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How to Make a Zoetrope


A Zoetrope is a fun little optical illusion project that uses persistence of vision to create an animation from a series of images.

You create it by putting a series of images on the inside of a drum or tube and cutting a series of slits to look through. When you rotate the drum the images blend together and come a live.

Really is a pretty neat project and very easy to make. I even give you a template you can cut out and use.

I also have a video tutorial for this project at the bottom of the page.

The Template is here

(Thanks for coming over from youtube! I need a day to finish this tutorial)



The Zoetrope

The Zoetrope


Materials Needed:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Glue or glue stick
  • Sharp hobby knife
  • Pencil or marble for the axle
  • The template if you want to make my zoetrope
  • Optional: You can use a cardboard tube for the drum

Let's Get Started:

Print up and tape the template

Print up the template and cut out the two pieces with the dragonslayer hammering on an anvil. Use glue, glue stick or tape to attach those two strips together making one long strip like this.

This is the animation.






Glue the pattern to firm paper or cardboard

That piece of paper is a bit flimsy so glue it down to posterboard or cereal box cardboard. Then cut it out.







Cut out the slots

Now use a nice sharp knife to cut out those eight slots.









Cut out the disk

Next, the template has the disc in it. Cut that out and use it as a template to measure and cut out a disc of cardboard or foamboard. (You cut out this disc, place it on foamboard and trace it. Then cut the foam board.)

See the X in the middle? That is important. Pin prick through that into your foamboard or cardboard disc so you know where the center of that is.

Hmm... Is it disc or disk? Not sure. Email me if you know.




The foamboard disc

Here is the disc. Looks great.









Glue pictures to disk

Next glue the strip all the way around the disc like this.









Insert a pencilNext we need some way to rotate the zoetrope. You can push a pencil into the foam board right where you made the pin prick in the center. Put a little glue on it if you think it won't hold.








Add a marble

Or you can make a bit of a hole in the center and glue a marble into it like this. It will rotate nicely on the marble.









Spin itThat's it! You are done. Rotate it and look through the slots. You will see the little dragonslayer hammering at the anvil.

I have more tips and tricks in the video.








Watch the Video Tutorial Here:


A zoetropeZoetrope Animation Toy: Classic Victorian Motion Illusion Toy Replica






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