The word kaleidoscope means an observer of beautiful forms. Kids in our art class were certainly observing some beautiful forms as they made and decorated their very own kaleidoscopes using simple, everyday materials. You can easily make your own! You will need:
- black construction paper
- scissors and glue
- tin foil
- crayon shavings
- colored transparent beads
- sequins or glitter
- wax paper
- hot iron
- plastic wrap
1. Glue tin foil (shiny side up) to a standard-sized piece of black construction paper. Trim the edges.
2. Decorate the black side however you like!
3. Fold the paper vertically into thirds, and tape into place to form a long prism.
4. Cut a circle from the black paper about 3 inches in diameter. Cut a small hole at the center. Affix this viewfinder to one end of your prism.
Now for the colorful end!
5. Sprinkle colored crayon shavings onto a small area of wax paper. Place another sheet of wax paper on top.
6. (Ask an adult to) iron the wax paper on low heat. Put a barrier of cloth between the wax paper and the hot iron so it doesn’t burn. After about two minutes, the heat should melt the crayon shavings together.
7. Select a few colored beads and sequins to place on top of your colorful wax paper sandwich.
8. Loosely cover your beads with plastic wrap and tape or glue into place. Be careful not to pull too tightly — you’ll want your beads to move in their little pocket!
9. Attach this to the open end of your prism with the beads facing inward. Fold edges over to fit, and tape or glue into place.
Kaleidoscopes were originally created as a scientific tool to study the properties of light, but they ended up becoming enormously popular as toys for children. They use the reflections created by the tin foil to turn arbitrary patterns into a beautiful symmetrical pattern. So hold yours up to the light and turn to watch the beautiful, moving forms!