May 5, 2009

Packing tape movie reels

This idea came from when I was about eight or nine years old and my parents let me go to a kind of art class type dealio at the local art gallery on a saturday morning. It looks like they still do art workshops for kids all these years later. I must find out if there's anything on when we head back to visit the family! The workshops I went to were run for kids around 8 to 12 years in age and one of the projects that stands out in my memory for it's awesomeness was when the guy who ran the class and his girlfreind stripped clean a load of cinefilm and let us kids paint it with all sorts of patterns using what must have been some kind of translucent paint. After the class he took it all home and spliced it together and then the next week we got to watch our crazy abstract film, projected on the gallery wall. Very fond memories!

Well, I don't have cinefilm, chemicals to strip it clean, or a an appropriate projector for such a project, but...

I found this weird kind of projector at the local savers for $2. It's basically the projector part of this toy with none of the other stuff that it comes with, not even the base, but it works for what I want it for, because it's got a slot that I can slide a length of "film" through and out the other side.

The "film" was made by putting strips of clear packing tape back to back. You do get some bubbles, which could be avoided by using strips of Overhead projector transparencies or similar clear plastic strips cut from the windows in toy packaging, but we had the packing tape handy and the bubbles are kinda fun anyway.

The kids drew on their strips of film with sharpies and then I spliced them together with more packaging tape to make the movie reel.

We projected the movie inside the rocket ship, because it was the middle of the day and our curtains are rubbish at cutting out light. It was rather crowded in there with me as the projectionist and all six kids, but they thought it was cool, and now they have seen how it works, we'll likely do it again, but screen the next show after dark, so we have a bit more space to veiw it. Now they have seen how the movie threads through to project I suspect I can get the kids to use it as a story telling medium. Here are a few bits we managed to catch on tape...

Note to self: When cramming lots of preschoolers into a small space for more than five minutes, make sure everyone has been for a pee first.


  1. You're outta control! Sooo good :)

  2. You're outta control! Sooo good :)

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  4. Hi Kitten Muffin! Quiet night tonight so am catching up with blogs. I love this project - I think this is a classic example of the sort of stuff you do with your kids that makes me love your blog. I like how your projects are done in context (the best way I can explain, sorry if it makes no sense to you) - you know, like when I come to the end of the post, I'm thinking, "now that is a good and complete project. I can't think of how I could complete it more." Maybe, and only when I've had strong tea and someone is babysitting the kids the whole day, I might be able to think of one way I might do a variation for my own (younger) kids. But not make it complete-r than how you've done it. Fabulous - clever, ingenious, original and more than just frilly-pretty. There is no other blog out there like yours!

  5. I love this - and it's so fun to see how excited the kids are to see their movie reels :)


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