Hands on Crafts For Kids is the resource for kids craft projects and instructions for kids 6-12 and parents, teachers and other group leaders. It includes school and curriculum based projects,  multi cultural projects, and every day, holiday and seasonal ideas.

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Make Your Own Kaleidoscope by Katie Hacker


When you see the “helping hand” symbol on a project, it means you may need adult supervision to do the project.


Age Range: 7 to 12

Grade Range: 2 to 6

Skill Level: Moderate

Appropriate for These Special Events:
Every Day and Rainy Days

Supports Subject Area(s) of:
Language Arts – e.g. step by step instructions
Mathematics - measuring
Visual Arts
Time needed for project:
1 to 2 hours

Build your own kaleidoscope and decorate it with fun embellishments.

Main Materials:
1 1/2” wide x 7 3/4” long cardboard tube
Small plastic container/lid that fits inside tube
Three 1 1/2” wide x 7-7 1/2” long strips of acrylic mirror
Thin cardboard donut for eyepiece (see step 1)
Wide patterned duct tape
Wide solid Alex® duct tape
Skinny Alex® duct tape or masking tape
Sticker letters
Acrylic gems

Basic Materials:
Elmer’s® Tacky Glue
Assorted beads, rocks, gems to put inside the kaleidoscope



  1. Cut a donut out of thin cardboard to fit over the end of the tube to form an eyepiece. (Ours came with the kit, but you could use a recycled cereal box to cut one out.)
  2. Place the donut on a piece of wide duct tape and use scissors to press through the center circle.
  3. Cut slits in the tape toward the inner edge of the circle and use your fingers to press the ends inside the donut.
  4. Hold the eyepiece over the end of the tube and fold the tape down to attach it to the tube.
  5. Tear off a strip of skinny duct tape (or masking tape) that's about 5” long.
  6. Lay the tape sticky-side-up on your work surface.
  7. Place the mirror strips side-by-side across the tape.
  8. Fold the tape so the mirrors form a triangle shape with the shiny sides on the inside. This forms the prism that will reflect color and light inside the tube.
  9. Place the prism inside the tube.
  10. Place a strip of wide solid color duct tape on the tube from end-to-end and trim the edge flush with the end of the tube. Repeat on the opposite side of the tube.
  11. Place a strip of wide patterned duct tape overlapping the solid color duct tape to cover the exposed cardboard tube. Repeat on the opposite side of the tube.
  12. Run a thin line of craft glue around the bottom of the plastic container and place it inside the cardboard tube.
  13. Use stickers to spell the word “look” or your name or another favorite word.
  14. Glue acrylic gems around the edge of the eyepiece.
  15. Place beads, gems and other small, colorful objects inside the plastic container.
  16. Look through the eyepiece and turn your kaleidoscope to see beautiful patterns!


Note: Kid's kaleidoscope kits are widely available. This is convenient because it can be difficult to find the right size of kid-friendly mirror strips and tubes that work together. We used the Nature Kaleidoscope Kit by Gemini Kaleidoscopes for the basic structure of our kaleidoscope.



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