My TEDx talk: this one’s for you.

Hey everyone,

Lindsey here; employee #1 at GoldieBlox, Team Mom, Rainmaker. I have something to share with you today.

I had a massive panic attack the day I did my TEDx talk.
The irony there, of course, is that I was talking about believing in yourself. Extolling your own strengths, owning your unsung superpowers. I honestly might have bailed on the whole thing if it weren’t for my kids. Total waste of a sitter if I didn’t go through with it, right? Ha.

I want to share  this talk with you, my dear Goldieverse, because you’ve inspired me to take huge chances and leaps of faith. You’ve shared your hearts, dreams, and, most importantly, your daughters.
You’ve given me countless reasons to keep pushing, and I could never repay you, not in a thousand years.

Please share this with anyone you know who has something bright and beautiful inside of them, just burning to get out. Share it with a woman who doubts her brilliance, and tell her you believe in her.

Share it with someone that’s always believed in you.

Ok, deep breath.
This one’s for you.

(CLICK HERE TO WATCH LINDSEY’S TALK)

Love,
Lindsey

P.S. I want to hear what YOU do. Tell me your superpowers in the comments AFTER you watch the talk. Trust me.

 

Straw Flute!

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Huzzah! Welcome to your ticket to first chair at the fast food
restaurant orchestra! With your new straw flute, you are sure
to razzle, dazzle, or at least mildly annoy those around you.
For the full effect, have 30 first graders make them and
impress their parents at assembly. :)

This project is quick, loud, and yet there is an amazing amount
that you can learn about sound and pitch through these small
instruments. Play, modify, and make some noise!

The details:

 

  • What: A straw flute!
  • Time: ~ 3 minutes
  • Cost of Materials: ~ 2 cents
  • Materials: Straw (medium gage)
  • Tools: Scissors
  • Concepts: Sound, Pitch, Resonance, Wind

 

Step 1: Cut your mouthpiece

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Cut one end of your straw to a point. Start by squeezing one
end together with your fingers, and then cutting two angular
cuts to get a triangle.

After you do this, you can even play it now! Sound will come
from placing the triangle between your teeth, clamping down
a bit, and blowing to make the triangular tip vibrate. It
takes a minute to get right, but once you do, you’re golden!

Step 2: Cut your flute holes

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Let’s give our flute some range! Add flute holes by bending
the straw and cutting small triangular notches. When you
unfold it, you’ll reveal your diamond-shaped flute hole.

You can add a couple, and cover or uncover them with your
fingers to get different tones. Each tone will depend on
where you place them. If you want to check what note
you’re making, you can use this free online tuner here which
uses your computer microphone.

Step 3: You’re done!

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Congratulations! You can do all sorts of modifications so
let’s see what you make!

This is fun for yourself or for a class on sound. Try cutting
the straw to different lengths to see what happens to pitch.
You can also try calculating where the holes should go to make
full chromatic scales.

If you’re interested, this is a resource on the physics behind flutes.

Happy fluting!

Brought to you by the Oakland Toy Lab, a non-profit organization
associated with GoldieBlox Inc.

Bite-sized Boombox

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Have you ever been sitting on the bus, and thought, “Man, I’m looking way too
cool”? Well you can turn all that around with the BoomBiteBox, the sound system
that goes through your teeth!

This is one of my favorite mini-projects, and explores all sort of concepts in
electro-magnetism. The most exciting of which are that motors can work like
speakers and vibrating bones can work like ears. Pretty neat, huh? Let’s make
one!

The details:

  • What: BoomBiteBox!
  • Time: ~ 15 minutes
  • Cost: ~ $2 for supplies
  • Concepts: Sound, Resonance, Electro-Magnetism, AC / DC currents
  • Materials:
    • Two wires
    • Dowel (medium size)
    • Mono 1/8″ Audio Jack
    • DC Motor 1.5-3V
  • Tools:
    • Wire Stripper
    • Soldering Iron + Solder
    • Drill w/ 1/16″ drill bit
  • Additional: Some jams to play through it!

Step 1: Strip the wire ends

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Start with two pieces of wire. They can be any length, but I
chose somewhere around 18″ each. Strip off the plastic coating
of each end, leaving about 1″ of metal exposed on each of the
four ends.

Step 2: Solder one end of each
wire to motor tab

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Take one end of each of the two wires and solder it to either
motor tab. You should have two wires unconnected, each of which
has one end attached to the motor tab. Solder it up!

Step 3: Solder the other two ends
to the audio jack

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Attach the two open ends of the wire and solder them to the
two tabs on the audio jack. Make sure they don’t touch, or
the circuit will cut out.

Step 4: Drill a hole in dowel
and push on to motor

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Before this step, your BoomBiteBox is already capable of
resonating with music. The dowel makes for a great bite plate.

You’ll want to use about a 1/16″ drill bit, and drill out a
tiny hole in the end of your dowel. Push the motor spindle in
to the dowel hole for a tight fit.

Instead of the dowel, you can use all sorts of things! We’ve
used cups, metal rods, paper clips, tables, paper cones, the
works! Find out what’s best.

 

Step 5: Bite for boom and enjoy!

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Look how happy Coby is listening to his BoomBiteBox. Awwww.

There are all sorts of experiments to do from here. You’ll find that

bass makes for better music, and that the volume depends on the

power of the amp that is playing music in to it. Try it on phones,

computers, sound systems, and see the difference. You’ll also find

that plugging your ears makes it work a lot better.

For design, if you’re going to have lots of people try it out like in a

classroom, choose a dowel which is small enough to fit a straw

around. Or have each participant put plastic or a napkin over the

dowel before biting.

With a powerful input, you can have someone plug one ear and

their other ear will function as a speaker so other people can listen

to their ear. Weird, huh? Resonance and hearing are amazing things.

Happy boombiting!

 

Brought to you by the Oakland Toy Lab, a non-profit organization
associated with GoldieBlox Inc.

New Year’s Egg Drop Challenge!

Happy New Years from Team Goldie to you!

Looking back on all the awesomeness from 2014, we cannot wait to see what 2015 brings! But first, we want to ring in the new year right with some … Engineering! A spin off the New Year’s Eve tradition of the ball drop in Times Square, we present to you – the New Year’s Egg Drop Challenge! Get ready for something egg-citing! (Sorry we had to.)

Thanks for a great year and cheers to 2015!

 

Scissor Lift (by craft sticks!)

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Scissor lifts were first built to do an incredible amount of lifting work of large
machines and workers
. However, they can also be used to poke your friends,
so that’s great, too!

This scissor lift is highly mod-able in that you make your scissor lift as short
or long as you want, and make it do strange behaviors depending on your
connectors. Have fun!

The details:

 

  • What: Scissor Lift!
  • Time: About 5 minutes
  • Cost: 25 cents
  • Materials:
    • Craft Sticks
    • Push Pins
    • Glue Sticks
  • Tools:
    • Drill
    • Scissors
  • Concepts: Simple Machines, Mechanical Engineering

 

Step 1: Drill 3 holes in craft sticks

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Make a stack of all your craft sticks, and drill three holes. You’ll want them
close to either end, and one right in the middle. The holes need to be big
enough for the tip of a push pin to get through,so not too big. We used a 1/8″
drill bit for the job.

Step 2: Cut up glue sticks

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Make your glue sticks in to small chunks that the push pins will go in to.
These can be about half an inch long. We used 1.5 glue sticks for the
whole project.

Step 3: Connect your craft sticks together

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Time to connect them all together! Line up your craft sticks as so, and
push the pin through and in to the glue stick on the other side. Some like
to do this with metal brads, but this method is great for full range of
motion with no catches.

Once you get the system of connecting middles and ends, you repeat all
the way up! You can also add in some other connections to make some
strange mechanical behaviors.

Step 4: Go out and grab things!

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Here are my futile attempts to get some coffee, but have fun with it!
You can put all sorts of things on the end to add some humor to it. Signs,
boxing gloves, pom-poms all make great starts!

Happy lifting!

Brought to you by the Oakland Toy Lab, a non-profit organization
associated with GoldieBlox Inc.

Meet the Team Behind Lightning Strikes!

When does lightning strike for you? It happens to all of us in different ways, and at different times.  We here at GoldieBlox wanted to know how the Lightning Strikes music video came together, so we asked our team when lightning strikes for them.  It all started with a concept, and that’s where Megan steps in.  She is our resident storytelling GENIUS!  She came up with the concept behind the music video, and how Goldie’s ideas would all flow from her head onto the page.  After we had the concept, it was up to our animators to Goldie to life.  This is where our amazingly talented Creative Director Andrea comes into the picture.  But we will just let our resident experts Megan and Andrea speak for themselves:

Megan 

meganMy lightning strikes moments come in the quiet. When I slow down, when all the noise goes away, that’s when my mind starts picking up speed… and fast. I can hear what’s going on inside my head. The quieter I get, the more concepts and images and words start clicking in new and unexpected ways. Some of the ideas are pretty strange (hey, weird is wonderful, right?). As long as I stay focused, it’s only a matter of time before the big idea hits.

I actually used my own process of cajoling lightning strikes moments to inspire the way I developed Goldie’s; the way she takes in and transforms the world. Where I see stories, characters, plot lines, Goldie sees the world as one big, beautiful bill of materials. Hers is a whirling, swirling mix of blox, axles, joints…everything she needs to build something new.

 

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Andrea

andreaMy job as an animator, I get to see a lot of my ideas literally come to life. The fact that I can directly see the outcome of my work is one of the most rewarding parts of what I do. What a lot of people don’t know though, is how many tries it takes to get to the ending product. Trust me, it is not magic. When I was asked about my lightning s
trikes moment, I had to think for a while, because I don’t know if I really have that AH-HAH moment. I usually start with an idea I want to explore, like Goldie and lightning strikes, and start going through my head saying, “this would be perfect in this medium”, whether it be a book, action figure or animation.

Lightning strikes for me is more about the process, rather than saying, “I know exactly what I want, and exactly how to get there.” It actually never happens like that. For example, when I am drawing Goldie, I do at least 25 poses. Sometimes she looks crazy, or like she is going to kick you in this one, or maybe that her head is too big (which may just be a quality of Goldie that I need to embrace). No matter what I have drawn or designed, I have never done it in one shot. Lightning strikes for me is when I have thought about what I want, and then I try it and it inevitably doesn’t work. Then I start looking at other influences around me, and power through it. I learn from my mistakes, and trying until I get a product I am happy with. I think this is similar to Goldie in this new animation. Goldie created her first car with Lee, and it didn’t go exactly as planned. She learned from what didn’t work, and then made something amazing. I think this process is similar for most artists, or even for life in general. Nothing turns out perfectly the first time, and then you keep powering through it. Lightning strikes isn’t about the AH-HAH, its when you keep trying and tweaking your initial idea and eventually make it work. That is lightning strikes.

 

There you have it folks.  How does #lightningstrike for you?

Straw Propellor

 

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Ever feel like you’ve wasted your breath on something? Well now every breath you take
is going to spread total wonder and joy with this straw propellor. Also a bit of saliva!
With three straws only you can create this double-spinner of a physics lesson in forces
and air pressure. It takes a bit to get started,but once you get the dynamic, you can
modify to make some pretty wonderful designs.

The details:

  • What: A Straw Propellor!
  • Time: ~ 10 minutes first time, 3 minutes after
  • Cost: ~ 5 cents
  • Materials:
    • 2 large straws
    • 1 skinny straw
    • Tape
  • Tools:
    • Scissors
  • Concepts: Air Pressure, Forces, Newton’s Laws

(Thank you to our propellor model Charlie!)

Step 1: Cut two diamond holes
in the skinny straw

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Start by cutting these two holes spaced apart on the skinny straw. Fold it back,
and cut out a triangular wedge so that when it unfolds, it makes two diamonds.

Keep some distance between the two to, because this is where the large straws will
go and you don’t want them getting tangled with each other.

Step 2: Tape the end of the skinny
straw

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Tape off one end of the skinny straw so that when you blow in to it, air can only
escape out the two holes. Trim off excess tape.

Step 3: Make a through-hole in
a large straw

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Take your first large straw and cut a through-hole by bending it in half, and
making a diagonal cut on both sides of the fold. See the diagram for details and
play around with it. It should come out looking like the photo.

Step 4: Tape both ends of the
large straw

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Tape both ends of the straw closed so that the straw is squeezed flat. When you
look through the through-hole, the flat ends of the straw should be perpendicular
to the ground. This is important for getting them to spin.

So again, hold the straw up to eye level so you can see through the through-hole.
The ends of the straw should be pinched together and taped such that the flat edge
is pointing up and down.

Step 5: Cut notches in ends of big straw

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Now it’s time to cut notches in the end of the big straw. Cut a triangular wedge on

the top-side of the left end of the straw and the bottom-side of the right end of the

straw.

This is so that when air gets pushed out the ends of the straw, with the forces going

in opposite directions, it will cause the straw to spin.

Check out the first diagram for details on this.

Step 6: Thread skinny straw through large straw

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Thread your skinny straw in to the through-hole. I like making a tape stopper around

the skinny straw to keep the the large straw in place while it spins.

 

Step 7: Repeat process for other large straw

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Go through all the steps with the other large straw and then make a tape stopper

so it can spin around the top hole.

 

Step 8: Happy spinning!

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Give it a whirl! It’s not going to spin itself! It may not look like a lot sitting at the

table, but when you spin it, mighty times are had by all.

You can experiment with all sorts of variables including:

 

  • Number of spinning straws
  • Length of straws
  • Size of Holes
  • Orientation of holes

 

Let us know any great designs you come up with!

 

 

Brought to you by the Oakland Toy Lab, a non-profit organization associated with
GoldieBlox Inc.

Team Goldie Highlight: Gordon

What’s up Bloxstars!

What festive things have you been doing this holiday vacation? Ice skating, drinking hot chocolate, tinkering away on some DIYs? Whatever it is, we wanna hear all about it! Speaking of skating… we can’t wait to give you the inside scoop on a super important member of Team Goldie that has a gazillion special talents- one of them being a PRO at skateboarding!

Meet Gordon:  The creator of digital and printed design assets for the marketing and sales team, Gordon somehow manages to take on all these tasks WHILE also assisting the Product, Gold Studios and Operations teams with specific design requests. Crazy, we know!

Gordo_SnowmanGordo_FrontsideAirGordo-Pork-and-a-Lake

What is your GoldieBlox name and what does it mean?

I’m the “Cuteness Curator”. This came about because the art direction I received from day one was “make it fun, and it’s gotta be cute.”

If you could give a piece of advice to any aspiring designers what would it be?

Find companies that appeal to you and email them. This is how you find work. Keep your emails short and to the point. “THIS is who I am, THIS is what I love about your company, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help”. Companies receive hundreds of emails a day. If you send them an essay about how awesome you are, they aren’t going to read it. Always include a link to your online portfolio, a link to your LinkedIn page and attach your résumé. Job boards are mostly a waste of time but a great way to find companies that are growing.

Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?

For a while now it’s been designer/illustrators that mix lettering, illustration and type. I always pull inspiration from a design blog called the “friends of type”. Other Designers/illustrators I look to are I LOVE DUST in London, MUTI in Cape Town South Africa, Morning Breath in NYC, Post Typography in Baltimore and Benny Gold in San Francisco.

What’s your super power?

T-Shirt folding. I owned a screen printing business and my wife owns a retail store. I can fold shirts and hoodies like it’s nobody’s business.

Tell me about any hobbies that you have outside of work.

Skateboarding has been a huge part of my life for a long time. I started skateboarding in 1989 when I was 9 years old and its the reason I moved to California. But my new hobby is about to be hanging out with my (almost newborn) son Clyde. My wife Sandy is 36 week pregnant right now. We’re both SO excited to meet him!

What is the best thing about working at GoldieBlox?

My favorite part about working at GoldieBlox is getting to work on so many different projects. I’ve had jobs where they were nothing more than “sit here, do this, all day”. Working at GB is the complete opposite. I have short and long term projects that I work on daily while at the same time collaborating with the Sales, Product, Operations and Gold Studios teams. This means every day I could be working on something new. Projects range from print design, web pages, digital assets, photography, packaging, etc… As a designer, I love this.

Check out a couple of the uber awesome things Gordon has designed! I mean look at these… SO cute.

Gordo_Work_GBwebsite_TabletGordo_Work_Blox+Bits    EggDropPoster

 

Stay warm and have a happy holidays!

BoomBucket: the Boombox Bucket!

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If you like boomboxes and you like buckets, you’re going to LOVE
BoomBucket! In fact, it’s pretty hard not to like, unless you’re
the neighbors hearing Enya play for an hour straight from the
street below.

But this is an incredible device for everything from roving dance
parties, the youth center jambox, or even easy listening Enya-style.
But it does have enough boom to be a block-bustin’ super-bucket.

We have built SO many of these, and each one is completely fun
and different. There are so many modifications and possibilities,
so add your great ideas below! The original design is very much
from the brain of David Selassie, and a big thank you to Kim W.
for gathering all the parts together.

The details:

  • What: BoomBucket!
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Cost: $115 (can substitute parts)
  • Materials:
  • Tools:
    • Drill
    • Jigsaw
    • Hot Glue gun (optional)
  • Concepts: Sound, Electronics, Circuits, Sound, Amps, Electro-Magnetism

Have so so so much fun, and send pictures!

Step 1: Prep your bucket for speakers

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First remove the handle to your bucket. You don’t want that
clanging around.

Choose two opposing sides for your speakers. Measure the backs
of your speakers such that you can screw-mount the front lip on
the outside of the bucket, and have the rest of the speaker inside.

For the speakers listed in the directions, the diameter of the
circle was 5.25″, which just so happened to be the diameter of
our roll of duct tape at that time.

Make a circle, then flip it over and do the same on the opposing
bucket side.

Step 2: Cut holes in bucket for speakers

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Time to open your bucket up! Drill in to your bucket, to make
room for the jigsaw to enter. Then cut your two speaker holes for
mounting.

Step 3: Mount your speakers

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Place your speakers over the holes, and make four dots with a marker where

the screw mounts will be. We find that it’s best to mount the speakers

upside-down so that the tabs are up for easy access.

Drill the holes, and then use a machine screw, a washer and nut to secure your

speakers on. We’ve found that hand-tightening works well, but if you want, you

can get a wrench or ratchet down in there to tighten if you want.

 

Step 4: Mount your amplifier

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Next up is your amp! Place the amp on the outside to mark where your

machine nuts should go. Take it off, then mount your speakers on a third

wall of the bucket.

We’ve found that mounting these amps (as listed in the parts list) is best

with the electronics side up. It makes attachment easier. You will have to

learn where the on/off and volume switches are in bottom, but we think it’s

worth it when you have to deal with cords.

Mount it any you please, though!

Step 5: Mount your battery with Velcro

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Your lithium-ion battery will need to come out of the BoomBucket for charging,

so we like Velcro for attachment.

A trick here is to stick the soft side on the back of the battery, and then layer the

scratchy side over that. Then you can push it against the wall beneath your amp,

and the velcro placement will line up perfectly. See the final photo for positioning.

Sidenote: We found this particular model of battery charges battery if you switch

it in to the “On” position while charging.

Step 6: Wiring time!

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Let’s get ready to wire (no-soldering needed)!

Our speakers came with crimp-on cables, so it makes it quite easy. Cut them

down so it is a little longer than the distance needed to go from speaker to your

amplifier. We crimped on the wires, then taped them along the side, and inserted

them in to the amp. This is to keep wires from getting in your way when you

reach in to the bucket.

The battery has a cord that goes directly in to the amp, so connect those, too!

Step 7: Make a place for your audio device

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Next up you’ll want to make a place to put your audio device.

We’ve made blue-tooth versions in the past, but for a convenient wired system,

first up is to make a small hole in the bucket for your audio cord to go to. Connect

one end to the input in your amp, and wire the other end of the audio cord so it

come out your bucket.

Here is a duct tape pouch example for my phone, but you can do it with Velcro,

phone-holders, or anything else depending on your use.

Step 8: You’re ready for BOOM! (some extra tips)

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You are ready to bring the party, to boom the un-boomed, and generally

merry-make wherever you go. You’ll find that a fully charged battery can last

for about 4 hours of constant music at a high volume. Yay!

There are many modifications you can do, but the next step has some tricks

and mods, too!

Step 9: Tips and Mods!

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Congratulations on your new BoomBucket pet! Here are some mods and care

items to know about.

  1. Decorate! You may like the whole Storm-Trooper-white-plastic look, but make it your own with some nifty decorations. Colored duct tape and stickers work great.
  2. Re-enforce! The number one way that BoomBuckets become undone at dance parties is from a wire slipping out of the amp. There are many solutions, but a dab of hot glue there really does the trick.
  3. Don’t crank it to 11! The amp can make the speakers go a wee too high with these models. Keep the volume level at a 9, and you’ll be able to dance hard
  4. Make a mount! Some people have added attachments for bike panniers, others as backpacks! Ours just has a trusty webbing handle to be carried around.
  5. Write with any troubles! We love talking about this stuff, so stay in touch!

Happy Booming!

Brought to you by the Oakland Toy Lab, a non-profit organization
associated with GoldieBlox Inc.

Zoetrope Holiday Ornament

Hey Bloxstars!

We are just counting down the days until the holidays! So… why not get started early? This craftstruction is super awesome because it is inspired by our Movie Maker App AND Movie Machine Toy! Can you say double whammy?

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Materials Needed:

  • 1 sheet of printer paper or 8 small pictures
  • 2 different colored pieces of construction paper
  • 2 brads
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • Tape or Glue
  • Any festive and decorative thing-a-majigs (ex. gold pipe cleaner, present bow, ribbons)
  • Optional: One of Goldie’s pets (I chose Cranky ole’ Benjamin) and 1 spacer

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Fold your piece of printer paper in half hamburger style. Take your scissors (Be careful they are sharp!) and cut along the fold. Now, take one of the halves and fold it in half 3 times until there are 8 little rectangles.

Step 2: Next, cut 1 cm thick strips from the long side of your construction paper – 2 strips of each color. Fold each of these strips in half.

Step 3: Take one of your brads and poke holes through the halves of the 4 colored strips. Then, if you have one of Goldie’s pets and a spacer, push the brad through the spacer and wrap the two ends around the spacer. Side note…Benjamin does NOT look like he’s in the holiday spirit!

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Step 4: Draw and cut out your mini stop motion animations or you can use 8 small photographs. Want some inspiration on how to create animations? Check out examples and tutorials in our Movie Maker App.

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Step 5: Tape or glue your 8 frames onto the strips of construction paper as shown in the picture. Make sure they are all facing the right way!

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Step 6: Now, this part is a little tricky but you are going to take the second brad and punch holes through all of the ends of the colored strips and then flatten the two bendy parts so that the ends all stay together!

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Step 7: Attach a pipe cleaner, ribbon, or string to the brad on the top of the globe and … Ta-da! You’ve got yourself a zoetrope ornament – give it a spin to see your animation!

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Now all that is left is to decorate your ornament and give it a SPIN!