This simple kaleidoscope is cheap and fun to make. Enjoy looking at the pretty patterns the colourful beads make as you turn the kaleidoscope.
Time: 45 minutes
Age: 5-10's, Over 10's
Tube (we used cardboard kitchen roll tube)
Clear plastic food packaging
Small piece of greaseproof paper
Small piece of dark coloured cardboard
Colourful translucent beads
Reflective silver cardboard
Measure the diameter of the tube and the length of the tube.
Draw three rectangles side by side on a piece of reflective card. Each rectangle should be 1cm shorter than the length of the tube long and 90% of the diameter of the tube wide.
Fold the three rectangles into a prism, shiny side in.
Close the prism with sticky tape.
Shiny card prism
Fit the prism into the tube. It should sit flush with the tube at one end and stop 1cm short at the other end.
Prism in the tube
Cut two clear plastic discs from the plastic packaging. These should be just a tiny bit smaller than the tube diameter as they need to fit snuggly inside.
Two plastic discs cut from a clear food packaging tub
Place one of the plastic discs on top of the prism at the short end. Affix with some sticky tape.
Clear plastic disc on the prism
Put some colourful translucent beads on the plastic disc on the prism, allowing some space for them to move around.
Colourful beads on the plastic disc
Stick the second clear plastic disc onto greaseproof paper with glue. Cut around leaving a small border and attach to the bead end of the kaleidoscope, plastic side inwards, sealing off the bead capsule. Fix the overhanging piece of greaseproof paper around the edge of the tube with sticky tape.
Plastic disc stuck onto a circle of greasproof paper
Greaseproof paper cap taped to kaleidoscope to make an opaque end letting light in
Cut a circle of dark coloured card and a small viewing hole in the middle. You could use a hole punch to make a neat hole.
Fix the dark card eye piece onto the non-beaded end of the tube.
Decorate the outside of the tube. We stuck on a piece of colourful contact paper.
Fun jelly bean pattern sticky back plastic on the outside of our kaleidoscope
Your kaleidoscope is ready! Peer through the eye piece and turn the kaleidoscope to see different patterns. You'll get the best images doing this somewhere light.