How to Make a Kaleidoscope

A kaleidoscope is a fun toy, but you don't have to buy one in the store. It's easy to make one yourself.

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Kids driving you crazy? Settle them down with the fun and easy art projects in this craft ideas for kids video series from Howcast.

You Will Need

  • A sheet of clear, heavy, bendable plastic
  • A ruler
  • A pen
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • A paper towel tube
  • Black construction paper
  • A square of plastic wrap
  • Small shiny objects, such as beads, sequins, and shiny confetti
  • Wax paper
  • A rubber band
  • Stickers or wrapping paper (optional)
  • A utility knife (optional)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Draw a rectangle

    Draw a rectangle, 8-by-4 inches, on the plastic using your pen or permanent marker, and cut it out with your scissors or a utility knife.

  2. Step 2

    Draw your fold lines

    Draw three lines, parallel to each other, lengthwise along the rectangle. The lines should be 1¼ inches apart, starting 1¼ inches from the top edge. The last line will be ¼ inch from the bottom edge.

  3. Step 3

    Fold the rectangle

    Fold your rectangle along the lines you just drew, forming a three-dimensional triangle. The small 1/4-inch fold should be on the outside. Using your clear tape, tape the triangle together along the thin ¼-inch flap of plastic.

  4. Step 4

    Cut the paper towel tube

    Cut the paper towel tube to a length of 8 inches, the same length as your plastic triangle. Slide your clear plastic triangle inside the paper towel tube.

  5. Step 5

    Cover one end

    Place one end of the tube on the black construction paper and trace a circle around it. Cut out the circle with your scissors and tape it to one end of the paper towel tube.

  6. Step 6

    Poke a hole

    Poke a small hole with the scissors or utility knife in the middle of the construction paper circle you just taped to the paper towel tube.

  7. Step 7

    Fill the plastic wrap with shiny objects

    Place a square of plastic wrap on the uncovered end of the paper towel tube. Push the plastic wrap down into the tube by about 1 inch to create a pocket. Fill the depression with your shiny sequins, beads, and confetti.

  8. Step 8

    Cover the plastic wrap

    Once the plastic wrap is filled with shiny objects, cover the open end of the tube with wax paper. Wrap a rubber band around the edge of the tube so that the wax paper and plastic wrap stay in place. Make sure the rubber band is tight so nothing slips out!

  9. Step 9

    Trim the plastic wrap and wax paper

    With your scissors, trim off the excess plastic wrap and wax paper so your kaleidoscope doesn't look messy. If you have stickers or wrapping paper, you can now use them to decorate the outside of your kaleidoscope. Don't cover the eyehole or the wax paper – that's how the light gets in!

  10. Step 10

    Enjoy your homemade kaleidoscope

    Look through your kaleidoscope, pointing the other end at a lamp or indirect source of sunlight. Slowly turn it in your hand, enjoying all the pretty colors.

  11. In 2000, Christie's auction house sold an antique kaleidoscope for $75,000.

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