Make a flip book animation

Flip book showing a boom box and musical notes


We made plenty of these ourselves in the 1980s and 90s, so hope you have as much fun as we used to!

You will need:

  • A notepad, post-it stack or paper
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Stapler (optional)
  • A pencil or pen


1. If you haven’t got a notepad or post-it stack to hand you’re going to need to start by making your own. Otherwise, jump ahead to instruction 5.
2. Start by folding the piece of paper in half lengthways and then into a concertina.

A4 paper folded lengthwise and into a concertina


3. Open up the concertina and then cut down one of the long folds, so you end up with a little 'v' of paper. Repeat with each fold.

 Making little 'v' of paper

4. Lay all the little folds of paper on top of each other so the bottom edges line up nicely and staple at the folded end.
5. You’re going to draw a series of images that will look like an animation when the book is flipped. So before you start drawing think about something simple that you’ll be able to draw many times and which can move across the page. As you get the hang of flip books you’ll be able to draw and animate more complicated things.

6. Turn to the bottom sheet of the flip pad and draw your first image (near to the bottom right-hand corner of the page if you’re using a notepad).

 Starting with the bottom page of the flip book

7. Lay the next sheet down on top and trace any part of the image that will not be moving. Then draw your moving item in a slightly different position. It’s a bit like telling a story, so think about the steps your object needs to make to get from the start to the end of the story over the course of the flip book. 

8. Continue laying down each page and making a new image, composed of the static and moving parts until you run out of pages, or think that your ‘story’ is finished.

9. It’s time to flip! Pick up the bottom edge of the flip pad in one hand and quickly let each page fall in succession. What do you see?

What's happening?

What you’re seeing is an optical illusion. Even though each picture you’ve drawn is static, when you look at them in quick succession your brain can’t see each one individually. Instead it sees one moving image – an animation!