artists prefer one or the other, while many employ all three. Choose whatever works best for you.

    • Plank flattening requires a long and somewhat broad plank with ropes attached to the ends. Loop the rope over your shoulders and press forwards and down by keeping one foot on the plank, advancing in a shuffling gait. To make a circle, have a friend stand on the other end of the plank and keep it anchored as it rotates. Trace larger circles around this small beginning circle, with both of you walking on each side of the plank.
    • Some circle makers prefer using a light garden roller (available from garden centers) to speed up flattening. For a beginner, a garden roller might also make more precise lines.

  10. 10

    Finish by dawn. Bring along a watch with a glow-in-the-dark face so that you can discreetly keep track of the time. You should be gathering your tools and walking out of the field 45 minutes before sunrise, so that you have plenty of time to get back to your car and depart in the dark. Make sure no tell-tale signs of human presence are left behind.

    • For straight lines, try side-stomping. Walk sideways, using the edge of your foot to flatten the crops. For an extra straight line, have two people hold the surveyor’s tape taut while you side-stomp, keeping the tape almost touching your belly.
  11. 11

    Add “supernatural” touches to your crop circle. Add a hoax-like dimension to your work by making it appear as if aliens authored the crop circles. Here are some suggestions.

    • Bend some stalks around by exposing them to a blue light source for a few hours. Applying small amounts of natural gum or plaster will lock their new shape. Sadly, this approach may not satisfy a detailed or scientific inspection.
    • Create swirled nests in the flattened areas by your clever weaving of stalks.
    • Melt some iron filings into droplets on-site and sprinkle them around the flattened area to leave “meteorite particles” and magnetized stalks.
    • Try varying the direction you flatten the corn, wavy lines or up a line then back a line. This creates amazing shiny lay patterns visible from the air.
  12. 12

    Wait for the media to spot the new formation. This may take several days, or you can speed the process by making an anonymous call. A good design will provide local newspapers with many column-inches of speculation.


  • Your eyes will adjust to the darkness in 20 minutes. By the time you reach the field, you should be able to see adequately.
  • For best results you should probably spend more time planning the crop circle than actually making it. By carefully planning the design, working out what equipment is needed, and discarding ideas that will be difficult or impossible to achieve, you can reduce the scope for embarrassing errors.
  • Come back later in the morning to take a photo of your work before spectators start eroding it.
  • Ask local pilots if they can try and help your “research” by photographing your crop circle from the air.


  • Crop circle art is like graffiti for “cerealogists,” often undertaken without permission. Be careful, as not surprisingly, farmers do not want their property damaged. Always operate within the law.
  • The amount of crop flattened need not be excessive to make a strong impression of shape and form. In fact, you should not plan to flatten a larger area destructively, and it had better be beautiful or you can expect criticism and opposition.
  • The source of crop circle formation is surrounded by controversy.

Things You’ll Need

  • A light plank, 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 2 meters) long, 3 or 4 feet (1 to 1.2 meters) wide. Tie a rope that’s 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.6 meters) long, knotted through holes in each end of the plank. Alternatively, you may prefer to buy a light garden roller from a garden centre.
  • A surveyor’s reel measuring tape, which doesn’t stretch. Rope or nylon can be used but may stretch and make wobbly-edged circles. It should be 100 feet (30 meters) long.
  • Protractor for measuring angles (optional).
  • Night-vision goggles (optional).
  • Laser-pointer to assist placing markers (optional).


— article taken from wikihow 

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