Introduction: Simple, Affordable, High Quality Solar Eclipse Viewer From a Cereal Box

Picture of Simple, Affordable, High Quality Solar Eclipse Viewer From a Cereal Box

With the solar eclipse coming in less than two weeks the demand for viewing aids soared. Unfortunately many glasses on the market do not provide protection recommended by NASA (Welding glass shade #12-14). And good quality viewer will cost you a fortune.

This is a tutorial to help you to turn an empty cardboard box into a solar eclipse viewer. Because there are so many different sizes of boxes, welding glass pieces and face shapes, this intractable doesn't have precise templates.

Step 1: You Will Need

Picture of You Will Need

There is still time for you to order welding glass of the recommended shade. Shade #12 lets more light in and you will see a little bit more details, shade #14 is the safest choice. Welding glass comes in different sizes, in this tutorial we used PROSAFE welding glass DIN12, 2 inches wide by 4 1/4 inches long.

You will also need an empty cereal container at least 2 inches wide, basic tools like scissors, ruler, pencil and double sticky tape and foam (if you don't have it, use adhesive of your choice). Double sticky foam was used to level surface around the glass.

Step 2: Cut Your Box

Picture of Cut Your Box

First you will need to cut top part of container to fit the curves of your face. Because everyone's face is unique in it's beauty we did not put a template here. Start with cutting a semi-circle (about 4 inch wide by 1 inch deep for younger generation and 5 inch by 2 inch for bigger specimen). Try your cardboard visor on and adjust to fit snug, you may also want to cut an incision for the nose.

When you are happy with your fit, position your glass in the center of the bottom of your box and trace the outline with pencil. Measure 1/4 inch inward from each line and draw the cutting lines. Using scissors or craft knife cut an opening.

Step 3: Adhere Glass to the Box

Picture of Adhere Glass to the Box

Apply 1/8" or 1/4 " wide double sticky tape around the edges of the glass on both sides. Position your glass over the opening, remove protective tape and press glass firmly to the box. Press around the edges to make sure there is no air bubbles. If you don't have tape, use adhesive of your choice.

Double sticky foam was used to even out the surface of the box around the glass, you can use a shim made out of cardboard.

Step 4: Create Cardboard Cover

Picture of Create Cardboard Cover

Cut a piece of cardboard same length as the length of your box and 2-3 inches longer than it's hight. You want to overlap the wide sides like you see on the picture. Score the folding lines and trace an opening of the same size as you cut in the bottom of the box. Dry fit to make sure all measurements were done right.

Remove the protective tape from your double sticky tape on the glass and foam. Carefully press the cardboard to the tape. Press around the edges making sure there is no air bubbles.

Fold the flaps down and adhere them to the box with double sticky tape. Tape over the edges and entire box with Gorilla tape to increase durability.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches

Carefully test your viewer first not looking directly at the sun. It should block most or all light. If your have leaks, add a little bit more tape in the places where you can see sunlight. You can decorate your box with felt, vinyl, etc. Apply a strip of foam around the edges to soften the edges and eliminate light leaks. And, while you are at it, make one for your camera!


rsgrillo (author)2017-08-13

Just get a spare welding helmet from someone who welds or Harbor Freight, welding supplies anywhere, etc.

static (author)rsgrillo2017-12-18

One can't know what filter is installed in a borrowed welding helmet. One may think there protected when they ma not be. The same can true with grabbing a new helmet off the shelf. Because my helmet was never returned by the person that borrowed it I went to purchase a new one. I pulled out the filters to see if they where marked, none where. when there's doubt what filter is in a helmet purchase a new filter that's cleaclearly labeled on the packaging and the packaging is intact. Tape or otherwise adhere the pertain portion of the label to the filter so there's no question the next time viewing the Sun is on the schedule.

jamahu made it! (author)2017-09-03

Thanks for the idea on this - we had viewers already but this gave me the idea to make them much more kid friendly - worked awesome for our family.

IrynaC (author)jamahu2017-09-04

How adorable! Thank you for sharing the picture!

aCuriousCreator (author)2017-08-22

This is cool. Shame we have to wait untill 2090 in the UK to get anther full eclipse! great post

IrynaC (author)aCuriousCreator2017-08-22

Thank you for your comment! Come to USA for 2045 :-)

IrynaC (author)wannabemadsci2017-08-25

You are correct! I missed this one :-)

1safetyguy (author)2017-08-14

Looks pretty good. However, some additional tips:

1) Buy your welding glass from a welder supply company such as: Airgas, Praxair, etc. Many towns and cities have them. Or, even some home supply and hardware stores have them. I wouldn't trust my eyesight or my kids/grand kids to some of the stuff online.

2) Just take a piece of cardboard and poke a hole in it with anything, even a pencil. Hold the cardboard facing the ground (asphalt, concrete driveway/side walk) and watch the eclipse happen "on the ground". This is totally SAFE, cheap and works well too. We did it for a solar eclipse back in the 80s or 90s and were surprised how well you could view the eclipse. Simple and Safe!

Remember: You only have two eyes and you can't grow another!

IrynaC (author)1safetyguy2017-08-14

Thank you for the great tips!
The glass absolutely has to be purchased from reputable welder supply company.

oboist1 (author)2017-08-13

Just ordered 2"x4 1/4" #12 Welder's Glass from eBay for $2.50 with "Free and Fast" Delivery. Mine will arrive on on or before Friday, 8/18. Check your delivery date by typing your zip code into the seller's delivery section.

lukee1986 (author)oboist12017-08-14

these r $1 and u do no making

Cayotica (author)oboist12017-08-13

what company please l can't find anything less than 10 that will promis delivery before eclipse day

oboist1 (author)Cayotica2017-08-13

Search eBay using: Glass welding filter plate shade 12

After you get your search results:

click ebay's SORT button then

click "price+shipping:lowest first"

barrenweldsupply is the company on eBay selling 2"x4 1/4 #12 welder's glass for $2.50. VERY IMPORTANT: CHECK YOUR DELIVERY DATE ! Type your zip code into the seller's delivery section for an estimated delivery date.

Cayotica (author)oboist12017-08-13

tks very much, l am not very good with Ebay try as much as l could l never got close to your results until l followed your Instructable. Great horse for future searches.

IrynaC (author)Cayotica2017-08-13

Metalwork Supply Company offers 2 day delivery. Their price for glass is same.

IrynaC (author)oboist12017-08-13

"Check your delivery date by typing your zip code into the seller's delivery section" This is very important!

lukee1986 (author)2017-08-14

just buy these for $1 and save urself the hassle

IrynaC (author)2017-08-13

Amazon recalls eclipse glasses!

charlessenf-gm (author)2017-08-13

I saw some viewing glasses at LOWES fro #3 or so - cardboard with dark lens. Similar to what they sell for 3d viewing of movies, albeit with a much denser/darker lens.

Cayotica (author)2017-08-13

where do I buy No.12 welder glass?

charlessenf-gm (author)Cayotica2017-08-13

google "2" x 4-1/4" Shade 14 Hardened Glass Welding Lens"

IrynaC (author)Cayotica2017-08-13

The glass is listed in "Welding Lenses and Plates" category. Type "welding helmet" in the "Search" window and make sure that you choose #12 in the sidebar menu.

IrynaC (author)Cayotica2017-08-13

Good morning! We have ordered ours from

The shipping was a tad high, but very fast which is important as of this week :-)
Whoever you order it from double check the delivery date, many suppliers promise to deliver it on August 23, which is of no use :-)

rodhembree (author)2017-08-13

Do NOT look directly at the sun, most especially children. Make a pin-hole projector out of a large cardboard box. Search the internet for easy ways to do this. With a projector several kids (adults, too) can view it at the same time.

kay.easterday (author)2017-08-11

I have done some research. The welders glass is not safe to view the sun.

IrynaC (author)kay.easterday2017-08-11

Hi, Kay, you are correct. Not all welders glass is safe. It should be shade #12 or higher. I did purchase a welding mask at Home Depot before and it was terrible.

Here is a quote from NASA safety recommendations.

"Viewing with Protection -- Experts suggests that one widely available filter for safe solar viewing is welders glass of sufficiently high number. The only ones that are safe for direct viewing of the Sun with your eyes are those of Shade 12 or higher. These are much darker than the filters used for most kinds of welding. If you have an old welder's helmet around the house and are thinking of using it to view the Sun, make sure you know the filter's shade number. If it's less than 12 (and it probably is), don't even think about using it to look at the Sun. Many people find the Sun too bright even in a Shade 12 filter, and some find the Sun too dim in a Shade 14 filter — but Shade 13 filters are uncommon and can be hard to find. "

kay.easterday (author)IrynaC2017-08-11

Thank you. The one site I saw said to not trust the welders glass. Even the higher #, but if NASA says it's OK then it must be.

IrynaC (author)kay.easterday2017-08-11

You are welcome, glad you found this information helpful :-)

Swansong (author)2017-08-10

That's a neat way to make one out of used materials :) I hope you have fun watching the eclipse!

IrynaC (author)Swansong2017-08-10

Thank you, Swansong!

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