Make a simple kaleidoscope

Simple cardboard kaleidoscope

You will need:

  • A toilet roll tube
  • A piece of card
  • Scissors
  • Tin foil
  • Glue
  • Sticky tape
  • A straw
  • Paper
  • Pens


1. Cut the piece of card so that it is the same length as your toilet roll tube along one side.

Card and toilet roll tube for body of kaleidoscope


2. Create three creases in the card so that it can be folded into a triangular prism that fits neatly inside the toilet roll tube. You may need a bit of trial and error to get it the right size. 

Folded card to make triangular prism
It’s also helpful to leave a small strip of card that will overlap when you assemble the triangular prism – you can cut away the rest of the unused card. 
Triangular prism inside cardboard tube


3. Put glue all over one side of the card and stick down the foil with the shiniest side outwards.


Sticking tin foil onto card


4. Fold up the triangular prism with the shiny foil inside and use sticky tape to keep it together.

5. Slide the triangular prism inside the toilet roll tube and use loose pieces of tape to attach it at one end.

Body of kaleidoscope


6. Cut out a circle of paper and decorate it however you would like with colourful pens.

Decorated paper circle


7. Use sticky tape to attach the straw to the outside of the toilet roll tube, ensuring it overhangs at one end only.

Attach straw to kaleidoscope body


8. Use a pen or pencil to push a hole into the centre of your colourful circle and thread it onto the straw.

Finished kaleidoscope


9. You may like to cover or decorate the outside of your kaleidoscope at this stage.

10. Finally, put the toilet roll tube up to your eye and point it towards a window. What do you see when you look along the tube towards the colourful circle? How about when you slowly spin it?