How to Make and Customize Your Own Periodic Table

By Tasos Vossos
The periodic table groups elements with similar properties together.

The periodic table is the display of all chemical elements man has discovered or created. The number of these elements (as of July 2011) is 118 and they are organized in rows (periods), based on the number of protons found in their atomic nucleus. However, as elements of similar properties (for example, alkali metals, noble gases and poor metals) have to be in the same column (group), the periodic table has its own distinctive shape. It's not difficult to create your own table and customize it as you wish, as all you need is a ruler to design equal-size boxes for the elements.

Create a 6-inch by 1.5-inch rectangle. Use the ruler to divide it into 18 equal sections vertically and four equal sections horizontally. Measure the dimensions of a single box with the ruler.

Add two rows of two boxes over the top, left side of the rectangle and two rows of six boxes over the top, right side in the same size as the previously drawn boxes. Form a single box top, left and top, right corner of the design to finish the main part of the table.

Draw two rows of 14 boxes below the main part of the table. Ensure they are proportionate to the rest of the design and distinct from the main part (leave 1/2 inch distance with the main table).

Give numbers to each box, starting from the top left and moving to the right (just like the way you write). Write the number on the top half of each box, allowing space for the element's abbreviation. When you reach 56, move to the first independent row (Lanthanoids) for numbers 57-70 and after 88, go to the second independent row (Actinoids) for numbers 89-102.

Write the abbreviation of each element, consulting your chemistry textbook or the table by "WebElements." Use capitals for the first letter of each element.

Customize the periodic table by using colors of your choice. Remember that elements of similar properties must have the same color -- visit the "Ptable" online for information on these families of elements.


You can also create a legend underneath the periodic table, to remind yourself of what each color represents. In addition, you can mention in the legend the full name of elements whose abbreviations you can't understand.

About the Author

Tasos Vossos has been a professional journalist since 2008. He has previously worked as a staff writer for "Eleftheros Tipos," a leading newspaper of Greece, and is currently a London-based sports reporter for Perform Sports Media in the United Kingdom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media from the University of Athens.