How to Make a Kaleidoscope

Gather up a few basic supplies and try our video or step-by-step guides for how to make a simple kaleidoscope.

How to make a kaleidoscope

Kids will love the making fun  as much as they will playing with their finished kaleidoscope with this easy kids craft project. All you need are a few basic craft supplies and a sheet of mirror card to give this a go. We’ve used a couple of cardboard tubes and a plastic tub from our recycling box and some beads and sellotape. The only extra you’ll need is some mirror card or silver card from your local craft store or Amazon. Check out our video guide for how to make a kaleidoscope or scroll down for full step-by-step instructions.

If you’re on the hunt for children’s craft ideas, try our Easy Salt Dough Recipe. Read on for our step by step guide or scroll to the bottom of this post for our video tutorial.

How to make a kaleidoscope step 1

To start off you’ll need two cardboard tubes – we’ve used the tubes from the inside of a kitchen roll and toilet roll.

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You Will Need

  • Cardboard tubes (2)
  • Mirror card
  • Sellotape
  • Scissors
  • Beads
  • Card or paper (A4 sheet), To decorate the outside of the tube
  • Plastic tub, We used an old fruit carton from our recycling bin

Total time:

Step 1

Cover the larger cardboard tube with black or coloured card or paper. This is just for decoration so if you don’t have any paper or card, you can just decorate with pens or paints instead, or leave it blank.

How to make a kaleidoscope step 2

Step 2

Cut three strips of mirror card and stick them together along their long edges (shiny sides facing inwards) with sellotape to form a triangular prism, which we’ll be inserting into the main cardboard tube.

You may need to play around your strip sizes to get the perfect fit before you begin – a good tip is to try it with some scrap paper first until you’ve got the right fit, then use this as a template for your mirror card. We’ve used three strips that each measure 19cm x 4.3cm to form a prism that fits the inside of a kitchen roll tube (the tube measures 10cm tall and 4.5cm across). If you’re using a smaller toilet roll tube and you live here in the UK, try cutting your strips to measure 9cm x 4.1cm each (this would fit a tube that measures 10cm x 4.5cm).

How to make a kaleidoscope step 4

Step 3

Insert the prism into the middle of the cardboard tube. You should leave a space about 1cm from the end.

How to make a kaleidoscope step 6

Step 4

Cut the edge of the second, smaller tube to create a ring that’s 2m tall. This should fit snuggly inside the larger tube at the end to form an end cap later. If the smaller tube doesn’t fit inside the larger tube, simply cut it along it’s short edge and use sellotape to turn it into a smaller tube that does just fit into the main tube. You don’t want it to be too loose so that it will fall out, but small enough to fit inside the tube.

How to make a kaleidoscope step 7

Step 5

Use your ring from step 4 as a template to cut two circles of plastic from a plastic carton.

How to make a kaleidoscope step 8

 

Step 6

Sellotape the first plastic circle to one of the outer edges of the ring. Leave the other edge free for the next step.

How to make a kaleidoscope step 10

Step 7

Fill the end piece with beads and sequins.

How to make a simple kaleidoscope step 11

Step 8

Sellotape the second plastic circle to the other edge of the ring, sealing the beads and sequins inside.

How to make a simple kaleidoscope step 12

Step 9

Insert the finished end cap into the main tube so it rests up against the edge of the triangular prism.

How to make a simple kaleidoscope step 14
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Your kaleidoscope is ready! When you look into it and twist the end piece, you’ll see the bead and sequin shapes dancing in front of your eyes!