Home > Random Stuff > Make a Thaumatrope

By Ruth Barnard

With a homemade thaumatrope you can watch your own drawings merge together like magic. You probably have everything you need to make one right now…


What you need:

• Card or thick paper

• Rubber bands

• Pencil and colouring pencils

• Hole punch

• Compass or a lid as a circle stencil






What to do:

1. Draw a circle onto the card and cut it out, creating a card disc.

2. Punch a hole near the edge of the disc and then punch one more hole directly opposite the first.

3. Draw the first part of your design or picture onto the disc and then flip the disc over and continue drawing the rest of your design.

4. Thread a rubber band through each hole and keep it secure by looping the band through itself.

5. Spin your disc to test it out and if something is not drawn in the right place now is a good time to rub it out and try again. When you are happy with your design you can colour it in.




How to Play:

Wind the elastic bands up by twisting them between your thumb and forefinger and then pull tight to watch the disc spin. You can also just twist the bands in your fingers which will make the disc spin.

We used elastic bands but you could also experiment with different lengths of string for different effects.


Image Inspiration:

• A common image for thaumatropes in the Victorian era was a bird on one side and a cage on the other. When the disc spins it looks like the bird is in the cage.

• Create your own little animated image, you could draw an open mouth and closed one or a wall and then a head peeking over the top.

• Experiment with writing words or drawing geometric patterns.


Did you know? Thaumatrope translates (roughly) into Greek as “Wonder Turner”

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