Introduction: How to Make a Kaleidoscope

About: TAP Plastics has been providing customers with unique fiberglass, plastic and related products since 1952. We specialize in fiberglass resins and fabrics for fiberglass repair, plastic containers, and custom f…

This kaleidoscope can be very basic or you can customize both its appearance and what you see through it. Total cost: around $15. Total time: about 15 minutes.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Gather materials. Here is a list of what you will need
1-clear acrylic tube 10" long with a 1 1/4" inside diameter
3- mirror pieces 10" X 15/16". Plastic is best for safety and it can be sanded for perfect fit.
1-1 1/4" diameter clear disk
1-1 1/2" diameter cabochon
1-small tube of clear glue

I got these pieces at TAP Plastics You can also buy the kit TAP put together.

Optional stuff to add style:
1-piece of sparkle paper, or other material to wrap around the kaleidoscope
1-clear tube 2" long by 1 1/2" inside diameter
1-1 3/4" diameter clear circle
Small colorful parts (Step 7)

Step 2: Assemble the Mirrors

Form the mirrors into a triangle (shiny side in) and slide them into the tube. If the fit is too tight, sand the outside edges until they just wedge in and don't move. Make sure you clean them first, because if you can't get them back out, you'll never be able to clean them

Step 3: Glue the Parts

Using the clear glue (I used Weld-On #16 which is designed for plastic), glue the 1 1/4" disk onto one end of the tube. Use very little glue.

Step 4: Glue the Cabochon

Glue the cabochon to the other end, using the same glue. Again, just use a dab so that it does not get in the viewing area. Let the glue dry and then enjoy the view through this cool toy. Not recommended for use while driving!

Now you can do some great optional stuff to make the kaleidoscope look good from the outside and also create unbelievable images looking through it. Step 5 will show you how.

Step 5: Decorate the Kaleidoscope

I used adhesive backed sparkle film to wrap my kaleidoscope. It was a piece 9 3/4" by 4 3/4". You could use wrapping paper, rattle snake skin, etc. You ask, why was it 9 3/4" long when the tube is 10" long? The answer is in step 8.

Step 6: Glue Disk

Glue the large remaining disk to one end of the 2" piece of tube. The disk I had was bigger than the tube, but that does not matter.

Step 7: Add Glitters

Here is where you can create some spectacular images. Put a small quantity of something colorful into the short tube. You can use glitter, beads, sea shells, toenail clippings, or whatever. I used small shiny beads here.

Step 8: Last Step

Take the 2" piece of tube and slip it about 1/4" over the cabochon end of the kaleidoscope. This is why the sparkle paper was 1/4" shorter than the tube. The fit between the two tubes was so tight, the bigger tube would only slip over the bare smaller tube. Don't glue the tubes together. That way you can separate them and experiment with different materials.