Find Your Creative Genius: Learn How to Make a Phenakistoscope

Instructions on constructing a phenakistoscope
Making a phenakistoscope is easy, regardless of your expertise and experience. Buzzle describes how to create a phenakistoscope.
Did you know...
... that the principle behind the phenakistoscope was discovered around 300 BC by Euclid, but the device was only constructed in 1841?
The phenakistoscope, also called the phenakistiscope, is an early device that used static images to create the illusion of motion. It was invented by Belgian inventor Joseph Plateau in 1841, and a similar device, the stroboscope, was invented by Austrian inventor Simon von Stampfer in the same year.
Phenakistoscopes work on the principle of persistence of vision. Our eyes take some time - a tenth of a second - to register light. The phenakistoscope tricks our brains into believing the pictures are actually in motion, by introducing new pictures before the brain registers the previous one. A modern movie camera works on the same principle, but it pitches much more frames in the same duration than these early devices, making the projection much smoother.
Phenakistoscopes are very easy to construct. They can be a great way to introduce children to crafts - they will love it when it eventually plays the 'video' of the images they stuck on it - or even a fun pastime for adults.
Phenakistoscope illustration
Here's how to create this simple and fun animation device.

WARNING: Children should be supervised while using sharp objects such as scissors and pins
What You'll Need
► Paper
► Thick cardboard
► Scissors
► Compass (geometrical) and pencil
► Glue
► Marker pen / Colored pencil
► Pencil with an eraser at the end
1. Draw a circle on a thick cardboard using a compass.

2. Cut out the phenakistoscope wheel. This will be your viewing wheel.

3. Choose a design or action sequence that you want to see in motion on your phenakistoscope.

4. Find printable copies of the design, or sketch them yourself if you can.

5. Paste the design on the cardboard wheel. Alternatively, paste the design on a paper circle and then paste the paper wheel on the cardboard wheel.

6. Cut vertical slits from the edge or from the center of the wheel (as shown in the top right image). Take care not to cut into the design.

7. Insert a straight pin through the center of the wheel. Pin a long, straight object to the wheel. A pencil with a rubber at the end is an excellent option.

8. Hold the pencil (or the object you choose) firmly, the wheel and the images or design should face the mirror, now spin the wheel.

9. From behind the wheel, look through one of the slits for the reflection in the mirror. As the wheel spins, it will produce successive images giving an illusion of motion.
Here's how to create this simple and fun animation device.