These old fashion kaleidoscopes are a more involved craft but once you understand how all of the elements come together you see how they create the optical patterns. With slight modifications and materials you can make more elaborate ones with the same principles. A stronger skill set is needed, so start easy. Many of these supplies can be found around the home but the Mylar and reflective paper will need to be sourced at an art supply store.
- A toilet paper roll, paper towel roll or a cardboard dowel
- Clear plastic (mylar) or color plastic sheets
- Hole punch or scissors
- Reflective mirror paper
- White plastic garbage bag cut into a 4 inch square
- Elmer’s Glue
- Clear plastic baggie cut into a single sheet 4 inches square
- Rubber bands
- If using clear mylar paper color it with sharpie markers in colors of your choice.
- Cut the colored mylar out with a hole puncher or scissors small circles, squares or random shapes. (these will create the optical shapes)
- Trim a ½ an inch off of the end of the roll to form a ring and set it aside.
- Decorate the tube or roll by drawing any design, shape or pattern you prefer on the out side.
- Measure a piece of reflective mirror paper 3 times the width of the diameter of your tube or roll. (if the diameter is 1 inch measure a piece of mirror paper 3 inches.)
- Then measure for the length making it the full length minus ¼ of an inch of your roll. (if the length of the roll is 4 inches, cut it to 3 ¾ in long.)
- Score the mirror paper into 3 equal strips lengthwise making sure that you don’t cut all the way through.
- Shape it into a triangle and tape the edge so it doesn’t open up.
- Insert the triangle into the tube.
- Place a small square piece of white plastic over the end of the tube.
- Place the extra ring you set aside on top of the white plastic. Secure with Elmer’s glue. Let dry.
- Put approximately 2 dozen small color plastic cut-out pieces into the center of your tube on top of the white plastic.
- Cover with the clear plastic baggie and secure with rubber bands being careful not to move the small colored shapes.
Hand crafted but wondrously effective as a kaleidoscope. Cardboard tubing used for shipping is also another very good option and they work really nicely and have an end cap you can use for the eye piece. Make sure to cut a smaller hole or triangle in the end to create a view finder.