How to make a pirate telescope

Updated March 13, 2018

Hit the high seas with pirate craft fun. A pirate's telescope is a simple kids' craft that uses materials you probably already have. The pirate craft works well at home as a rainy day activity or in a classroom to accompany a pirate lesson. The resulting pirate's telescope gives kids a prop for pretend play about pirates. A cardboard pirate's sword and treasure map offer other pirate craft opportunities to expand the children's collection of pirate tools.

Turn the cup upside down and place the end of the paper towel tube on top of it. Trace around the tube as a guideline. Cut out the circle.

Slide the end of the paper towel tube into the hole on the paper cup bottom. Secure the tube with masking tape. The masking tape is easy to paint and will hold the cup securely. For extra hold, place a piece of tape on the inside between the tube and cup. You can also use hot glue if you choose a paper cup.

Cut a circle of cling film slightly larger than the opening of the cup to create the telescope lens. Tape the edges of the cling film circle to the cup. Use masking tape to hold the cling film in place and cover up its edges on the cardboard tube. You'll paint over it so the tape won't be as noticeable.

Paint the cardboard tube and cup with any colour of tempera paint. Allow the paint to dry fully.

Decorate the outside of the pirate's telescope. Ideas for decorations include stickers, glitter, gemstones or additional painting. Encourage the children to use their imagination when designing the pirate telescope decoration.

Allow the decorations to dry fully before the children play with the telescopes.


Clear or coloured cellophane also works well as the telescope lens. Make a pirate's map on a piece of paper with torn edges or a pirate's sword out of cardboard to go along with the pirate's telescope.

Things You'll Need

  • Styrofoam or paper cup
  • Paper towel tube
  • Tape
  • Paint
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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.