How To Make a Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscopes are a great activity for kids to enjoy on a rainy day or anytime they need a craft project. With a few minutes and household objects, you can have fun and create a great toy. Follow these steps to make a kaleidoscope.

Cardboard tube (try leftover paper towel roll)
3 lengths of mirror – ¾” to 1” in width and 7” long
Foam pieces
Clear plastic
Translucent colored glass/craft beads
Duct tape

  1. Cut the tube to 7” in length. Save the remaining piece.
  2. Arrange the mirrors. Set the mirrors into an equilateral triangle with the mirror sides facing in. Once you have a triangle, use the duct tape to wrap the mirrors and hold them in the triangle shape.
  3. Insert the mirrors into the tube. The mirrors should fit snugly into the tube, but if they do not, fill the spaces with foam pieces until the mirrors are snug.
  4. Cover one end for viewing. Using a piece of cardboard with a ¼” viewing hole in the center, secure the end with glue.
  5. Make the design section. Using the remaining section of tube (or a slightly wider tube for easier turning), you will make the rest of the kaleidoscope. Cover one end with clear plastic and secure it with glue.
  6. Fill the design section. Once the glued end dries, place the colored glass or beads into the cup created by the tube and clear plastic. Close the other end with clear plastic and glue. Don’t overfill because the glass needs to tumble freely.
  7. Secure the design end to the main tube. Make sure the fit is snug.
  8. Decorate the kaleidoscope. Have fun with markers, wallpaper, wrapping paper, ribbons or any other fun accessories to decorate the exterior of the kaleidoscope.

Now your kaleidoscope is ready for use. Hold the kaleidoscope to the light and rotate it to see the patterns and how they change. Try different color combinations and shapes of glass for a variety of looks.


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