How to Make a Kaleidoscope

A picture of a kaleidoscope by

Jalil Smith, Reporter

A kaleidoscope is a toy containing colored material between two flat plates and two mirrors so well placed that changes in the position of the material are reflected in a variety of different patterns. As a kid, I had a lot of fun playing with these toys and would show them to my friends and family. I went to a STEM program in Nashville, Tennessee and made one. I found out that kaleidoscopes could be used to create things like stained glass, jewelry and wallpapers because of the color schemes that they provide. With the right materials, you could make your very own kaleidoscope at home. 


You will need:

  • A plastic report cover
  • A piece of black construction paper
  • A pencil
  • Tape
  • A paper towel roll
  • Plastic wrap
  • Beads, sequins, or confetti
  • A ruler
  • A rubber band
  • Scissors

For the base of your kaleidoscope, draw an 8-by-4 inch rectangle in the middle of the plastic report cover. Using your scissors, cut it out. Then draw three 1 ¼ inch and one  1⁄4 inch horizontal lines on the cover. 


Fold the plastic cover according to the lines and tape the last fold. 


Make the paper towel roll the same size as your base. To create your peephole, turn the paper towel tube on one end, standing straight up. Trace a circle around it on black construction paper. Poke a hole into the paper. Put your base into the paper towel roll and tape the peephole onto the roll. 


Cut a four-inch square in your plastic wrap and stuff it into the other side of the paper towel roll until it becomes a pouch. Fill the pouch with either the beads, sequins or confetti. Cover the pouch with another piece of plastic wrap and seal it off with a rubber band. 


Hold the tube up to one of your eyes and look at a light. Congratulations, you have just finished your kaleidoscope. All credit goes to