Whether you’re preparing to watch your first solar eclipse, or you’re looking to trade out your old-fashioned pinhole projector for something new, these DIY solar eclipse glasses are right up your alley. Not only are they safe to use for direct solar viewing, but they’re also really easy to put together.
Read on to discover 5 steps to creating your own solar eclipse glasses!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Here’s what you’ll need to create your own pair of solar eclipse glasses:
- A large piece of poster board or card stock.
- A template for your glasses (draw an outline or print out a template).
- A solar filter.
- A roll of blue painter’s tape.
- A pen.
If you have a pair of recycled 3D glasses on hand, you’re in luck! You can skip the poster board and template for an easy alternative.
Verify the Safety of Your Solar Filter Before Use
While there are a wide range of solar filters available on the market, only a handful of brands have been approved by NASA. If you want to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during the big event, you should always stick to the verified brands.
Another important note to mention: while many household alternatives are being popularized in YouTube videos dedicated to safe solar viewing, many have been proven unsafe. Check and double check your sources before using a household alternative in your project. No matter how dark your favorite pair of sunglasses may be, if they aren’t certified to protect your eyes against the sun’s UV radiation, your safety will be at risk.
Some alternatives to steer clear from:
- Exposed color film
- Medical X-ray film
- Smoked glass
- CD's and floppy discs
Solar Filters You Can Trust
Use high-quality, ISO certified solar films from reputable businesses like Rainbow Symphony. Made from durable, scratch resistant black polymer, this kind of solar film gives the sun a warm yellow/orange hue, and it ensures a safe, crisp and clear view from start to finish. Another great perk: you can use the film to transform your everyday binoculars, cameras, and telescopes into safe solar viewing devices, too!
Step 2: Prep Your Frames
If you’re making your own frames from scratch, start by laying out poster board or card stock on a flat surface. Next, draw your outline or place your printed template on top. Once your paper is prepped, use your scissors to cut out the frames. You should have one rectangular piece with cutouts for your nose and eyes, as well as two separate handles for your ears.
If you’re repurposing an old pair of 3D glasses, simply pop out the old lenses and you’re ready for the next step.
Step 3: Insert Your Solar Filter Lenses
Next, measure and cut the solar film so that it completely covers the eye holes of your glasses. Make sure not to puncture or scratch the film while handling it because any deformity can diminish its protective quality. Also, be sure not to cut the film too close to size; you want there to be a decent overlap so that no light can leak through the edges of the eye holes.
Step 4: Secure With Tape
Once your solar film is in place, secure it to your frames of choice with your roll of blue painter’s tape. If you’re making your solar eclipse glasses out of poster board or card stock, it’s time to tape the earpieces in place as well.
Step 5: Go for a Test Run
To determine the safety of your glasses, it’s time for a test run! Go into a dark room, put the glasses on, and have a friend shine a flashlight in your direction. If any of the bright light comes through (without the yellow/orange hue), you have a leak.
If that happens, it’s better to find out now than when you’re viewing the actual eclipse. Simply follow the steps laid out above again, using a new piece of solar film. If all goes well in your test run, then you’re ready for the real deal!