The materials needed to make simple thaumatropes are minimal: craft scissors, miniature images, and long pieces of thread or cording to “spin” the thaumatrope. The trick to the classic thaumatrope is to have two different images glued back-to-back, right side up, so when the disc is spun, the images will create one picture.
Popular subjects for this optical illusion include the traditional bird and cage combination often seen in Victorian illustrations, but the possibilities are limited only by the imagination.
Great Halloween concepts include a spooky moon and clouds, a haunted house and bats, even a witch and a broomstick. Creative designs are available online, with thaumatrope image templates, tips, and designs that will yield inspiration for creating your own.
Printable images are available, but many budding artists may prefer to design their own and draw them by hand. To copy images for Halloween-themed thaumatropes, use the pictures included in this article or Google the web for free Halloween thaumatrope designs.
Materials Needed for Halloween Thaumatropes
- Printed thaumatrope images (available online)
- computer printer
- measuring tape
- magic markers
- small hole punch
- embroidery thread or rubber bands
- glitter (optional)
Print or draw the images on cardstock, then draw a circle around each one with the image in the center. Cut them out and use a glue stick to apply adhesive to the back of one of the circles. Press them together, back to back, making sure the images are aligned, then let the thaumatrope dry.
Constructing a Thaumatrope
Punch a hole in either side, then tie a thread or a severed rubber band through each hole. Twist the threads to see the image spin and “marry” the two images on either side into one complete picture. Whether it’s bats bursting out of a haunted house or a witch on a broomstick, the images should line up perfect if the picture is centered in each side of the medallion.
Use glue to trace around the edges of each side and sprinkle glitter for an extra-creative touch. Glitter paint or glue will also work for tracing along the sides of each circle to make the thaumatropes more decorative, especially if they are intended to be used as party favors.
If preferred, substitute light craft ribbons or elastic cords for the threads or rubber bands. Thaumatropes can also be glued to a cardboard center to make the design more durable, since kids love creating their own designs and sharing them with friends.
Halloween thaumatropes are perfect for use as Halloween party favors or as unique items passed out to trick or treaters who stop by. They can also be used in party “grab bags”, and pinatas, along with other holiday treats and goodies.