Crafty Wednesday's: Homemade Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscopes are one of the world's oldest and most famous toys because they are way cool.  Created by Scottish physicist David Brewster it in 1816, the kaleidoscope is based on the principle of multiplication via reflection.  Now that you've had your bit of toy history, let's get down to business ...


You will need the following:

-  A kitchen roll
-  Mirror card (or foil glued onto card)
-  Small colourful transparent objects (e.g. beads, sweet wrappers, lego ‘lights’)
-  Three transparent plastic discs
-  Scissors
-  Gluestick
-  Sticky tape
-  Greaseproof paper disc (optional)
-  Black paper disc (optional)
-  Paper to decorate (optional)


1. Begin by cutting your mirror card into three strips. The strips need to be 4.3 cm wide and 21cm long. Once cut, sellotape the three sides together to form a triangular prism. Make sure the shiniest sides face inwards. Push into kitchen roll tube so that the prism is flush at one end.

2. Cut two discs of plastic (I cut them from some old food containers). The circles need to have a diameter of 5.3 cm. One disc needs to be totally transparent whilst the other needs to be frosted. If you haven’t got frosted plastic to hand then simply glue a piece of greaseproof paper onto a transparent disc. Put the transparent disc inside the tube so that it rests at the end of the prism. Tape into place.


3. Pour your beads into the end of the tube. Don’t overfill as the beads need to be able to move around.

4. Place the frosted plastic disc onto the end and secure in place with tape.


5. Turn the kaleidescope over. At this end you need to tape a disc of cardboard (5.3 cm diameter) with a peephole cut into the centre. I also glued a disc of black paper to the cardboard disc just to make it look a bit smarter.

6. Decorate the tube in any way you fancy. I just glued some colourful paper at either end (I like the fact that you could still see the actual tube). I also added a corrugated paper cuff to the middle of the tube. I did this so that you can hold the cuff with one hand and rotate the tube with the other.

And voila, you've just created your very own super rad, totally classic toy ... now go stare off into space for awhile!

This great project is from the most amazing crafts blog ever - mini eco.  Check it out, you'll get obsessed!