Easy kaleidoscope for kids

Muhammad Usman Babar
3 min readSep 26, 2020
Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash

When I was little, kaleidoscopes were very fashionable. I remember that we all had one or built it. I don’t know why they stopped being it because they are really cool. What do you think if we put them back in fashion? Let’s start by building them at home in a super simple way. You will not need mirrors (which is usually the most difficult thing to find), keep reading and I’ll tell you how to create it with living materials at home. It’s super easy!

Level: Easy Age: +13 years old Materials: Easy to get Duration: 30 min

Let’s get down to business What does it take to make an easy kaleidoscope at home? Let’s go one by one:

Cardboard tube

It is the base on which we will build the kaleidoscope. You can get a tube that is used to send packages or transport plans, you can use a kitchen paper tube or even a toilet paper tube (although it will be very small)

Hard cardboard

And yes, it has to be hard so that it does not warp, the best is gray cardboard. The cardboard of the cereal box is not worth it.

Adhesive mirror

Ok, this is the material that may give more problems but be careful, I propose several options. You can get a mirror vinyl, which is what I have used, or, as an alternative, use aluminum foil or silver foil, the result will not be exactly the same, but to do it with children it is more than enough.
The rest of the materials and tools do not have any complications:

Scissors and cutter
Hot melt glue or other adhesive
Assorted alajas

Recycled hard plastic: from any container.
Well, we have everything, now I am going to explain an important detail. To calculate the measurements you need for the three pieces of cardboard that will fit inside the tube, you need to calculate the side of a triangle inscribed in a circle according to the following formula. These measurements will vary depending on the tube you have chosen. Also, take into account the thickness of the cardboard.

I know, I have anticipated the explanation of the step by step, but it is important that you know this detail before continuing. Now hit play and you will understand everything.

Attention, trick: Make sure that the adhesive vinyl or aluminum foil is perfectly glued to the cardboard and that it has a completely flat surface. Wrinkles, bubbles, or any other imperfection will spoil the final result of the image.

Although I have not shown it in the video, a step that I added later was to color with markers the external plastic through which the light enters. In this way, the images are much more colorful and beautiful. In the image you have below it looks perfect. Hours of fun are guaranteed with this kaleidoscope. You can see as it is very easy to make a kaleidoscope for kids.