MAKE AT HOME | Matchstick light spectrum

with Astro Morphs

During their studio residency at PICA, Astro Morphs developed a series of online art-making activities where art and science converge.


Share your creations on social media with the hashtag #picaathome, and you could be featured on our socials!


Astro Morphs’ productions and artworks are inspired by the biological world. Have fun creating a stop motion animation based on the visible spectrum of light.

You will need

  • a dark piece of card
  • a light pencil
  • tape
  • a smartphone or iPad
  • a container around 22cm tall to use as a makeshift stand
  • coloured match sticks or painted popsicle sticks
  • access to the internet
  • a free app such as IMG play or any app that can make GIFs from still images.



1. Rule a faint line, using a matchstick, left of the centre of the dark card.
2. Line the matchsticks up, laying the first at the line you ruled. Lay the sticks in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and repeat this up to four times.
3. Place your container at the bottom of the dark card and place your phone/iPad on top of the container with the lens toward the matchsticks, using the container as a DIY tripod. Take your first photo.
4. Take the last matchstick, place it in the front of the row, and shuffle the sticks back to the line you ruled. Take a second photo. Repeat this prosses multiple times. The more pictures you take the more movement will be in your stop motion animation.
5. Open your photos in IMG play or any other GIF application/maker.
6. Select all your photos by taping them, and press ‘make’.









7. Select the speed you would like your animation at. We prefer 15 seconds.








8. Crop your image by selecting the crop tool, and adjusting your film.








9. Select ‘CROP’ to finish your film.







Consider the animation you just made:

  • Do all animals see the world in the same colours we do?
  • If the visual spectrum of light is a millionth of 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum of light, what other waves belong to the electromagnetic spectrum of light? Do some animals see them?
  • Experiment with other stop motion animations by applying the same concept. Does a flip book apply the same concept?


Alternative stop motion animation ideas based on the visible light spectrum 










  • Astro Morphs are an audio-visual collaboration initiated in 2016 by Perth duo James Doohan and Bianca Sharkey, operating under the pseudonyms Yow and Sox.

    James Doohan graduated from Edith Cowan University (ECU) with a Honours Degree in Visual Arts in 2006. He has since participated in several group exhibitions including the Hatched National Graduate Exhibition at Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (2007) and Coming Unstuck at Free Range Gallery (2015). In collaboration with Perth music label Badminton Bandit, Doohan released the book Mystery Meats in 2010 presenting a collection of his drawings and poster designs.

    Bianca Sharkey is currently studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at ECU after graduating with a Bachelor of Communications (Major in Scriptwriting and Minor in Creative Writing) also at ECU in 2011. Sharkey has also previously trained in classical ballet (Vaganova method) and performed as a songwriter.

    Astro Morphs was nominated for Best Musical at its debut at Fringe World Festival Perth, in 2017. In January 2018 part two Astro Morphs: Crash land was performed at the Blue Room Theatre. The third instalment, Astro Morphs: Ascension, was part of an installation at Cool Change Contemporary Gallery, Perth, WA, 2018; Art not Apart festival, at the National Film and Archive, ACT, 2019; Other Suns: Sci-Fi Cult Cinema & Art, Fremantle Art Centre, WA, 2019; and Chin Chin Wall of Art, Melbourne, 2019. In late 2019 Astro Morphs performed at Pig Melon Art Gallery in support of Manta Ray Martin. Astro Morphs: Ctrl+H is currently in development and will be displayed in an exhibition at Heathcote Cultural Precinct in May 2020.

    Astro Morphs continues to release zines via the Sticky Institute (Melbourne) and a webcomic on Instagram.


    Download the written instructions here.

    Watch the instruction video here.