Stop Motion Animation: Create Movies Using a Tablet or Smartphone

You don't have to be a filmmaker or even be able to record video to create a movie clip with stop motion animation. 

Looking for a fun activity to do at home? Why not make a movie! Even if you don’t want to step behind the camera, there are a multitude of fun ways you can use stop motion to create a simple animated film or short sequence you can play on a loop. 

 

Stop motion is an animated filmmaking technique in which you physically move your subjects in small increments and take still images or photos of each scene. Using stop motion software, you can play the series of frames back and your subject will appear to move!

 

In The Hive: A Makerspace presented by The Isaacs Family, we like to make stop motion films using our iPads and the Stop Motion Studio app which is available for most devices. 

Here is what you’ll need to make a stop motion film:

  • A tablet or smartphone with Stop Motion Studio.
    Once you download the app, be sure to watch all of the instructions before you get started! 
  • A stand or something to hold your tablet/phone in place.
    You can make a stand out of cardboard, use a stand you have at home, build something with scrap materials, or if you have access to it, 3D print a stand!
  • Masking tape to mark off where your camera will stay.
    The most important thing with stop-motion animation is to keep your camera angle and view consistent so each frame of your animated film will line up.
  • A backdrop for your film.
    You can use a sheet or a piece of posterboard or a piece of cardboard or some butcher paper you’ve drawn a backdrop on or even a poster – do you have a large landscape photo or art print somewhere? Use that!
  • Characters!
    You could make a movie with anything! You can draw and cut out figures from cardboard or paper and move them around or you could get some action figures involved. Maybe you want to recreate the opening of Star Wars using cardboard, Barbies, and a baby Yoda doll. You can!

More things to consider when putting together your stop motion animation creation:

  • Music!
    You can use the music from a movie you like, or recreate a music video for your favorite song, or you can make your own music!  Here are some fun online resources for music like an online synthesizer, a cool song maker, and royalty-free music.  
  • Special effects
    We don’t mean computer visual effects, I mean use your creativity! Can you make a colored light? Can you use crinkled tissue paper as an explosion or a fire?
  • Get creative with scale 
    Forced perspective can create some fun effects with stop-motion animation.
  • Shadows!
    You could do an entirely shadow-based stop-motion film using a light, a sheet, and some fun cutouts.
maker workshop for stop motion animation at Orlando Science Center's adult night

For inspiration, check out some of these cool stop motion videos! 

Want to skip the storyboard and go straight to the stop motion? Try a shot-for-shot remake of an existing video!

Do you have LEGO sets at home? You’re halfway to a good themed film like this Force Awakens-themed stop motion project!

Here’s a fun tutorial on how to animate a fight scene in stop-motion animation. Can you use any of these techniques in your movie?

Build a Birdhouse Upcycled Activity: A Maker Project Worth Tweeting About

Build a birdhouse to attract your fine-feathered friends!

Do you have a quart carton in your recycling bin? Why not turn it into a home for your local birds? Birds are some of the best tenants. They're not picky about their homes and are pretty grateful to have them. They may even thank you with a sweet song. 
 
Here are some tips so you can build a birdhouse you will be proud of!
 

Materials:

  • An empty quart carton

  • A pair of scissors

  • A ruler or measuring tape

  • Decorating supplies (optional)

  • String or ribbon

 

Note: Have your grownup help you with the cutting and poking holes steps! These can be tricky.

Directions:

  • Rinse out your carton. Give those birds a fresh start!

  • About halfway up your carton, cut a hole about an inch wide. Quart cartons are about the right size for a wren – they like to have a small entryway so that bigger birds can’t invade their house.

cut-quart-carton-for-wren-birdhouse-diy
  • Poke some holes in the bottom of the carton to drain out rain.

  • Start decorating! Birds have color vision, so they can enjoy the same colors that you can!

decorate-your-upcycled-birdhouse
  • When you’re finished decorating, poke a hole in the top part of the carton.

  • Thread a piece of string, ribbon, or fabric scrap through the hole.

how-to-hang-your-diy-birdhouse
  • If you want to create a little perch for the birds, you can find a narrow twig, poke a hole through the sides of your birdhouse, and thread it through!

  • Hang your birdhouse up on a tree! The birdhouse should hang at least four feet off the ground.

build-birdhouse-to-hang-outside-with-orlando-science-center-activity

What will attract birds to the birdhouse you built?

 

Wrens eat insects, so it’s no big deal if you don’t have a bird feeder. You can help attract birds by putting some water out for them in a birdbath! You can use any shallow container, like a plastic food container, for this – it only needs to be a few inches deep.

 

If you want to get creative, wrens have been known to enjoy peanut butter! Try putting a dot on the tree near your birdhouse.

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Make Avocado Dye to Upcycle T-Shirts

Did you know that you could make avocado dye at home out of your guacamole scraps?

Avocados have a special tannin, an acid present in plants, that turns fabric to beautiful a beautiful pale pink or peach color. This tannin acts as a mordant, or fixative, that helps the dye to stick to the fabric fibers. Learn how to extract tannin from the pit and skin of avocados to make your own fabric dye!  

Materials you will need:

  • Skins and pits of two avocados
  • A large stainless steel pot
  • Heat safe container (bowl, basin, pot)
  • A strainer or sieve
  • A clean white t-shirt (you could also use a bandana, scarf, tank top, whatever you like – just make sure it’s a natural fabric for best results)
  • Optional: gloves for handling dyed fabric (you can also just wash your hands afterwards!)
Avocado skin and pit pieces on cutting board

Directions:

  • Rinse the avocado off your pits & stones. You don’t need to be too thorough with this - the strainer will take care of any avocado pieces that are left behind.
  • Heat water on low heat in your stainless steel pot, enough for your pits & skins to float in. Just heat – don't boil! Be very careful as boiling will turn your dye brown.
Rinsing Avocado Pit Piece
  • Drop the pits into the water. Tear up the skins & drop them in. Don’t forget to remove any stickers!
  • Cover & let the water simmer on low heat. Check on it frequently. If the water is starting to bubble, lower the heat.
Avocado Pieces In Pot
  • Check on the water for color. Because plants vary & tap water can have different minerals in it, the time you will need to extract the tannin will vary as well – somewhere between 30 & 60 minutes.

  • Once you’re happy with the color, strain the dye into a heat safe container.

Straining Avocado Pieces
  • Repeat steps 2 – 6 with the same avocado pieces to make another batch. Do this as many times as you need until you have enough dye to submerge your t-shirt.

Avocado Pieces Recooking
  • Submerge your white shirt into the dye. You can either put a lid on your container to keep it warm or leave it out in the sun.
Submerging T-shirt In Dye
  • Let it sit! Leave your shirt in the dye for at least an hour. You can leave it overnight if you want a deeper color.

Avocado Shirt Dyeing In Tub
  • Remove your shirt & rinse it in cold water. You can let it air dry or throw it in the dryer by itself.

Avocado Shirt Rinsing In Sink
  • Admire your handiwork! You now have a fabulous new shirt made with natural dye.

Dyed T-Shirt

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!