CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure

Students use markers on cardstock paper to create small, jointed figures suitable for stop-motion animation.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 5 to Grade 9


Language Arts
Visual Arts
Media Literacy


animation colour front view line profile shape stop-motion thumbnail sketch


Crayola Fine Line Markers - 12 Count Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm Crayola Scissors Cardstock Paper - 11 cm x 14 cm (4" x 6") - 1 per student Pencils Pipe Cleaners Small Hole Punch

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CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure - Step One

Step One

  1. Start by making 4 thumbnail sketches of possible characters. 
CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Choose the character you want to make.
  2. Use a coloured pencil, or marker to outline separate parts of the figure.
  3. Think about how you want the parts to move, for example,
    - the arm can have 2 parts and bend at the elbow as well as the shoulder
    - the arm can have 1 part and only bend at the shoulder
  4. You will be joining the parts to each other with small pieces of pipe cleaner.
CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Draw the figure on a piece of 10 cm x 10 cm (4" x 4") cardstock paper.
  2. Make sure the shapes are big enough for you to punch a small hole in each end for the fasteners.
CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use markers to colour the figure and then cut it out.
  2. Arrange the shapes in the order they will go when joined together.
  3. Use a pencil to mark where you will make the holes for the fasteners. 
  4. Make sure the holes are placed far enough inside the shape so they will not tear.
CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Make small holes at each marked spot. 
    - use an extra small hole punch OR
    - place the paper on a piece of heavy sponge and press the point of a compass through the spot
CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Place two parts that you want to join face to face and line up the holes.
  2. Thread a small piece of pipe cleaner through the holes.
CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Open the paper shapes.
  2. Place them on the table so that the pipe cleaner and the shapes are flat.
CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Place the joined shapes face down on the table.
  2. Fold each end of the pipe cleaner into the centre so they close like a staple.
  3. Test the joint to see if it will bend easily.
CUT-OUT PAPER ANIMATION – Creating a Jointed Figure - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Use the same process to make profile or front view figures.
  2. Pose the figures in different ways by bending the jointed parts at different angles.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a jointed paper figure;
  • use colour and line to add interest to the figure;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment; 
  • describe their process; 
  • express opinions about the artworks.


Have students:

  • practice using their figures to make them move in a short stop-motion animation;
  • work in teams to create new figures;
  • use their figures in a storytelling animation project connected with a topic they are studying in any subject area;
  • share their videos with the class.


  1. Pre-cut cardstock paper - 10 cm x 10 cm (4" x 4").
  2. Download and display the Colour and Line posters poster available on this website.
  3. Make a sample.
  4. Make an enlarged sample of two pieces of cardstock paper with holes punched for demonstrating how to join the paper with pipe cleaners.
  5. Get a hole punch that makes a small hole, or small pieces of thick sponge and compasses that can be used to make the holes.
  6. Download or bookmark several Paper Cut-Out Animation videos from the Internet.


  1. View and discuss one or two of the videos focussing on what makes them interesting.
  2. Ask students what they know about how the videos were made, and explain what stop-motion animation is.
  3. Explain that they are going to learn how to make a jointed figure that can be used in a stop-motion animation.
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a jointed paper figure.
  2. Use colour and line to add interest to the figure.
  3. Demonstrate technical accomplishment.
  4. Describe your process.
  5. Express opinions about the artworks.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a jointed figure that stays together
    - made joints that bend easily
    - used lines and colour
    - added details that make the figure interesting
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Demonstrate how to join the pieces of paper with pipe cleaners when students are ready, either in small groups, or individually.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    - Discuss the personalities of each figure and what they see that makes them think that.
    - Talk about was difficult and what was easy for them.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask them to tell how they felt about doing this activity.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their figures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the figure, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download – Figure_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download – Figure_self-assessment.pdf)