How to Make a Solar Eclipse Viewer - DIY Guy




Introduction: How to Make a Solar Eclipse Viewer - DIY Guy

About: We build stuff, test stuff, teach you stuff, (and sometimes break stuff). Check us out for new episodes every Wednesday morning on YouTube.

A total solar eclipse is coming to the USA on Monday, August 21st! There hasn't been a total eclipse visible here since 1979, and there won't be another one until 2024.

Viewing a solar eclipse with your bare eyes is super dangerous. As little as 30 seconds of cumulative exposure can cause permanent blinds spots in your vision.

If you didn't manage to get your hands some of the good eclipse glasses that are probably all sold out by now, don't be tempted by the knock-off cheap versions that are bound to pop up.

It's much safer to make yourself an easy DIY eclipse projector. You won't be able to stare directly at the sun, but they will protect your vision, which is irreplaceable.

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Step 1: Watch the Video

Less than three minutes long, and it's amusing. See if you can spot Edub, the DIY Dog.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

You'll Need

(3) Pieces of Poster Board or Foam Core

A Cereal Box

Aluminum Foil

A Pin or Small Nail

Duct Tape

A Utility Knife

Step 3: Make a Poster Board Projector

It is dangerous to view an eclipse with naked eyes or non-CE and ISO certified glasses. It's not just the visible light that gets you, it's also the ultraviolet and infrared light. The safest method to view the eclipse without special lenses is to project it indirectly.

The first method we'll show you is the simplest. You'll need two pieces of poster board or foam core.

We used foam core, because it's stiffer and doesn't flop around as much in the breeze.

Step 4: Cut the Poster Board

Use a utility knife to cut a 6"x6" hole in one of your pieces of foam core.

If you're a kid, get a grow-up to help you with this part. Keep your fingers!

Step 5: Cover With Aluminum Foil

Cut out enough aluminum foil to completely cover the 6" hole, and tape it on.

Step 6: Poke a Hole

Use a nail, pin, or needle to poke a hole in the center of the aluminum foil.

This tiny hole will work like a pinhole camera, which you'll use to project the eclipse onto the other piece of foam core.

Step 7: View the Eclipse

Find an open area with an unobstructed view of the sun.

Place one piece of foam core on the ground, and stand behind it with your back to the sun.

Hold the projector you made above your head, and move it around until the sun shines through the tiny hole, onto the foam core on the ground.

Now you can safely view the effects of the eclipse, without risking your eyes!

Step 8: Make a Cereal Box Projector

This one is a little more fun to make.

Step 9: Cut Some Poster Board

Trace the bottom of a cereal box on a white piece of poster board, and cut it out.

Tape or glue that piece to the inside bottom of the cereal box.

This is what you'll be projecting the eclipse onto.

Step 10: Tape the Box

Place a piece of duct-tape across the center of the closed top of the box.

Step 11: Cut the Box Top

Then use your utility knife to carefully cut out the box top on either side of the tape.

Step 12: Add Foil

Tape foil over one open side of the box..

...and poke a hole in the center of the foil with your pin.

Step 13: Watch the Eclipse

Stand with your back to the sun and hold the box up to your eye.

Look through the open portion of the box top.

You'll need to move around a bit to position yourself properly, but once you get it right, you'll be able to see the eclipse projected inside the box.

Step 14: Remember to Subscribe!

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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    When I was kid except the burned glass was also ideal the usage of Xray film pieces at the points where was black. I made a glass of that kind using these films and was effective and provided care to our eyes. Your Instruction, is a very good idea also to watch the ecliptic phenomena without caring for eye burns. thanks for sharing


    2 years ago

    Thanks for the aluminum foil trick. I improvised and used a cat treat container wrapped in the foil with the pinhole. Worked great!


    2 years ago

    Tried the cereal box. Worked out great, but here in south Texas we only got 65% totality. I really appreciate the post as I've never made one of these before it I was surprised how clearly I could see the clouds. Thanks alot!


    2 years ago

    I made it and i don't get how it works


    2 years ago

    In a hurry? Try an index card with about a 1 inch square cut in it. Cover the hole with a piece of smooth aluminum foil. Tape the foil in place. poke a hole in the foil. cast a shadow of the card and hole onto a sidewalk. The foil is used rather than putting a pinhole in the card because it will be a nice smooth edge. One other thing - Look for shadows below trees overlapping leaves form pinholes and you will see multiple eclipses below the tree. The dapples you see normally are round because that is the shape of the sun.


    Reply 2 years ago

    As a retired science teacher, you've got it right.