Colorful Comic Kaleidoscope

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2 Hours


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Make a kaleidoscope to bathe a black and white Spider-Man comic in colorful light. Ordinary kaleidoscopes need ambient light to work: you view it by pointing it toward a light source. This one has built-in illumination so you can hold it right up against a printed page. The special RGB LED has a color-changing feature that continuously cycles through a rainbow of colors, making viewing black and white comics a trippy treat!

Download Spider-Man comic here.
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Cut 6-1/2″ from a paper towel tube — this will be the body of the kaleidoscope. Cut three strips of black ABS, 1-1/4″ wide and 6-1/2″ long. Arrange the three strips in a triangular shape, shiny sides facing in, and insert it into the tube. The three shiny surfaces make a great first-surface mirror!


Cut a 1-1/2″-diameter disc out of ABS. Drill or grind a 3/4″ hole in the center. Drill three small holes near the edge and thread the LED’s legs through. Bend the legs to ensure the LED will shine inside of the mirrors when the disc is in place. Attach the switch to the disc, across from the LED, using super glue.

Solder the LED’s flat-side lead to ground of a 3V button cell battery holder and solder the other leg to one of the contacts on the switch. Solder the other switch contact to the positive on the battery. Insert the battery into the holder, then flip the switch to turn on the LED and watch it cycle through its colors!


Make a small hole for the switch on the side of the tube. Position the disc, LED side down, on top and slip the battery into the space between an ABS strip and the tube. Slide the switch through the hole. If needed, cover the back and side of the LED with a small piece of black electrical tape to shade your eye from glare.


Cut out a 1-3/4-diameter circle of foam and tape it to the tube on top of the ABS disc. Slide the scope directly over your favorite comics and flip the switch to watch the colors go — cool! Scan to see the Colorful Comic Kaleidoscope in action!


Once you’ve bathed the black and white Spider-Man comic in the dazzling colors from your kaleidoscope, try adding two LEDs to see the new light effects. Will you try red and blue for Spider-Man colors, and yellow and green for one of his archenemies? You could also make two kaleidoscopes, one with each color combo, so you can play out a battle between the two in colorful lights!

Download Spider-Man comic here.

Project Author - Bob Knetzger

Bob Knetzger is a designer/inventor/musician whose award-winning toys have been featured on The Tonight Show, Nightline, and Good Morning America.

Make Fun!: Create Your Own Toys, Games, and Amusements

You don’t need to own a factory to make toys. Author and toymaker Bob Knetzger has been making fun stuff all his life with simple technology like vacuum forming and mold-making. In an age where makers are tantalized by the capabilities of 3d printers and other digital fab technology, this book takes you back to old-school hand tools, simple electronics, and working with metal and plastic to make toys every bit as good as those you can find in a big-box store.

This book has something for everyone, from a marble maze to a talking booby trap; from custom cookie cutters to an “EZ Make” oven. Discover the basic principles of science, electronics, and engineering through hands-on projects that range from easy to more challenging… and are always fun!


Please Note

Your safety is your own responsibility, including proper use of equipment and safety gear, and determining whether you have adequate skill and experience. Power tools, electricity, and other resources used for these projects are dangerous, unless used properly and with adequate precautions, including safety gear and adult supervision. Some illustrative photos do not depict safety precautions or equipment, in order to show the project steps more clearly. Use of the instructions and suggestions found in Maker Camp is at your own risk. Make Community, LLC, disclaims all responsibility for any resulting damage, injury, or expense.

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