Although kaleidoscopes can be elaborate, collectible pieces of art costing thousands of dollars, you can make your own. Depending what you have on hand, you may not even have to spend a dime to do it. Here's what you need:
- Two or three reflective surfaces. These might be small mirrors, glass slides (the type you would use under a microscope) with one side of each painted flat black, or reflective matter such as shiny plastic or foil.
- A container large enough to hold your reflective surfaces. You might try things like a PVC pipe, a paper towel tube, or a plastic bottle. Or experiment with whatever strikes your fancy.
- An object holder. A small, clear box or pouch -- possibly made out of a bag or plastic wrap -- should do the trick as long as light can shine through it.
- Items that fit in the holder. There are no rules here, although things like confetti, beads and ribbon are a good place to start.
- Something to cover the open end of the kaleidoscope body. A scrap piece of cardboard or dark plastic would work. You will need to be able to make a viewing hole in it.
- Craft materials like scissors, glue, tape, rubber bands or whatever else is appropriate to hold your specific pieces together.
To put it all together, follow these steps:
- Form the reflective material into a vee (two sides) or a triangle (three sides). You may need to glue or tape the pieces together. This may require folding a single piece of reflective material into a triangle and cutting off the excess.
- Fit the vee or triangle into the container. Use extra cardboard, foam, glue or tape as needed to make it fit snugly.
- Fill the object holder and attach it to one end of the container. The items should be able to move in the object holder. You may need rubber bands, tape or glue to secure it.
- On the other end, attach the cover with a viewing hole. Again, you may need glue or tape to secure it.
- Decorate the outside as desired. You could add color to the far side of the object holder. (Not too much or you'll block the light.) Paint, markers, colored paper or stickers would make great decorations for the body.
- Hold your creation up to a window or lamp, look through the eye hole, and enjoy the fascinating world that unfolds within.
Don't be afraid to experiment. You may discover the next amazing innovation in kaleidoscope design. Like all great artisans, you're only limited by your imagination!
Visit the links below to learn more about kaleidoscopes and other related topics.
More Great Links
- Brewster, David. "Brewster Patent." 1817. (Jan. 12, 2012) http://www.brewstersociety.com/brewster_patent.pdf
- Brewster, David. "A Treatise on new philosophical Instruments for various purposes in the Arts and Sciences." Edinburgh, 1813. (July 27, 2011) http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Go85AAAAcAAJ
- Brewster Kaleidoscope Technology. "Kaleidoscope Types." (Jan. 11, 2012) http://www.brewstersociety.com/types.html
- Brewster Kaleidoscope Technology. "Kaleidoscope Glossary." (Jan. 12, 2012) http://www.brewstersociety.com/glossary.html
- Brewster Kaleidoscope Technology. "Kaleidoscope Mirror Arrangements." (Jan. 12, 2012) http://www.brewstersociety.com/mirrors.html
- Brewster Kaleidoscope Society. "Sequence of Reflection Diagrams." (Jan. 12, 2012) http://www.brewstersociety.com/mirrors.html#sequence
- Brown, Bill. "Object Relations in an Expanded Field." differences. Vol. 17, No. 3. pp. 88-106. 2006.
- Bush, Charles. "Improvement to Kaleidoscopes." September 30, 1873. (July 28, 2011) http://www.brewstersociety.com/bush_patent.pdf
- Chateau de Versailles. "The Hall of Mirrors" (Jan. 12, 2012) http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover-the-estate/the-palace/the-palace/the-hall-of-mirrors/the-hall-of-mirrors/the-hall-of-mirrors-1
- Daily, Laura. "Be Dazzled: Kaleidoscope." National Geographic Society. (Jan. 12, 2012) http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/activities/funscience/be-dazzled/
- Encyclopedia Britannica. "Kaleidoscope." (Jan. 12, 2012) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/310099/kaleidoscope
- Enoch, Jay M. "History of Mirrors Dating Back 8000 Years." Optometry & Vision Science. Vol. 83, Issue 10. pp. 775-781. October 2006. (Jan. 12, 2012)
- Fels, Sidney; Reiners, Dirk; and Mase, Kenji. "Iamascope: "An Interactive Kaleidoscope: Proposal for the Electric Garden at Siggraph'97." (Jan. 12, 2012) http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.55.1071&rep=rep1&type=pdf
- Graf, Klaus-Dieter and Hodgson, Bernard R. "Popularizing Geometrical Concepts: The Case of the Kaleidoscope." For the Learning of Mathematics. Vol. 10, No. 3. pp. 42-50. November 1990,
- Greivenkamp, John. "How to Make a Kaleidoscope." The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences. (Jan. 12, 2012) http://www.optics.arizona.edu/academics/kaleidoscopehowtomakeakaleidoscope.htm
- Güdücü Tüfekci, Fatma; Çelebioğlu, Ayda; Küçükoğlu, Sibel. "Turkish children loved distraction: using kaleidoscope to reduce perceived pain during venipuncture." Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol. 18, No. 15. pp. 2180-2186. August 2009.
- Huegele, Vince. "Soda Bottle Kaleidoscope." Optics, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama. (Jan. 12, 2012) http://optics.nasa.gov/soda_bottle.pdf
- Kohler, Kevin. "Frequently Asked Questions." KaleidoscopeCollector.com. (Jan. 12, 2012) http://www.kaleidoscopecollector.com/faq.html
- Morrill, David. "Eye Candy; Oakland-based Chromascopes creates visual whimsy." Contra Costa Times. C1. Feb. 5, 2011.
- Mullin, Janet E. "'We Had Carding': Hospitable Card Play and Polite Domestic Sociability Among The Middling Sort In Eighteenth-Century England." Journal of Social History. Vol. 42, Issue 4. pp. 989-1008. Summer 2009.
- Newlin, Gary. "Simple Kaleidoscopes." New York: Sterling Publishing. 1997.
- Pendergrast, Mark. "Mirror mirror: a history of the human love affair with reflection." (Jan. 12, 2012) http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=T4-GErgSbU0CPerhacs, Jr., Leslie. United States Patent 3,579,901. May 2, 1971. (July 26, 2011) http://www.google.com/patents?hl=en&lr=&vid=USPAT3579901
- Sanchez, Aurelio. "Color and magic come together in kaleidoscopes." Albuquerque Journal, May 14, 2006. (Jan. 11, 2012) http://www.abqjournal.com/venue/459960venue05-14-06.htm
- Strathmore. "About Strathmore - History." (Jan. 11, 2012) http://www.strathmore.org/aboutstrathmore/history/fineartshistory.asp
- Sutherland, Giles. "Colvin's hall of mirrors does not lack depth." The Times. Feb 4, 2010. p. 30.
- Wade, Nicholas J. "Philosophical Instruments and Toys: Optical Devices Extending the Art of Seeing." Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, Vol. 13, No. 1, March, 2004, pp. 102-124.
- Wade, Nicholas J. "Toying with science." Perception, Vol. 33, No. 9. pp. 1025-1032. 2004, (Jan. 11, 2012) http://www.perceptionweb.com/perception/perc0904/editorial.pdf
- Walker, Jearl. "The Physics of Kaleidoscopes." Through the Kaleidoscope and Beyond" by Cozy Baker (July 29, 2011) http://www.brewstersociety.com/writings.html