Michael starts Spring Break this Friday and I was just trying to come up with some fun things to do for that week and realized I never shared this project with you over here on my own blog! This is my tutorial on how to make a diy kaleidoscope from supplies you probably have already around your house!  I just had to pick up one item to make this project!

How to Make a DIY Kaleidoscope from Upcycled household materials.

The boys love to help me with my projects, and better yet, they love when my projects are for them!  Michael helped me with this craft while Ryan was napping.  {A perk of being the older brother!} We did make one for Ryan to have when he woke up!

Supplies Needed for DIY Kaleidoscope:

  • Cardboard tube (paper towel roll, wrapping paper roll, vinyl roll insert, etc.)
  • Paper Cutter with scoring blade
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Scotch tape (not pictured)
  • Hot glue gun/glue sticks
  • Plastic Container (berry bin, grape tomato container, dessert lid)
  • Plastic Beads
  • Reflective Scrapbook Paper (or aluminum foil)
  • Corrugated Scrapbook Paper
  • Extra Paper or Embellishments for decoration
Kaleidoscope Supplies square
1.  First start out by measuring your cardboard tube.  {If you are using a gift wrap roll, cut down to appropriate size first}.  Mine was from the center of a roll of vinyl and it measured 9 inches long. 
Kaleidoscope Body

2.  Next we are going to make the “mirrors” that go inside to reflect all the pretty colors!  I found this great piece of mirrored scrapbook paper/cardstock right in the open stock selection at Hobby Lobby!  I have seen similar at almost every craft store I have visited!  You can certainly just use some aluminum foil on regular white cardstock if you don’t want to run out of the house. This was the one item I had to pick up from the store! :)

Mirror Specialty Scrapbooking Paper for Kaleidescope
3. Since my tube is 9 inches long, I cut the length of the inside mirrors to be 7.5″  Make them 1.5″ shorter than your length of your tube so you have plenty of room for your beads!  For the width, I measured the diameter of the inside of my roll, subtracted 1/2″ and then multiplied that number by 3. 
For example:  Diameter (distance from side to side) of my roll was 1.75″, I subtracted 1/2″ and multiplied that by three. 
1.75″ – 0.5″ = 1.25″
1.25″ x 3 = 3.75″
So I cut a 7.5″ by 3.75″ rectangle out of my mirror paper and then used the scoring blade to score at each 1.25″ mark! 
Scored Mirror Paper for Kaleidoscope
{Did I mention I am a Chemical Engineer by degree??  I get very technical sometimes but moral of this story is: make a triangle that fits inside your tube!}
4.  Using scotch tape, form a triangle with the mirrored part of the paper to the inside.
Mirror insides of a DIY Kaleidoscope
5.  Next we are going to cut circles out of our plastic piece.  I used some containers that we had in our recycle bin from some cherry tomatoes!  Any plastic container that is clear will work awesome!    We are going to need three plastic circles.  Hold your tube onto the plastic and trace with a marker.  Cut out. 
Clear Plastic Circles for Kaleidoscope
{We will need to trim one of these a bit smaller later so don’t put your scissors away yet!}

Now let’s assemble our Kaleidoscope!!

6.  Apply a thin stream of hot glue on one end of the tube and apply your first plastic circle.  Trim excess plastic as needed from the outside edges. 
7.  Insert your mirror triangle into the tube so that it’s resting on the plastic circle you just glued on in step 6. 
8.  Trim your second plastic circle just enough that it will fit inside your tube.  Just eye ball it!  Place that trimmed plastic circle inside your tube, resting on the mirror triangle. 
9.  Fill with colored beads!  You want to see pretty colors, fill it up almost to the top!  
10.  Repeat step 6 with the last plastic circle, sealing in all your kaleidoscope parts!
Bead filled Kaleidoscope
11.  To apply a “spinner”, I cut a length of corrugated scrapbook paper and used scotch tape to apply it around the tube.  Leave it a bit loose so that you can hold the spinner with one hand and spin the tube with the other!   I also cut a piece of paper with a hole as the eye piece.  (this is totally optional)
Now hold it up to a window and take a peek inside! 
Inside the DIY Kaleidoscope
He had a great time with it! {Little Brother’s was ready when he woke up from his nap too!}
DIY Kaleidoscope Tutorial