Thursday, May 24, 2012


As one of the souvenirs of my trip to Chicago two weekends back (other souvenirs acquired : a red sundress and a mustache on a stick), I got a 1-gallon tin from Garrett Popcorn. I opted to fill it not with their classic Chicago Mix (not that it isn't delicious), but with their caramel pecan corn for reasons the word pecan should clearly explain. Ostensibly it was a gift, but as I work from home now and the gift recipient does not, I ended up doing most of the tin emptying.

Once the popcorn was eaten, a process that took far less time than it probably should have, the fun was just beginning! For you see, Garrett Popcorn has a blog series of "Tinnovations" in which they show you how to reuse their aluminum tins and turn them into fun things like candles or clocks or stilts. Always one to support the green movement, I tried to think of my own way to tinnovate. My boyfriend, ever forgiving of my pilfering his corn, thoughtfully suggested we turn the base into a zoetrope. After realizing that that would require some serious precision and metal cutting tools, we opted to dispense with messing with the tin (which has a lovely photo of the Chicago skyline on it anyway, and would be a shame to destroy) and using just the lid. The result: 

 This zoetrope is actually sporting my first attempt at a cartoon before I realized that the movement had to be bigger to really see when it spins. The plot of this 10-frame cartoon is that a piece of popcorn flies out of nowhere and a man in a bowler hat opens his mouth and eats it. He then licks his lips. While it failed a zoetrope animation, I might flesh it out a little and try my luck on Broadway.

For this tinnovation you will need:
A long piece of black paper 3'' high
A long piece of white paper 1.5'' high
A Garrett Popcorn Tin lid (I used the 1-gallon size, but the larger would probably work too)
Pen or pencil

1) Curl the white paper and place it inside the lid and mark with a pencil where the paper overlaps itself.
2) Decide what your animation will be and how many frames you want. Use the ruler to measure the length of the paper from the line you marked in step 1 to the end. Divide the measurement by the number of frames you want.
3) Use the number you figured out in step 2 to divide the paper into segments. Draw a small line at each measurement. You should end up with lines spaced across the paper in equal frames.
4) Draw your cartoons in the frames. Make small changes to show movement. Make sure each drawing is identical other than the movement you want to make. Use tracing paper if needed.
5) Lay the white paper on top of the black paper so the bottoms line up. Draw line across the top of wear the white paper hits the black paper (this line should divide the black paper in half lengthwise).
6) Extend the lines dividing the frames on the white paper to make marks of the same distance apart on the black paper.
7) Use the scissors to cut windows 1/8 of an inch wide at the marks you made in step 6. The windows should extend from the top of the black paper to the center line you drew in step 5.
8) Punch a hole in the center of your tin lid. Push a pencil or pen through it so that the lid is on a stick.
9) Run a line of glue along the inside edge of the lid. Press the black paper against the glue so that the windows are facing up. Allow to dry.
10) Place the white paper inside the black paper so that all the frames of your cartoon are visible.
11) Hold the zoetrope by the pencil or pen and spin it around. Watch your cartoon in splendid zoetrope animation.

My final effort. Simpler design more movement. Can you tell what I was going for? Also, is anyone else excited that I finally got the video function to work?

Thanks Garrett Popcorn! I look forward to future Tinnovations. Specifically, once I figure out to do with the drum of this tin. 


  1. Well I am pretty excited that you got the video function to work. Thank you for Tinnovating with us! Look forward to seeing what the rest of your tin becomes!

  2. I'm also excited that you got the video to work. However, I must add that it definitely doesn't do justice to your animation because I have no idea what you were going for!

  3. It's two kernels of popcorn popping! This might have been more evident in color when the kernels were yellow and the popped corn white, but I thought black and white gave it a sense of authenticity.