Kitchen roll kaleidoscope

Kitchen roll kaleidoscopeSorry it’s been a little while in between posts….I’ve got a number of projects on the go and it’s been a bit of a struggle to actually get one finished!

Anyway check out this ‘kitchen roll’ kaleidoscope. It works surprisingly well and can be made from household scraps.

It’s one of those projects that also appeals to different age groups. My two and three year old love playing with it but it would make a great rainy day project for an older kid.

How to

You will need
♥ A kitchen roll
♥ Mirror card (or foil glued onto card)
♥ Small colourful transparent objects (e.g. beads, sweet wrappers, lego ‘lights’)
♥ Three transparent plastic discs
♥ Scissors
♥ Gluestick
♥ Sticky tape
♥ Greaseproof paper disc (optional)
♥ Black paper disc (optional)
♥ Paper to decorate (optional)

Kitchen roll kaleidoscope

Kitchen roll kaleidoscope

Please note: All measurements given in this tutorial are based on you using a standard kitchen roll tube (23cm long with a diameter of approx 5.3 cm).

Kitchen roll kaleidoscope

1. Begin by cutting your mirror card into three strips. The strips need to be 4.3 cm wide and 21cm long. Once cut, sellotape the three sides together to form a triangular prism. Make sure the shiniest sides face inwards. Push into kitchen roll tube so that the prism is flush at one end.

2. Cut two discs of plastic (I cut them from some old food containers). The circles need to have a diameter of 5.3 cm. One disc needs to be totally transparent whilst the other needs to be frosted. If you haven’t got frosted plastic to hand then simply glue a piece of greaseproof paper onto a transparent disc. Put the transparent disc inside the tube so that it rests at the end of the prism. Tape into place.

Kitchen roll kaleidoscope

3. Pour your beads into the end of the tube. Don’t overfill as the beads need to be able to move around.

4. Place the frosted plastic disc onto the end and secure in place with tape.

Kitchen roll kaleidoscope

5. Turn the kaleidescope over. At this end you need to tape a disc of cardboard (5.3 cm diameter) with a peephole cut into the centre. I also glued a disc of black paper to the cardboard disc just to make it look a bit smarter.

Kitchen roll kaleidoscope

6. Decorate the tube in any way you fancy. I just glued some colourful paper at either end (I like the fact that you could still see the actual tube). I also added a corrugated paper cuff to the middle of the tube. I did this so that you can hold the cuff with one hand and rotate the tube with the other.

Hope that all makes sense. Leave a comment below if you have questions and i’ll get back to you.


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40 Comments Leave yours

  1. Lisa #

    Kate!! I am so excited to have just found your blog. I love it! But I must remember for next time that cooking and poring over your blog don’t mix. I was lost in your pages and smelt smoke and had totally forgotten about the oil I had on the stove which was smoking nicely. I can’t wait to make all your awesome projects with my son and share it all with my friends. Congrats on the beautiful and thought-provoking posts. xxx

  2. Kate #

    Hi Lisa….thanks for such a lovely comment….. My husband thinks I’m barking mad so it’s good to have some reassurance. Haha!!
    I cremated a croissant in the toaster this morning so sympathise with the smoky kitchen situation.
    Let me know if you do any of the projects….always interested to hear how people get on!

  3. What a lovely project! It would be so nice too look at all of our fall color through one of these. We will have to try it! It is always a treat to visit this lovely and inspiring place. Thanks and all the best, a

  4. loulou #

    You really do create some fabulous things Kate… can’t wait to try this one out with the nippers ;-)

  5. love this craft! i got a kaleidoscope craft kit last year and this look just as good, if not better! thanks for all the great inspiration :)

  6. meg #

    these are totally fantastic! I knew I was saving all those cardboard tubes for something.

  7. shabana rashid #

    i am having trouble putting the transparent plastic disc inside my tube. any other suggestions?

  8. Kate #

    Hi Shabana…what’s the problem exactly? Is it too big/small or just too fiddly…

  9. these are so colorful and fun- I’ve had these on my mind for quite awhile- can’t wait to try them with my boys!!!

    I “pinned” this one to my board on Pinterest! Love it!

  10. Thank you thank you. I was looking for a tutorial like that! I can not believe they charge as here for a course of tutorial!!! Great ideas!

  11. LOVE IT! thank you for the inspiration.

  12. love it ! thank you for the inspiration.

  13. Jessika #

    I was looking for fun activities for a school school assignment and i must say i am so happy i found your blog!! I love crafts and I cant wait to do most of these. I your idea for the kaleidoscope for my assignment but i attached a link to you page!! happy crafting :)

  14. Abbey101!! #

    II love looking at your website, especially in the school holidays. me and my friend did marbling and it was very fun and colourful

    • Kate #

      Hi Abbey, glad you are having fun and the marbling went well ^_^

  15. ud #

    i really love it helped me do my school’s project.
    is there a close substitute to the kitchen roll

    • Kate #

      Hi Ud….the only thing I can think of is to tape two toilet roll tubes together…or to simply use a rolled up piece of card ^_^

  16. Thank you for posting this tutorial! Seems super easy to follow!
    Question – What did you use/ where did you buy the mirrored card? Do you know if it works just the same with tin foil?
    Can’t wait to try this project out! Thanks!!

    • Kate #

      Hi Leora,

      I bought it from ebay…I seem to get most of my craft supplier from there. Tin foil does work….just not as well. If you do use tin foil try to keep it as flat and crumple-free as possible.

  17. ps – can use cardboard mailing tubes from any post office/ business depot (about 50 cents a tube) !!!

  18. Ionie Liburd Willett #

    Thanks for sharing such a simple but engaging activity. My nine year old son can’t wait to try it and neither can I.

  19. clmosher #

    I’ve spent most of today, off and on again, (between fielding my kids around) making 13 of these for my son’s Pirate Birthday this Saturday. They are easy enough to make, just not sure I would do them in bulk like this again. I found my foiled card at Walmart in the Scrapbooking section for around $8. I used Scotch self seal laminating protectors for the clear pieces (The photo sized 5 pk) I used a gallon milk carton for the opaque pieces. Found beads at the Dollar Store. Hole punch a circle I cut from a cereal box for the eye hole. And gathered toilet paper rolls over a month. But they are turning out adorable!

    • Kate #

      Yay! I’m incredibly impressed! I can’t say that i would attempt such a feat….I made one for each of my sons and that was it. You are right though…they are adorable.

      Hope your son has a wonderful birthday…and well done again!

      Kate ^_^

  20. arti #

    hi! thanks yr blog information helped me a lot . again thanks wonderful

  21. Thanks so much for posting this great idea – we used seashells for the inside of the kalideoscope – granted mine didn’t turn out nearly as nice as yours but my 3 year old thinks its great and we had fun making it!

  22. Kara Pernal #

    Gee, that was fun! I really think your techniques were better than all the others. Thanks a lot!

  23. it was really interesting .I am trying it and soon will be complete…………………thanks a lot for making this boss

  24. I did it when I was at school (when I was 12 years old, that means AGES ago) and still have it. I forgot how to do it….and now you reminded me how to! :) thanks a lot!
    ciao from Italy!

  25. yashovardhan #

    i like the style and way of teaching how to make a kaleidoscope……..

  26. nice procedure and very simple. it does not require any mirror

  27. me #

    Hi my plastic circles are too big is there any reason why?

  28. kristin #

    i really love it!! i was finding some easy steps for making this kaleidoscope for my school project… ur scope is just perfect… easy and beautiful, i had got an A in my project… thankyou so much!!

    • Kate #

      Yay! Well done Kristin. ^_^

  29. meeta #

    it is ok not tooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo useful that i neeeeeeeeeeeeeeded.
    but nice enogh for a maid one

  30. Pietro #

    lovely and inspiring! I’m starting to experiment with kaleidoscopes in my industrial design course at Aalto University in Helsinki, and this is genius to me especially because of the cuff that allows you to turn – not shake – the tube to change the image! One question: how did you create the cuff? did you glue it? thanks!

    • Kate #

      Hi Pietro,

      I was a long time ago but i think I just used double sided tape. It was corrugated paper so turned quite easily. Good luck with your studies.

      Kate ^_^

  31. janette #

    I love it, if theres no problem, can u send me more crafts…… it’s my hobby

  32. Hola! Me encanta tu blog! He enlazado esta idea en mi blog, para poder compartirla con mis seguidores. Espero que te guste mi blog! Y si prefieres que quite el enlace me avisas. Gracias!! Saludos desde Argentina!

  33. madapaka #

    mg aanakay ong putamgawa lakayongutak hayop

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