This DIY Zoetrope project creates movement in design and is the perfect way to celebrate STEAM Week with your children. Making a Zoetrope encourages your children to practice multiple skills (drawing, cutting, measurement) and the end result is a fun toy to share with friends and family. Below are basic instructions. Encourage your child to be creative with their illustrations and/or change the size of the notches to create different effects.
A Zoetrope project uses items found in most households and will require some assistance from a caring adult if done by a younger child.
- Aluminum Pie Tin
- 2 – 2 1/2″ X 17″ strips cut from dark construction paper
- White Paper
Tape the two dark pieces of construction paper together at the short end to make one long strip. Cut notches on one side of the construction paper. The notches should be 1″ apart and approximately 1/8″ wide.
Use scissors or a pen to poke a hole in the middle of the aluminum pie plate. This part of the project is best completed by an adult.
Wrap the dark strip of construction paper around the inside of the pie plate and secure with tape. The edges may overlap.
This is where the fun begins. Cut two strips of white paper about 1 1/2″ wide by 17″ long. You want to make sure the white strip does not cover any of the open notches when placed next to the dark construction paper. Tape the two pieces of white paper together and draw figures in different positions. My figures are basic stick figures, but this project lends itself to more elaborate drawings. The goal is to have each small picture doing something a little different, so you can see movement when you spin the Zoetrope. When you have finished your drawings place the white paper inside the dark construction paper. It should fit nicely and not need to be secured. This will allow you to change the scene easily if you choose to do more than one drawing.
Lastly, you place your pencil in the hole on the bottom of the pie tin. The pencil may wobble a little. You want it to be secure, so you may need to use some tape. Spin and enjoy your artwork. Look a the the scene from the side through the slits and you should be able to see the movement of the artwork as it spins.
When the Zoetrope spins it displays the sequenced images on the inside of the cylinder. Your child will be amazed they created their own animated toy.