Kid’s Crafts: How to Make a Homemade Old Time Filmstrip Projector

Do you have a young child who enjoys drawing pictures and creating movies? If so, think about helping them make their own filmstrip projector. No, it is not as sophisticated as all the digital technology that is available today but, the process of creating a movie with a film strip teaches the child how movies were made prior to the digital age when acetate film was used to create film images.

Things You’ll Need:

Clear acetate
Various colors of markers
Half-gallon paper milk container
Scissors and/or craft knife


Step 1 – Wash and dry the half-gallon paper milk container. Cut the top and bottom off the container so a rectangular viewer is created.

Step 2 – Measure, mark and cut a slit 3-inches tall and 1/8-inch wide on opposite sides of the milk carton. Position the slits so they are approximately 3-inches from the bottom of the carton.

Step 3 – Measure, mark and cut the clear acetate into strips 2 ¾-inches wide. Tape the strips together to create a long straight filmstrip.

Step 4 – Measure and mark the strip every 3 ½-inches to create rectangular frames the length of the strip.

Step 5 – Leave the first and last rectangle empty. Draw a series of pictures in the remaining frames to create a storyline. Color the drawings in as you go to great a colored film. Be careful while drawing the pictures as the markers require up to 3-minutes to dry. Try not to smudge the image during the drawing process.

Step 6 – Slide the completed filmstrip through the cut openings in the milk container. Position the first frame of the filmstrip between the edges of the rectangular viewer.

Step 7 – Position one end of the viewer so it is facing a wall or door. Turn off the lights.

Step 8 – Place a flashlight in the back of the viewer. Turn on the flashlight. The light will shine through the drawn pictures on the acetate to create an image on the wall or door.

Step 9 – Move the filmstrip to the next frame. Repeat the process until the movie is completed.


Add narration to each frame of the filmstrip. Decorate the outside of the paper milk container with paper mache, construction paper or paint.

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