I’ve wanted to try making a thaumatrope spinner for awhile, and when I recently saw these on the Made in Me blog, I had to give it a try. I just finished a bird painting for a commission, so I used it for the design. When spinning, it almost looks like the bird is flapping its wings. The kids were really excited to see the illusion, and the act of spinning it was just as exciting.

If you want to try it out, I made two templates. One like in the photos, and one to color in. Just cut out the circles and find a stick or drinking straw and tape or glue the circles onto the end of the stick. (Use the small gray line at the bottom to line up both sides with the stick.) Then start spinning!

Click on the templates below, then print. (Each template makes two thaumatropes.)

35 Responses
  1. modernmaam

    I LOVE that you have them on branches instead of in a cage! I also never knew what to call these things. Thanks! :)

  2. Nicki Mc

    These are fabulous things. I was caught on vacation with a bored 5 year old and a house full of sleeping adults. They are so simple to make, but create such delight.

    Thanks for the templates, I'm printing them right now.

  3. Joel Henriques

    Thanks everyone! Yeah, I love this classic toy! I've been picking it up and giving it a spin multiple times a day. ha.

  4. Marta

    How classic and fun! I love it! Thanks! In Spanish we call this 'maravilla giratoria', wonderturner in English, I think.

  5. LadyJ

    All 4 of my little ones had a blast doing this and have been playing with them now for 3 days straight. Thanks :)

  6. Nanah Kamaki

    Dear Joel,
    I really enjoyed your work, so I wrote about you in my blog "Mondo Supernova (www.mondosupernova.com). It is in Portuguese, because I'm Brazilian! Sorry! (laughter!)
    I received positive comments from friends and particularly, I admire your work.
    Good luck!

  7. Joel Henriques

    Thanks everybody! I'm glad you're all having fun with the birds!

    Nanah Kamaki – Thanks for the very kind post!

  8. AmberCake

    Super Excellent! Just did this with my 3 year old and a friend's toddler. They were a quick hit AND I learned that my kid's scissors skills are way better than I knew. He wanted to do more right away.

    I also love that it's a modern sensibility twist on the traditional bird-in-a-cage. I think I'm going to draw an owl in a tree trunk for him.

    Thanks so much.

  9. Jo

    JOEL! Can I re-post your bird thaumatrope on our new blog and real-time making of a new Australian creative arts magazine for kids and artists
    Our first call to artists and kids is for responses to 'bird' or 'first flight' – maybe you are even wonderfully mad enough to think about contributing?!! Just found you through Anorak and will link to you on BIG if you are happy for that. tweet tweet!

  10. Joel Henriques

    Thanks everybody!

    Jo- Yes, you can totally post the bird thaumatrope on your blog. I wish I had time to contribute something else, but I'm slammed with work for the next two months.

  11. marta

    you put the 'cool' in arts and crafts. am super excited to land into your artistic space. am always hunting out good new ways to play with my toddler. thank you! will be subscribing.

    happy president's day.

  12. miss amomynous

    i happened across your blog today, and i LOVE every idea you have! i have a small daycare, and two small children of my own and we'll be replicating many of these ideas! i also wrote about your blog and this post today in my blog! =)
    thanks for the inspiration!