Steven Caney's Handmade Toy Book

If the thought of making handmade toys appeals to you, here are three ideas from a toy book filled with them.

| November/December 1973

Toys—especially the homemade kind—have a special fascination around Christmas. If the seasonal bug is biting you, Workman Publishing Company has the toy book you need: a fat paperback full of low-cost, do-it-yourself playthings to be made for, with, or by children.  

Steven Caney's Toybook is copyright©1972 by Steven Caney. The following excerpts are reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Company, Inc.

Movie Wheel

Did you ever wonder how a movie camera or a movie projector works? If you take a close look at a piece of movie film, you'll see a series of separate still photographs, each slightly different from the one before it. A movie camera takes each of the still pictures in very quick order...about twenty-four pictures every second; the movie projector shows the pictures back to you at the same speed, so the still pictures look as though they are moving. Movies are really an optical illusion.

The MOVIE WHEEL can be both a movie camera and a movie projector. If you spin the wheel while looking through the slits, any motion you see will appear as a series of still "stop action" pictures. Here are some things to look at that you might find interesting: waving arms, a dripping faucet, yourself in a mirror, a spinning coin, ping-pong games, a bouncing rubber ball, spinning bicycle wheels, a television show.

Start by turning the wheel very slowly, and then turn it faster. What happens? The slots in the wheel act as shutters that open and close, letting the light come through for only a fraction of a second at a time. The brighter the light, the more light will come through the shutter, and the brighter the image will be. A movie camera shutter works the same way. (Maybe someone will show you a camera shutter.)

The MOVIE WHEEL can also "show movies" by making a series of still pictures move. Draw a series of separate, sequential pictures, each between the slots on the wheel, ten pictures in all. The pictures can be quite simple—a ball getting bigger, for example—or quite complicated. Stand in front of a mirror and look through the slits while spinning the wheel. Be sure the drawing side of the wheel is facing the mirror and is well lit. The pictures will appear to move and come to life. Turn the wheel at different speeds. What do you see? What do you think might happen if you drew a series of nine or eleven pictures evenly spaced around the wheel? Try it.

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