DIY Cardboard Box Animation Stand Ver. 3

I’ve had some students ask me to post construction pictures of our DIY Cardboard Box Animation Stand. I don’t have time at the moment to do a detailed, step-by-step walk through post on building these high tech wonders, but if you take a close look at these photos you’ll probably be able to craft your own box. Head below for more photos and basic information.

I’ve found that the basic 10 ream printer paper box is a good starting point for this project. Ask around at school and you should be able to find one of these boxes – I have a few extra ones right now; you could even ask me!

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On their own, these boxes are not very strong. I recommend scavenging additional cardboard for reinforcement and stabilization. I’m using standard issue LAUSD catalog chip board, but you could easily deconstruct another corrugated cardboard box and use the pieces to strengthen your stand. You’ll need scissors, masking tape, and some critical thinking skills to determine where and how to add the reinforcement pieces.

IMG_7853 I like to reinforce the sides of the box and add a lip around the top. This makes your stand much more rigid and keeps the box from wiggling while you’re shooting your animation.

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In addition to the masking tape, I’ve used gummed kraft packing tape to finish off the exterior. Carefully poking a hole in the top of the box to find just the right location for the camera view hole will depend on what device you’re using. I also poke a hole in the back of the box to lead the power cord from the desk lamp to an outlet. You’ll also notice that I use a ream of paper to raise the animation drawings up towards the camera a bit. This might not be necessary depending on what device you’re using. The 4th generation iPod Touches you can check out in class work best with this setup. Find what works best for you.

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Here’s a video showing our current animation image capture setup (October 2014):

These boxes are the third iteration of cardboard animation stand we’ve built in the last few years. I’ve included some pictures from our previous versions of this stand below:

Previous Versions – September 2012:

From my 2012 post on Cardboard Camera Stands: For years our animation program has been limited by the number of computers and camera stands we have in class. With a typical class of 43 students the four or five computers we set up make shooting our animation a chore. This year I would like to make better use of the other animation image capture devices we have in class – the ones sitting in the pockets, purses, and backpacks of my students.

Every year, more and more of my students are carrying smartphones and other camera equipped devices. Many of these devices can run apps that are tailor made for shooting animation. Students with iOS devices (iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads) or Android phones/tablets have a wide selection of free and paid apps to choose from. See my previous post on animation apps to see what is available.

However, getting an app on your device is just the first step. We quickly find that shooting animation is difficult without a proper setup.

At the end of last year I built a camera stand out of chipboard and gummed tape (see gallery above). This stand is available for use in class and I plan on building more. For those of you interested in shooting your animation on your own time at home, you could do worse than my one minute camera stand (see gallery above). The one minute camera stand can be built in less than one minute and assembles in three easy steps:

  1. Find a cardboard box
  2. Turn it on its side
  3. Cut a hole in the side
  • Now you have an animation stand!

Obviously, I encourage you to experiment and craft a stand that works good for you. You might need to test different locations for the camera hole, you might want to try setting up a desk lamp to provide better lighting, and you might want to use tape and other scraps of cardboard to reinforce your stand and make it less wiggly. But even in its most basic form, the one minute camera stand gets the job done.