How to make a kaleidoscope for a science project

Written by frank friedman
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to make a kaleidoscope for a science project
A kaleidoscope uses light, mirrors and shiny materials to create art. (CJ_Romas/iStock/Getty Images)

In 1817, David Brewster patented the kaleidoscope, which uses mirrors and shiny objects to repeatedly reflect rays of light and create artistic imagery. Brewster intended it as a scientific tool to highlight the properties of light. Instead, the kaleidoscope took off as a classic toy, dazzling children for more than 100 years. Following a few simple steps, you can create a basic version of the kaleidoscope for your science project. When finished, hold your project up to the light and view the artistic patterns.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Kitchen roll tube
  • Transparency sheet
  • Craft beads
  • Shiny confetti
  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Plastic sandwich bag

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Fold the transparency sheet twice lengthwise, creating a triangular prism. Fold the prism small enough so it fits into the kitchen roll tube.

  2. 2

    Slide the triangular transparency sheet into the tube. Adjust it so the prism does not stick out of either end. Trim with scissors if necessary.

  3. 3

    Trace a circle on the sheet of cardboard. Use one end of the tube as a guide for your circle. Using a pencil, poke a hole in the centre of the circle.

  4. 4

    Cut out the circle. Tape it to one end of the tube.

  5. 5

    Insert plastic beads and shiny confetti in the plastic bag. Place the bag on the uncovered end of the tube. Arrange shiny objects so that they fall into the hole just a bit, creating a sort of pouch of beads and confetti in the end of the tube.

  6. 6

    Lay waxed paper over the plastic bag. Pull the bag and waxed paper tightly over the edges so they lay flat over the top of the hole, with the pouch laying slightly inside the hole. Wrap a rubber band around both to hold them tightly in place. Trim off any excess.

Tips and warnings

  • You may want to substitute tape for the rubber band if the tube begins to collapse.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.