How to Make an Optical Spin Toy – Thaumatrope
Imaginative Crafts, Do-It-Yourself Projects and Video Tutorials by Robert Mahar, robert-mahar.com
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Wood Thaumatropes (Adults Only! Scroll down for kid-friendly version!)
Craft wood circles/disks*
Image printed on copy paper
String or twine
Online source for craft wood circles/disks: http://www.joann.com/woodsies-shapes-130%2Fpkg-circles/12638383.html#q=wood+circle&start=4
Fine grain sandpaper
Drill with 1/” bit
*Online source for woodburner tool: http://www.amazon.com/Walnut-Hollow-Creative-Woodburner-Detailer/dp/B000VRVKMO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1423776049&sr=8-6&keywords=woodburner
1. Lightly sand your craft wood circle/disk on both sides and around the edges with a fine grain sandpaper. The wood disk used in the video measures 2 ½” in diameter – although any similar sized disk would work.
2. Select a two-part image to appear on the two sides of your wood disk. You may find it necessary to scan your image and scale it to an appropriate size for your disk. Print your image onto copy paper.
3. Lay your image over your disk and center it. Run your finger around the edge of the disk to crease the paper. Take a pair of scissors and cut along the crease line. It is easier to position and transfer your image when the image paper is the same size and shape as the disk.
4. To transfer the image, color in the backside of the paper with a pencil. Flip the paper over, face-side up and center it over your wood disk. Trace around your image with your pencil and this will lightly transfer the image to your wood disk. Keep in mind you want part of your image on one side and part on the either. When you’ve transferred the first part of your image to the first side of the wood disk, remove the paper and flip the wood disk over VERTICALLY. Then lay down your paper over the disk again and trace around the second part of your image.
5. Turn your woodburner tool on and allow it to pre-heat for 4-5 minutes. Then slowly trace along the image outline on your wood disk. The slower you drag the tip of the woodburner tool across the surface of the wood, the darker a line you will create. The tip of the woodburning tool is VERY HOT and will burn you if you touch it. Use caution and common sense when handling this tool, following any instructions and warning on the packaging of your specific woodburning tool.
6. To add color to your wood thaumatrope, consider painting in your imagery with acrylic paint. This is an optional step.
7. If you opt to paint your wood thaumatrope, allow the paint to dry and then drill two holes through the disk- one on either side of your image.
8. Cut two equal length pieces of string or twine. Take one piece of string and thread it through one of the drilled holes and tie the ends together. Repeat this action with the second pieces of string and the opposite drilled hole.
9. To play with your thaumatrope hold it with both hands – one piece of string between each thumb and forefinger. Quickly twist the stings back and forth between your thumbs and forefingers causing the disk to spin around. This action will cause your eyes to combine the images on either side of the disk and see them as one!
Paper Thaumatropes (Kid-Friendly!)
Heavier-weight cardstock paper
Regular copy-weight paper (like construction paper)
String or twine
1. Cut a circle out of the heavier-weight cardstock paper. The paper circle/disk used in the video measured approximately 5 ½” in diameter.
2. Decide on a two-part image to appear on the two sides of your paper circle/disk. The image could be drawn directly onto the disk or cut out of contrasting color paper and adhered with glue stick. In the video, the first part of the image (the hand) was cut out of the regular copy-weight paper and adhered it with glue stick to one side of the disk and then the disk was flipped over VERTICALLY and the second art of the image (the heart) was glued to the other side.
3. Using a paper punch, punch two holes into the paper disk – one on either side of the image.
4. Cut two equal length pieces of string or twine. Take one piece of string and thread it through one of the punched holes and tie together. Repeat this action with the second pieces of string and the opposite punched hole.
5. To play with your thaumatrope hold one piece of string in either hand. Flip the disk around several times to wind it up tightly and then pull string firmly – this will cause the disk to spin quickly in the opposite direction. This action will cause your eyes to combine the images on either side of the disk and seem them as one!
• If you create a paper thaumatrope using the heart and and hand image demonstrated in the video and you’re working with younger children – you may want to just trace the child’s hand on one side of the disk in crayon or marker (versus cutting a hand shape out of paper).
• You may want to consider reinforcing the punched holes in the paper thaumatrope – as repeated active play could cause the holes to tear.
• You can easily create a wood thaumatrope WITHOUT a woodburning tool – by simply painting your image on either side of the disk.