Make your own light show

Make your own light show

A kaleidoscope is a light show in a tube. You can make your own!

What you need:

  • Cardboard tube from a roll of paper towel
  • Stiff piece of clear plastic
  • Ruler
  • Marker pen
  • Scissors
  • Elastic band
  • Wrapping paper
  • Things to put in your kaleidoscope - try sequins and colourful see-through beads
  • 10 cm square of black sugar paper (also called construction paper)
  • 10 cm square of cling film
  • 10 cm square of baking paper

How to:

Make sure you ask an adult for help using a craft knife and scissors.

1. Draw a 20 cm x 10 cm rectangle on the stiff plastic and cut it out.

2. Draw three lines across the rectangle as shown. Fold the plastic along those lines into a triangle shape. The small strip of plastic goes on the outside. Secure the small strip of plastic with sellotape.

Kaleidoscope template

3. Slide the triangle into the cardboard tube.

4. Draw a circle around the cardboard tube on the black sugar paper and cut it out. Use the scissors to poke a small hole in the circle.

5. Sellotape the circle over one end of the cardboard tube.

6. Place the clingfilm on the other end of the tube. Press gently to create a dip.

7. Fill the dip with sequins and beads. Make sure they don't fall into the tube!

8. Put the baking paper over the cling film. Stretch the elastic band over the cling film and the baking paper. Make sure it's a tight fit so that nothing falls out.

9. Use the wrapping paper to decorate the outside of the tube.

Hold the tube up to your eye and look through the hole in the black paper. Turn the kaleidoscope and describe what you can see!


Looking through kaleidoscopes

What's happening?

Light travels in a straight line through the air, but if it hits something it changes direction. If the light hits something shiny, the shiny object will reflect the light.

The sides of the kaleidoscope reflect the light of the beads and sequins. The reflected light waves bounce around the kaleidoscope making lots of patterns. If you turn the kaleidoscope, the beads and sequins move. This makes a new pattern.

Curriculum information