crafts,  homeschooling

Secret Picture Spinner

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I remember having as a child a picture book where each page contained a wheel of sorts with lots of slits, so that when you spun the wheel a different set of flaps came through the slits and replaced the first picture with a second one. I have been attempting these past few days to figure out how to make something similar.
My first attempt went okay. The kids and I decorated it as a birthday card for their father. It has a geometric pattern on the front but if you turn the wheel a birthday message is revealed. It is fairly simple to make and I did up a computer copy of the outline so I could make it other times (instructions and printable below). The downside of it is that using it is a little tricky. If you spin it too far then the pieces come out of their slots and it can be used again until you insert them back in. So the next day I wanted to try to try to improve upon the design. My second design is easier to use, harder to break, but also harder to make. Instructions for it follow too.

My children weren’t too interested in my project the first day until it was completed and they could help decorate. The next day they were busy working on their own attempts while I did my second one. Neither could figure out how to do it completely, but my oldest turned his attempt into a monster crab.  Knowing them though, I’ll see variations of this project turn up in later crafts of theirs.
Design #1.
This handy little picture to the side can be copied, enlarged to full page size and printed on cardstock. Put a second piece of cardstock underneath and use an art knife to cut the spokes of the wheel through both of them. Remove that one from under and finish cutting the rest of the lines. The sheet with just the spokes is your front cover picture. Enlarge the spokes just a tiny bit in each direction to make it easier to use.

The wheel should have the secret message or picture that peeks out when you turn it.

Once the pictures are drawn put the picture that will eventually be hidden on top of the picture that will eventually be your front cover. Punch a hole in the center of both and put a handy little spinner-fastner. Then hide the flaps of the top one underneath the front cover.
Variation: Cut two identical copies of the wheel and turn one backwards to insert into the other. This variation makes it easier to turn but somewhat less stable.

Design #2.

Draw three circles. The largest is going to be your base. The medium one is going to hold the secret picture. It should be able a half inch smaller than the base in diameter. The smallest size circle needs to be about an inch smaller in diameter than the base and you need two copies of it. You also need to trace it onto the two larger circles.

Take your two smallest size circles and draw a very small circle in the middle of them (about a half inch in diameter). Then divide them into quarters so that you have a total of eight small pizza pieces each with a bite out of the tip.

Draw lines dividing your large and medium sized circles into eighths. Take the pizza pieces and tape them to the lines on the largest circle (the base) so that they lay overlapping each other.

Draw a circle in the middle of your medium sized piece of paper just a little bit smaller than the very small circle you drew on what became the pizza pieces. Your medium circle should now have a tiny circle near the middle and a circle near the outer edge. Imagine this as a model of a planet with a center core, mantel and crust. It should also have lines drawn across dividing it into eighths. Cut along the lines in the mantel part leaving the core and crust whole. Then flip the sheet over (so the lines you drew are not visible) and draw a picture or write a secret message.

Then carefully insert the flaps from the base into the slots so that they can fall over and completely cover the picture you drew. You may need to enlarge the slots slightly if it doesn’t turn easily. You should be able to turn the middle circle to reveal the picture or hide it. Draw a picture on the flaps to be a “front cover.”

If when turning the circle to reveal the secret picture the flaps come out of the slots to easily, you have two choices. One is to put a bit of tape folded to prevent the flaps from moving back that far, but then there will always be a bit of the secret picture covered. The other alternative is to carefully tape pieces of cardpaper to the back of the circle with the slots, so the flaps rest on the extensions and will go back through the secret picture easier.

These are not easy crafts. I have enjoyed making them because I like challenges, and I wanted the kids to see me design and redesign something. I let them decorate the finished product. I also am fascinated right now by crafts that move. I’m hoping they encourage the kids to experiment and to think about how things can move or join together.
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