The Bicycle Race Books Complete

We finished the twenty copies of The Mexican Bicycle Race this week. David trimmed head and foot, four at a time because I am still a little anxious about slippage when using Ko-Ko.

I cut one-and-a-half inch wide strips of the paste paper we had chosen,

then cut the strips into squares.

The next step was to make a gluing mask —a piece of card stock with a hole cut in it just a little bigger than the squares.

When positioned correctly on top of the book, it permitted me to glue on a square without measuring or marking the cover. Here’s the stack of completed copies.

As I will be travelling for the next three weeks —and recovering from jet lag in Oxford England when this post goes up— I will give you a little paper toy to play with in case I don’t get to make regular posts during that time. (I promise to try!)

On a recent Friday Night Flicks I posted videos of early animation devices. While doing the research for the post I came across a number of thaumatropes. Here’s an engraving of an early thaumatrope (found here) from Popular Scientific Recreations by Gaston Tissandier (ca. 1890).

There are lots of designs out there, but the one I like best is this:

The design is by Sydney Padua, and the graphic is from Tenniel’s illustration of the Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The thaumatrope is an excellent joke based on the cat’s behaviour in the story. (Do check out Sydney’s blog at the link above: she’s an interesting and talented individual.)

When rotated quickly, the two parts blend and create the image below.

There are two ways to make a thaumatrope: the original version involves tying strings through the holes at the sides of the disc after gluing the two parts together back to back, the second involves mounting the two parts back to back on a stick.

Be warned: the two discs go together differently for the string and stick versions!

For the string version, the discs are glued back to back with the second side upside down in relation to the first. This is necessary because the thaumatrope rotates vertically on a horizontal axis.

The stick version rotates horizontally on a vertical axis, so the pieces are glued together with both sides right way up.

You can download the pdf for the string version of the Cheshire Cat here. I made a second version with no hole marks for a stick mount. You can find it here.

Print the thaumatrope you want on card stock. I made mine by cutting the discs out with extra paper around the edges, then glued the parts together while holding them against a window so that I could align things. If you are doing the stick version, don’t forget to glue a stick in the middle. I used a bamboo barbecue skewer and glued it not quite all the way to the top.

After the parts are glued together, cut out the disc. Make sure you remove all of the black line around the edge. If you are doing the stick version, you will need to use a knife of some sort to trim the paper over the stick. If you are doing the string version, punch holes and tie a short string (about 6″) on each side. You can use elastics as an alternative.

Your finished thaumatrope should look like one of these.

To operate the string (or elastic) version, you have two options: you can manually add twist to the string by flipping the disc in one direction repeatedly, then gently pull on both strings and the disc will rotate; or you can just twirl the string in your fingers. The stick thaumatrope is operated by holding the stick between your palms and rolling it by rubbing your palms together.

I found that my thaumatropes work best when viewed in relatively low light against a dark background.

Here’s a short video of a traditional bird in cage thaumatrope in action.


I thought it might be fun to design some thaumatropes myself so there is a pdf here with thaumatropes that will create these images:


Of course I had to include a traditional bird in cage.


The images above come with no holes, but there is a fourth page in the pdf with two blank circles. They are intended for you to make your own thaumatrope, but you can also use the top circle (with holes) as a guide.

You can find some other thaumatropes here, here, and here. If you want even more ideas (and more free printable DIY versions), just do a Google image search for ‘thaumatrope’.

In other book arts news:

Creative Commons YXE (a project of Void Gallery) is offering some book-binding (and related) classes again this fall. If you live in the Saskatoon area, you might want to check out what’s available here.

If you live anywhere in the world you might want to order a copy of the new Artist’s Book Yearbook 2018-2019. It is published by Impact Press at The Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol, and will be released sometime in September 2017. For more info or to order a copy go here.

In knitting news:

I finished the grey silk scarf/shawl (fichu?) and have washed and blocked both it and the one knit from crochet cotton.

The grey one is travelling with me: warm enough for Walking in the Lake District, elegant enough to wear to dinner in the evening.  ; ]





About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in animation, artist's books, book arts, bookbinding, Design, DIY, free printable, instructions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Bicycle Race Books Complete

  1. Hilke says:

    Ko-Ko? – You are in Oxford? So close by! You are very welcome to visit if you want and can!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Friday Night Flicks: The Evolution of Stop Motion | Byopia Press

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  5. Pingback: Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2020: Day Twelve and Some Thaumatropes | Byopia Press

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