Make your own zoetrope inspired by DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition — Journey from Sketch to Screen, previously on show at the Museum from 12 September 2019 to 2 February 2020.
Did you know ...
A zoetrope is a device that gives the illusion of a moving image. The earliest zoetropes are from the 1860s.
The Museum's collection includes a model praxinoscope and a chromatrope, which used a series of slides. Modern ones can include the use of 3D technology.
How to make your own zoetrope
Skill level: ★★★ Challenging — you may need an adult to help
Time: 40–60 minutes
What you need:
- cartridge paper (this stronger paper card can be bought at local art stores)
- pencils and textas
- pebble, marble or string (something for your zoetrope to pivot on)
- print outs of the zoetrope and animated strips templates.
Parts of a zoetrope:
- Wall — the outside part of your zoetrope. When you spin the zoetrope and look through the gaps you will see your animation.
- Base — the circular bottom part that attaches to the wall
- Animation strips — two strips of paper (21 cm wide x 4 cm high) that fit inside the wall. This is where you make your frame-by-frame drawing.
- Pivot point — the centre point from where the zoetrope will spin.
- Gather your materials.
- Download the zoetrope and animation strip templates and print them out.
- Glue the template onto the cartridge paper.
- Once the glue is dry, cut out the template using scissors. Remember: scissors are sharp! Please ask an adult for help. Don’t forget to cut out all the narrow viewing slits.
- Tape the wall ends together to form a circle. Keep the black side facing outwards.
- Tape the walls to the base, making sure the slits are at the top.
- Turn your zoetrope over. Tape a small, smooth pebble or marble to the centre of the circular base, to provide a pivot point for the zoetrope to spin on.
- Turn the zoetrope back over, so the slits are at the top.
- Cut out the animated strips from the template.
- Practice drawing your animation in pencil on scrap paper.
- When ready, draw the stages onto the animation strip, in sequence.
- Place the animation strip into the zoetrope against the wall, below the slits.
- Look through the slits from the outside while you spin the zoetrope. Does your animation come to life?
- Test out different designs and animations.