Project step photo 2
Project step photo 2


Stand the cardboard tube upright on one of the pieces of colored paper, and draw around the end of the tube. Put the tube to one side, and draw six tabs around the outside edge of the drawn circle. Cut out the circle with the tabs.

Project step photo 2


Place the circle over one end of the tube. Stick down the tabs with tape. Make a hole in the center of the circle with the pencil point. Measure the tube’s length and the diameter (width) of the circle.

Project step photo 2


On the plastic folder, draw a rectangle . as long as the tube and two and a half times as wide as the tube’s diameter. Draw lines to divide the rectangle into three equal parts. Draw a narrow tab on one side.

Project step photo 2
Project step photo 2


Cut out the rectangle, then score along the three inside lines with the scissors, using the edge of the ruler. Fold along the scored lines to make a triangular prism. Stick down the tab with tape.

Project step photo 2


Insert your prism into the cardboard tube, so that it rests against the paper circle at the end. It should fit snugly, but if not, use small pieces of tape to secure it in place.

Project step photo 2


Place plastic wrap loosely over the open end of the tube, and stick it in place with tape. Now put some colored beads on top of the plastic wrap.

Project step photo 2
Project step photo 2


Cut a circle of wax paper, wider than the tube. Place it over the beads, then cut slits in the edge of the paper and tape it to the tube.

Project step photo 2


Decorate the tube, if you like. Now look through the hole in the paper circle. Point the tube toward a window or light and turn it around. Enjoy the show!

Project author photo

Maker Lab by Jack Challoner

As seen on “The Late Late Show with James Corden”

Supporting STEM education initiatives and the maker movement, the National Parenting Publication Award-winner Maker Lab includes 28 kid-safe projects and crafts that will get young inventors’ wheels turning and make science pure fun.

Each step-by-step activity is appropriate for kids ages 8-12, and ranked easy, medium, or hard, with an estimated time frame for completion. Requiring only household materials, young makers can build an exploding volcano, race balloon rocket cars, construct a solar system, make a lemon battery, and more. Photographs and facts carefully detail the “why” and “how” of each experiment using real-world examples to provide context so kids can gain a deeper understanding of the scientific principles applied.

With a foreword by Jack Andraka, a teen award-winning inventor, Maker Lab will help kids find their inner inventor and create winning projects for school projects, science fairs, and beyond.

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. Maker Media, Inc., disclaims all responsibility for any resulting damage, injury, or expense.

Dazzling Kaleidoscope

Project hero image
Maker Camp Project Time Icon

30 Minutes



A cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels is the perfect size for your kaleidoscope. Inside the tube, you need three reflective surfaces—this can be made from a plastic document folder. However, if you can find it, mirrored paper also works well. When your kaleidoscope is finished, look through it and point it toward a lamp or out of the window. But remember to never point the tube directly at the sun, because you could damage your eyes.


  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Colored beads
  • Colored paper
  • Cardboard tube
  • Clear plastic folder
  • Ruler
  • Plastic wrap
  • Wax paper