The Original Spirograph

Published April 13, 2016 by Bizzimummy

Being a child, growing up in the 80s; there are many toys and games that I remember well. One of them sticks out a mile and that is Spirograph. If you have never heard of it then you may just have been living under a rock for years. It’s the much loved art kit which has given people like me endless fun of creating fun colourful spirals throughout their childhood. I actually thought Spirograph was an 80s thing, what I did not realise is that it’s actually been around for about 65 years and began in America. 

Spirograph has had numerous facelifts over the many years with multiple sets being brought out. 

 
And it’s back again! This time from Flair uk with a brand new look and style. 

 This new version comes as a handy carry case which unfolds to reveal over 45 different pieces, including wheels, shapes, pens, paper and putty. 

 
Spirograph can be defined as mathematical art. Using the wheels, the user can create beautiful circles and shaped patterns, many of which resemble flower shapes. Whilst very pretty art work; there is also a lot of maths behind the toy. The majority of it is beyond my head as it goes into complex rhythms and those advanced math symbols, but the swirls and patterns have their own scientific names, known as hyptrochoids and epitrochoids. Yes I’ve done my homework on this!

Anyway I felt quite bemused giving the Spirograph set to my children and gladly telling them that I too played with Spirograph when I was younger. 

To make it easier the set comes with putty (I don’t recall this being in older sets). The putty helps to hold the rings and wheels in place on the paper and prevent slips, tho slips can still happen. 

 
The wheels can be placed inside or outside the ring. The pen placed in one of the many wheel holes and then turn the wheel manually to make the patterns. It takes practice but the results can be amazing. 

The Spirograph case doubles up as a handy work station too and the paper fits snuggly inside.

 
The guide book is pretty useful. It gives pattern ideas and also explains the reasons for all the holes and numbers on the wheel and rings. It’s quite complex but an easy explanation is that you can get many different patterns and swirls using the same wheel and ring just by using a different hole.

This pattern was created by Ryan using the same wheel and ring but using 3 different holes each time and gets a different pattern. 

 
Some of the wheels come as different shapes other than circles giving endless opportunities for creating.

There are only 3 colour pens with this set, but after a bit of googling I found out the staedtlr pens work perfect with Spirograph sets and Amazon sell them for just £3.50. 

 
There have been a few frustrations with the wheels slipping even with putty and I find it best to place the unit on a hard surface rather than carpet. It’s early days and kids need more practice to make spiro masterpieces but it certainly keeps them busy. 

They are having lots of practice as Flair is looking for a Spirograph designer of the year competition. You too can take part by visiting www.coolcreateclub.co.uk to find out how you can enter the Spirograph Young Designer of the Year 2016 competition”.

Buy Spirograph from most good toy stores and Amazon. Prices vary.

One comment on “The Original Spirograph

  • The wheels used to come with pins, put through the holes and they didn’t slip about. They probably can’t sell a toy with pins in these days!

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