August 30, 2009

Homemade kaleidoscope toy

The kaleidoscope is one of those toys that make me nostalgic for my childhood. Today, just before children go back to school, I'd like to show how to make a homemade kaleidoscope toy. On the photo above you can see samples of what's seen through the kaleidoscope I've built with my kids. Each pattern is enclosed in a black circle because of the way I photographed them. In reality though, you should see continuous patterns throughout the field of view.

You will need:

  • A large plastic mirror like those used in baby toys. I had one broken.
  • Colored beads.
  • Craft knife and metal ruler to cut the mirror.
  • Any adhesive tape.
  • Nice wrapping paper.
  • Toilet paper or paper towel tubes.
  • Pieces of transparent and semitransparent plastic from a used packaging (i.e. of yogurt).

1. Cut the mirror into three equal strips, approximately 12 inches (31 cm) long. An approximate width of the strips can be calculated according to the following formula: 0.866*D, where D is the diameter of the tubes you have.

2. Build a prism out of the strips putting them together so that their reflective sides face inwards. Secure with the adhesive tape.

3. Insert the prism into a long tube built out of the toilet paper tubes. This tube must be about 3/8 inch (1 cm) longer than the mirrors at both ends. Stack and cut the short tubes if needed.

4. Cover one end of the prism with a round piece of transparent plastic and put colored beads loosely on it.

5. Then cover this end of the tube with a piece of semitransparent plastic and seal it using the adhesive tape.

6. Close the other end of the kaleidoscope with a piece of cardboard that has a small hole (about 1/4 inch or 6 mm) in its center.

7. Finally, wrap your kaleidoscope in a wrapping paper or decorate it in any other way you like.

Now point the toy to a source of light (make sure the light isn't too bright) and look through it. Create new unique patterns by rotating the tube. Enjoy!


Liza Arie said...

Инна, это гениально! Калейдоскоп из детства! И все так просто! Спасибо огромное!

Светлана В.С. said...

Супер! У меня в детстве был такой калейдоскоп со стекляшками, могла часами разглядывать.

Orava_Anna said...

Aaa!! Здорово!!! Большое спасибо, Инна, Ваш калейдоскоп замечателен! Обязательно попробую сделать!

Inna D. said...

Девочки, всем огромное спасибо за теплые комментарии, я как в него заглянула, сама в детство окунулась :)

Elli said...

Какой классный и правда из детства!
Молодец Иннуль.:)

Alima said...

Просто здорово! Не знала, что такой можно сделать дома.Спасибо!

Inna D. said...

Elli, Alima спасибо большое!

Handmade in Israel said...

What a great blog you have here! So happy to have found it!
(Another Israeli blogger)

Inna D. said...

Thanks a lot, Lisa! You have great blog too :)

bedienutza said...

This is so useful! I love caleidoscopes. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I found that mirror window film (it's self adhesive but a pain to peel from the liner)mounted on cardstock works great for the mirrors inside. This is especially useful if making large quantities. This was fun! Thanks =)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I made a kaleidoscope when I was a child. I have been looking for simple. easy to follow instructions. You made it easy! I plan to use this on the first day of school with my 5th grade class. Thanks again for a great project.
Kathy in TEXAS

Unknown said...

Where do you buy that plasitc mirror stuff?

Inna D. said...

@Kathy in TEXAS
You're welcome! Thanks for your comments

Try craft stores or use mirror window film mounted on cardstock as an Anonymous kindly suggested.

Anonymous said...

Thanx.dis was really helpful!!!!

Anonymous said...

Where 2 get the mirror from? I need it urgently. btw the idea of making it is very good. The only thing I need is a piece of mirror
2 make it.

Inna D. said...

Try craft stores or use mirror window film mounted on cardstock as another Anonymous kindly suggested.

Anonymous said...

would it also work to use a Pringle chip can? If you could get the mirrors for the size of the can.

Inna D. said...

I think yes

Unknown said...

Inna nu vy volshebnitsa!