DIY Tutorial: Zoetrope Animation

Show off your story by making it come to life with this easy animation trick!

The tutorial was created by Tori Story, the adult/teen programmer at our Cold Spring Branch. If you have any questions about the tutorial, please email her at

Supplies Needed

  • Pie tin (or another similarly shaped object like a paper plate)
  • Stiff black paper (such as construction paper or cardstock)
  • Marble
  • Wide tape (like masking tape)
  • Scissors
  • White paper (or premade zoetrope strip, like this example The_Zoetrope_Project)

Step 1

Cut out the zoetrope strip or make your own. Then, cut the black paper into a strip that is as long as the white strip but twice as tall. You can use tape to connect multiple pieces of paper to make one strip.

Step 2

Cut slits in the black paper that are the same width apart as the frames of the zoetrope strip. The slits should stop halfway through the black paper, leaving enough room for the white pieces to lay on top of the black paper with no cuts.

Step 3

Find the middle of the plate/round object and cut a hole slightly smaller than the marble. Secure the marble in place with a piece of tape or a dot of glue. When set face-up, the plate should balance and spin on the marble.

Step 4

Connect the ends of the black strip to make a circle. Use tape to secure it to the plate with the cuts up. Slip the zoetrope paper inside of the black paper. You can use a small piece of tape to connect them and hold it in place if necessary.

Step 5

Spin your zoetrope like a top and look through the black slits to watch the animation.

More News