Paper spinners come in all shapes and sizes including top-style spinners that spin on a flat surface, wind rotated spinners and hand-rotated spinners. This is a method for making a thaumatrope or optical illusion hand-rotated paper spinner.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Paper or index cards
- Nail or hole punch
- Pen or markers
- Printed images (optional)
- Double-sided tape (optional)
Buy heavyweight paper in various colors or index cards.
Cut two pieces of paper to your desired paper spinner size and shape and set aside. If using index cards, skip this step.
Stack together your two pieces of paper or index cards. With a hole punch or carpentry nail (depending on how large you want the hole to be), punch a hole at one end and then another at the exact opposite end. For example, on a four-sided index card, you would punch a hole at the center of one edge and then at the exact same spot on the opposite edge.
Tape an image, or draw one with your pen or markers on one index card. Then create another image slightly smaller than the first on another index card. Stack the cards together with the images facing in opposite directions from each other, and set aside. In other words, the images will not be facing.
Measure your string, cut off 8 inches, set the string aside and repeat.
Tie the ends of one string together in a knot to create a circle of thread and repeat with your second length of string. Thread one end of your first circle length through one of your holes and either tie off in a knot or pull the opposite end up through the circle's middle to create a loop. Repeat with the other length of string and the opposite hole.
Twist both strings until tight and, grasping each end in either hand, let go of the strings so that the paper spinner in the center will spin to display your optical illusion (for example, a cat sitting inside of a box). To continue the illusion as the twisted string unravels, roll the string back and forth between your thumbs and first fingers of each hand.
Tips and warnings
- Use two different colored pieces of paper in Step 2 for each side of your spinner or designer paper with differing designs to create unique optical illusions. For example, yellow and red pieces that spin to create the illusion of a traffic light changing from yellow to red.