Be Dazzled—Make Your Own Kaleidoscope


  • Paper towel tube cut eight inches (20 centimeters) long
  • Clear plastic report cover
  • Ruler
  • Pen or marker
  • Paring knife or art utility knife
  • Four-inch (ten-centimeter) squares (one each) of black construction paper, plastic wrap, and waxed paper
  • Scissors
  • Rubber band
  • Clear tape
  • Colored transparent beads, small sequins, and shiny confetti
  • Stickers and wrapping paper
  1. Draw an 8-by-4-inch (20-by-10-centimeter) rectangle on the report cover. Cut it out. Draw three lines across the rectangle as shown.
  2. Fold the plastic along the lines to form a triangular shape. The quarter-inch (.6-centimeter) strip goes on the outside. Tape the strip along the edge so it stays closed.
  3. Slide the plastic triangle into the paper towel roll.
  4. Turn the paper towel tube on one end. Trace a circle around it on the construction paper. Poke a hole through the center of the circle and tape it over one end of the tube.
  5. Place a square of plastic wrap on the other end of the tube. Press down to create a pouch in the end of the plastic triangle. Put some beads, sequins, and confetti in the pouch.
  6. Place a square of waxed paper over the pouch. Stretch the rubber band over both the waxed paper and the plastic wrap. Be sure it’s on tight so nothing spills out!
    Trim the corners of the squares. Decorate the outside of the paper towel roll with stickers or wrapping paper.
  7. Hold the tube up to one eye and look through it. Turn it and watch your own light show!



Light travels in a straight line through empty space, but when it bumps into an object, it changes direction. Some shiny surfaces, like the plastic report cover or a mirror, send or reflect light back to you. (Think of a ball bouncing off a wall.) The sides of the plastic tube inside the kaleidoscope reflect the beads, sequins, and confetti. The reflections bounce back and forth from side to side creating multiple images. When you turn the kaleidoscope, the pieces move, and you see a different design.


Text by Laura Daily

Illustrations by David Bamundo

Illustration: a sheet of plastic with measurements
Step 1
Illustration: hands folding a sheet of plastic
Step 2
Illustration: hands holding a folded plastic sheet and paper towel roll
Step 3
Illustration: a hand holding a pencil and a hand taping paper to a paper towel roll
Step 4
Illustration: fingers, small objects, and plastic wrap
Step 5
Illustration: a hand holding waxed paper and a hand holding a rubber band
Illustration: a hand holding a paper towel roll and scissors
Step 6
Illustration: a kaleidoscope
Step 7
Illustration: a boy looking into a kaleidoscope
Enjoy your kaleidoscope.