How to Make a High-Quality Flip Book

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When you were young, did you ever make little animations in the corners of your notebooks? I know I did! And they were super fun to make! Today on this Instructable I teach you how to make High-Quality Flip Book that will last a long time and will be very inexpensive. The Flip Book you learn to make here will be a fun thing to show your friends and family and will teach you the basic elements of flip animation! I'm so excited to help you make this project happen and help make your imagination a reality!

This project is an entry is the "Paper" Contest so if you like what you see here, please leave a like, a comment, and a vote! I would greatly appreciate it!

Anyone can do this so let's get to it!

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Step 1: Materials

All you will need for this project are the following:

  • Index Cards (With at least 1 blank side)
  • Binder Clips (Depending on what kind of binding you choose)
  • Glue (Depending on what kind of binding you choose)
  • Colored Pens/Pencils (Optional)
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Light Box (I teach you how to make one here - perfect for a wireless, portable light source and storage!) or a light pad or any other method you come up with!

This is an extremely low-cost, high-reward Instructable that I know you will have a lot of fun doing! Let's get to making!

Step 2: Understanding Animation

The key to animation is replicating an image over and over again with slight variations in order to capture a moving visual sequence. This can be rather difficult when drawing complex images like a face frame by frame, (Picture 1, cartoonbrew.com) but also can be rather simple - like a ball dropping (Picture 2, https://indiaholdenap.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/bou...) When done properly, it looks like an image comes to life or is actually moving. For the sake of this Instructable, we would like to achieve something similar to the ball dropping - nothing too complex but still very visually appealing.

If you are struggling to come up with an idea for your flipbook, I highly recommend starting with the ball animation (Picture 2).You can even use the photo I have here as a reference! It really drives home the principle of animation and it still looks fantastic once it is completed. Also, you don't have to worry about replicating different images over and over again, but rather just one image a couple of times. The sequence above even numbers the frames for you so I would recommend giving that a try if this may seem a bit daunting. Also, feel free to play around with different angles and projectile motions to make it your own!

Step 3: Inspiration

Depending on what kind of flip book you want to make, this could be the easiest or the hardest step for you. If you want to make a grade school ball bouncing type book then there really isn't too much thought or complication to it. However, if you want movement, frame changing, or a story to be told through it, then its going to take some thought and planning.

Inspiration for these types of books can come from the simplest of places. For example, my internet this last week has had problems working and when that would happen, I would keep seeing this dinosaur pop up that we all know and sometimes love (he isn't always appearing under the most enjoyable circumstances). And when this little game would pop up, it would provide some momentary joy as your internet would try and find its way back from the twilight zone.

I thought that it would be a fun idea to create mini-story out of it.

Whatever you choose, make it your own! Your ideas could be based off of something or it could be something totally unique to you! Whatever it is, it will be great!

Step 4: Helpful Tips to Get Started

Here are a couple of tips that I have found to be helpful to avoid a total headache during the process of making your very own flipbook.

First - when making a flip book, there will be a section of the pages that will not be visible as you are creating the book (Picture 1) If you end up drawing in this space, you will not be able to see what you've drawn as you are flipping the book. We don't want all of your hard work to be for nothing. Instead, make sure you are drawing on the right side of book. Also, be sure to leave a little space on the right so your thumb doesn't obscure any of the drawings as well. (This may not be an issue if you don't have massive thumbs like me ^^) (Picture 1)

Second - As you are drawing each individual page, make sure that you are numbering each page as you go in the corner. It really is so annoying if you accidentally mess up the order of the pages and spend hours of your time sorting through the minor differences to try and reconstruct the story. All of the time can be saved if you just simply number the backside corners of the pages as you go. This will not be visible as you are flipping through your book and if your pages ever get mixed up, it will be a simple fix. I had this happen to me several times as I was making my book so I highly recommend doing this. (Picture 2)

Third - Create some drawings for any reoccurring patterns that you may encounter making your flipbook. In my case, the entire thing is a reoccurring pattern so I made sure to make a couple of initial highly detailed stencils of the ground, the dinosaur walking, the birds flapping, and the cacti so that I could use them without wasting time trying to meticulously draw each frame as neatly as I did the previous one. This will save you time and effort and will help you make your flipbook as fast and as neatly as possible. (Picture 3)

Fourth - Use a pencil and eraser when initially doing your drawings. I find that it is so much easier to correct a mistake rather than draw in pen and have to start over the whole frame again if you make a mistake. *Note* You may not have to do this if your flip book is simple enough.

Fifth - Have a mini storyboard to organize your thoughts. When you don't have a meaningful ending to the story, or a goal in sight, you tend to keep drawing and drawing without a specific ending in mind. If you do this, you will 9 times out of 10 quit early due to the magnitude of drawing left to complete the story or the amount of touch-ups you will have to do in the end. A good sized story without too much headache is around 50-150 frames. Any more than that and you are in for a long ride. Keep in mind though that my 130 page flip book was only 25 seconds so be sure to create a story then create a manageable structure for that story.

Now that we have those general tips under our belts, let's get to the actual process of Illustrating the book.

Step 5: Illustrating the Book

Like I said before, there are some tips to get you working on the Illustrating of the book. These will save you a lot of time and effort. Depending on how long you want your story to be, you may have a lot of illustrating ahead of you. But no need to fear. Once you have your reference cards made, and your idea in place, you will start to develop a rhythm to your flipbook making. In other words, practice makes perfect.

The rhythm/pattern I follow for my flip book making is:

  1. Write the next slide number in the top right back-side corner (So you don't mess up the order)
  2. Trace my next slide on top of the previous slide but shifted slightly (Picture 3)
  3. Set aside face down on the work surface and use the illustrated frame you just made as the template for the next frame.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 from before until you are done. (Picture 4)

Once you have done this a couple of times, 2-3 frames side-by-side should look somewhat identical with slight variations. If this is the case, then you have done it correctly.

After you have finished Illustrating the story you want to tell, you should be 98% done! The hardest part is over! We will talk about the last 2% in the next two steps.

Step 6: Finishing Touches / Coloring

Now that you have illustrated everything, the only thing left to do before binding are the finishing touches.

This could include going around the edges of the illustration with a fine point sharpie, or coloring in your drawings. This is my favorite part because you can really just relax, throw on some netflix and color. The book also starts to look really crisp and professional.

I try to stick to black and white only when it comes to flip books because it can take a long time to color in. For example, my book took a tremendous amount of time to fill in all of the dinosaurs, the cacti and the birds. It would have taken far less time if it was just black and white with nothing filled in. It isn't a bad thing, it just depends on how much detail and time you want to put into your book. There is no right or wrong way to do it!

Once you have put on the finishing touches on your illustrations, it is now time to bind the pages together.

Step 7: Pick a Binding Style

Now that you've completed all of the Illustrations, it is time to make your flip book work and look as professional as possible. You can achieve this by binding the pages together as tightly as you can. The length or duration of your book should determine what method you choose.

There are two main methods with four total methods that I am aware of. I will go over all of them starting with the two main ones. *Note*you can also use pre-punched paper and binding screws but those materials can be either slightly expensive or tough to find. We are doing this project on a "pennies" budget so we won't be using those materials.

The easiest method and themost time-efficient method is probably method 1.

-This is simply just a result of binding the note cards together with two binding clips. This will create a tight connection and will make sure that the pages won't move out of place.

The second method was the method that I used for my own personal book. My book was about 130 total pages which is quite a lot of paper (Picture 6). If you have binding clips that large, I would still recommend using that method. However, since I didn't have those materials available to me, I used the gluing method.

-To do this, you cut off a section of Index card (Picture 2) ensuring that it will overlap the bottom and top of the index cards you wish to bind (Picture 3). Next, you pre-fold the binding piece over the cards (Picture 4) and then you glue them (Picture 5). During this process, be sure to glue the back side of the papers. You can do this by running the glue stick along the edge of the papers. When you do this, each of the papers find their own little connections and just adds to the durability of book itself.

The third method is to take enough rubber bands pull them over onto the edges. However, I do not like this method because it doesn't apply well across all types of flip books. For example, if you book is a little bit shorter, your flip book will easily be bent by the stress of the rubber bands so I tend to stray from this method when I can.

The fourth method is to take duct tape and very tightly and carefully tape the edge of the book. Now this may sound easy, but depending on the size of your book, this could be difficult if you are worried about your pages shifting around as you are taping. So again, I tend to stray from this method.

Now that you have found the binding method that is right for you, you should be 100% done with your book! Let's see what it looks like!

Step 8: Final Product!

Now that your flip book is done, let's see what you came up with! Send me a picture or a video so I can see what you have created!

I have included a final video of my book in action. I hope you like it!

Thank you for checking out this Instructable! I had a fantastic time making it and I hope that you did too! If you liked this Instructable please leave a like, a comment, and a vote for the "Paper" Contest! I would really appreciate it! Thanks again and I hope to see you on the next Instructable!

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    9 Discussions

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    ME2007

    4 months ago

    Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Mastering MeLindaP84

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thank you for the nice comment. Hope you check out more to come!

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    scottie_dog

    7 months ago

    Very nice!
    As a child my friends and I had a few goes at making flip-books. Obviously it can be time consuming to do it (and do it well), so it just occurred to me that a way of fast-tracking this for children would be to have one or more simple stamps to make it quick to replicate a particular shape or outline. If the stamp had 'blank' parts (e.g. the face or the legs missing), this would give more scope for animation. Certainly for young kids, using a couple of stamps would allow them to create something impressive without blowing their attention span!

    1 reply
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    Mastering Mescottie_dog

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thank you for checking out this instructable! I think that is a great idea! I will have to look into trying that! :)

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    Mastering MeMy Wooden Toys

    Reply 8 months ago

    Me too! They are so fun! Let me know if you make one for yourself! Thanks for checking it out!

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    seamster

    8 months ago

    Nice!! I enjoyed your video quite a bit : D

    1 reply
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    Mastering Meseamster

    Reply 8 months ago

    Hey thanks seamster! Sometimes we just wish that dinosaur was hit by a meteor. Haha.