Flip Books for Teens to Make

By Shellie Braeuner
The simple act of flipping through pages can create an animated world.
The simple act of flipping through pages can create an animated world.

Flip books have been around since the end of the 1800s, according to Flipbook.info, a website devoted to the history of this art form. Essentially, flip books were the predecessors of movies and cartoons. A flip book contains a series of drawn or photographed pictures. Each picture has a slight difference from the one before. The pictures are stacked and bound so that when a viewer flips through the book, she sees what appears to be a short movie. There are many ways for this project to appeal to teens.

Animated Sticky Pad

Your teen can make his own animation with nothing more than a pad of paper and a pen. Flip books tend to be smaller so that the pages can be flipped rather than turned, so stick with a smaller pad of paper such as a block of sticky notes. First the teen must decide whether to flip the book from front to back or back to front. This determines whether the first picture starts on the first page of the pad or the last. Ask the teen to flip the pad in whatever way feels natural to him to help him make the decision. After choosing the start page, the teen draws a simple stick figure or doodle. He flips to the next page and draws the same figure with a slightly different pose. For example, he might draw a stick figure with one arm that rises slightly in each picture until the hand is raised in greeting. When the book is flipped, the pictures combine to appear that the stick figure is gesturing hello.

Animated Journal

The pictures of a flip book don’t have to take over the whole page. Teens can add a little life to their journal by adding flip book action to one corner. The teen simply chooses whether to start at the front or back of the journal. On the designated first page, the teen draws a tiny doodle or figure in the margin of one corner. On the next page, she draws the figure with a slight difference, continuing until every page has an image. When she flips through her journal, she can watch a small scene that sums up her thoughts.

Photo Flip Book

Digital cameras use an electronic version of the flip book for video recording. They simply take a series of pictures and show them in succession to create the video. Teens can harness this technology to make their own flip books. Simply choose a short video clip, between 10 and 15 seconds. Print out the images as still photos. Stack the pictures in order and staple or punch holes to bind the paper together. Another fun option is to use stop motion photography. In this method, one teen takes individual pictures as the other moves slightly for each shot. The pictures are printed, stacked and bound. When flipped, the images combine to create a short video.

Flip Book Memories

Once they become adept at creating flip books, teens can use these skills for a wide variety of situations. Why not create a short flip book to ask someone out, or make up after a fight? Take short video clips from dances, performances or games and print them out for photo flip books of special events. Teens can raise money for the school by creating and selling flip books of that special basket that won the championship or any other special moment. Teens can also create flip books to celebrate and announce milestones such as getting their driver’s license, graduating or getting into the college of their dreams.

About the Author

Based in Nashville, Shellie Braeuner has been writing articles since 1986 on topics including child rearing, entertainment, politics and home improvement. Her work has appeared in "The Tennessean" and "Borderlines" as well as a book from Simon & Schuster. Braeuner holds a Master of Education in developmental counseling from Vanderbilt University.