Fun Family Activities | 30 December 2016Make Your Pictures Come to Life with a Zoetrope Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Have you ever heard of a zoetrope? It is the tool that was used before the invention of film to create the illustration of moving pictures. You can make your own pictures come to life by building your own zoetrope with this simple tutorial from Animation Lab for Kids. A zoetrope is a great way to introduce and explore the principles of stop-motion animation. You don’t need any technology, and it gives kids an opportunity to develop drawing skills and learn how to tell a brief visual story. Materials – Tape measure – Round papier-mâché craft box, 4” (10.2 cm) in diameter and 121?2” (31.8 cm) in circumference – Craft knife – Cutting mat – 1 sheet each of heavyweight paper in white and black – Ruler – Glue stick – Scratch paper – Pencil – Scissors – Markers – Wooden dowel at least 1?2” (1.3 cm) in diameter – Hot glue gun Before You Begin These are some measurements to keep in mind, especially if you use a box whose dimensions are different from the one we used. The sides of your craft box should be at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) high. You can use either the body of a box or its lid to make the zoetrope. The length of both sheets of paper, both black and white, should be at least equal to the circumference of your craft box. The height of the white paper should be at least 2 inches (5 cm) and 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the top edge of the box. The height of the black paper should be at least 4 inches (10.2 cm) and twice the height of the white paper. If your craft box is larger in diameter than ours, consider using a larger dowel. How A Zoetrope Works The term zoetrope, which means “wheel of life,” was coined by mid-nineteenth-century American inventor William F. Lincoln. His design was one of several cylindrical “moving picture” devices that were devel- oped around the same time. A zoetrope is created by cutting vertical slits into the sides of a cylinder. On the cylinder’s inner surface is a band of sequential images. When the cylinder is spun, it creates the illusion of motion as the viewer looks through the slits at a rapid progression of the images. Action! Measure the circumference of your craft box. Cut both sheets of paper so their length is equal to the box’s circumference. Cut the white sheet to a width of at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) higher than the box’s top edge and the black sheet to a width of at least twice the height of the white one. Lay the white paper over the black paper and use the glue stick to glue them together along one edge (fig. 1). You’ll draw your sequential drawings on the white paper; the black paper will serve as the viewing mask. fig. 1. Cut both sheets of paper to the same length as your box’s circumference. Glue the white sheet to the black sheet, aligning them along one edge. Consider what you want to show in your sequence: A flower growing? A door opening? A cat turning into a butterfly? The sequence will form a “loop” that starts and ends at the same place. Next, think about how many drawings you want to include. If you use a box the same size as ours, plan for at least 10 individual images. Sketch your ideas on scratch paper first. Once you’ve decided on the number of images, measure and mark the same number of spaces exactly equidistant along the top edge of the black paper. At each mark, cut a slit 2 inches (5 cm) deep and 1?4 inch (6 mm) wide. The slits should almost meet the top edge of the white paper (fig. 2). fig. 2. Measure and cut evenly spaced slits along the top edge of the black paper. Draw your images in the correct sequence on the white paper. Position each image directly under its corresponding slit, making sure it’s centered beneath it (fig. 3). fig. 3. Draw each image in the sequence directly under and centered beneath each slit. Measure and mark the circumference of the dowel on the box on the bottom. Cut a hole into the box so the dowel fits it tightly (fig. 4). fig. 4. Measure, mark, and cut a hole to fit the dowel into the bottom of the box. Roll the paper slightly to fit it inside the box. The images should be inside the box and facing inward, with the slits at the top (fig. 5). fig. 5. Position the images inside the box. Use the hot glue gun to attach the paper to the inside of the box (fig. 6). fig. 6. Glue the paper in place. Use the hot glue gun to adhere the dowel to the bot- tom of the box (fig. 7). fig. 7. Glue the dowel in place. Spin your zoetrope quickly by turning the dowel between your palms (fig. 8). Peer through the slits at the top to view your short tale of transformation! fig. 8. Spin the zoetrope and watch the pictures move! Buy from an Online Retailer US: Introduce kids to stop-motion animation and animated filmmaking. Animation is everywhere–from movies and TV to apps and video games–and today’s tech-savvy kids know all about it. With the accessibility and ease of use of cameras and video-editing software, people of all ages are learning how to make stop-motion animation. In Animation Lab for Kids, artists, teachers, and authors Laura Bellmont and Emily Brink present exciting, fun, hands-on projects that teach kids a range of animation techniques. From the classic zoetrope, flip book, and cel methods (which don’t require any devices or technology) to different methods of shooting, the lessons require no previous experience for either child or adult. Experimenting with a variety of art materials (drawing, clay, and paper cut-outs), young animators will learn to plan a film through writing, storyboarding, and creating sets. The book also features helpful and informative sidebars on the history of the early animation techniques as well as the inspiring work of innovative and influential animators, including Kirsten Lepore, PES, Hailey Morris, and William Kentridge. The authors are co-founders and lead teachers of The Good School, an arts-education school that cultivates and combines traditional art-making skills and the technologies involved in stop-motion animation filmmaking. They teach animation techniques at camps, schools, and events, including the New York International Children’s Film Festival. 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