How to Make a Toilet Paper Roll Kaleidoscope

By Kristen May
Use an empty toilet paper roll to make a kaleidoscope craft.

Making toys and crafts out of recycled materials is a good way to give children a fun inside activity, while teaching the importance of reusing items instead of throwing them away. One such craft idea is a kaleidoscope made out of an empty toilet paper roll. A kaleidoscope can help teach younger children about colors and light, while demonstrating to older children the principles behind mirrors and optics.

Make Mirrors

Cut three pieces of cardboard, each the length of the toilet paper roll and 1.5 inches wide.

Cut three pieces of aluminum foil that are one inch larger in each dimension than the cardboard pieces.

Cover one side of each piece of cardboard in aluminum foil with the shiny side facing out, taking care not to wrinkle the foil. Fold the remainder of the foil over to the back of the piece of cardboard and use tape to secure it.

Assemble the three foil-covered rectangles into a triangular prism, with the mirrored sides on the inside. Use tape to hold them together.

Assemble Kaleidoscope

Insert the triangle of mirrors into the toilet paper roll.

Cut a circle out of black construction paper. It should be slightly larger than the opening at the end of the toilet paper roll. Carefully cut a small hole 1/3 cm in diameter out of the center of the circle.

Tape the black circle over one end of the toilet paper roll.

Cut two circles out of the clear plastic wrap, both about four inches in diameter.

Put one circle of plastic wrap on the open end of the toilet paper roll and gently press it into the center of the triangle of "mirrors" to make a small pouch. Then fold the perimeter of the circle down onto the toilet paper roll and use tape to secure it.

Place a few small colorful objects in the plastic wrap pouch you made in the center of the triangle. They should have enough space to move around a little bit.

Cover this end of the toilet paper roll with the other piece of clear plastic wrap, pulling it tight and securing it to the sides of the toilet paper roll with tape.

Look through the end of the kaleidoscope with the black paper, pointing the end with the beads toward a source of light. The colors and patterns will change as you turn the kaleidoscope to move the colored objects around.