Bugs in a Jar Thaumatrope


Have a little amusement by making a classic Thaumatrope toy. Downloadable template for this design included.

You’ll Need:

Printout of the Template (see below)
Thin, non printed cardstock or cardboard
Twine or Ribbon
Hole Punch


Print out the template with bugs and jar images here:

Download PDF Button



1.) Print out the template and cut out the circles along the dotted lines. Use one of these to trace a matching circle on your cardboard and cut it out.

2.) You should have a front and back image and a circle of cardboard to go in between and make it sturdy.

3.) Line up the small vertical lines that are printed on the very tops of the template and glue one picture to each side of the cardboard. (Your jar image should be upside down compared to your bugs.) When the glue dries, punch holes on either end of your circle.

4.) Loop a few inches of twine through each circle punch. (Mine was about 10″ doubled on each end).


Just hold each end of the string in your hands and ‘wind’ the toy quickly several times by flipping the card in circles. Pull your strings taut and let it go. You should see an optical illusion of the bugs being in the jar. Watch the effect in the mirror or have someone stand directly in front of it to see.

Thaumatrope-Spin copy

These are bees but my son added a little yellow glow with a yellow marker to make them ‘fireflies’.


You can have fun making your own images too. You may have seen a version with a bird in a cage. The bugs and jar images I used here are courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

You can read more about Thaumatropes here.

Psst…if you like this project, please consider sharing it with others!

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