A thaumotrope is a very simple optical toy, that works by showing two pictures so quickly that your brain is deceived into thinking they are one picture. We’ve attached a set of simple pictures to get you started, but you can use any two pictures you like (but, keep it simple. Black and white, cartoon-style works well, but complicated pictures will be difficult to perceive).

When we make these in school, we use Correx (Corriflute) a lightweight plastic sheet, and wooden dowel. You probably don’t have these to hand, but we have found that using bamboo skewers and cardboard gives similar results.I found the skewers in the local pound shop, and the cardboard from one of the many packages that have been delivered.

Choose two pictures, and stick them on either side of a piece of cardboard. Make sure you stick the pictures so that they are the same way up as the corrugated flutes in the cardboard (as shown in ths picture).

Push a skewer up into the cardboard, ensuring a tight fit. Then hold the completed thaumotrope between your hands and rub them backwards and forwards quickly, so that the cardboard spins round. Watch what happens to the picture.

Download the thaumotrope template below

Thaumatrope .pdf

If you enjoyed making these, have a go at Moving Pictures 1

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