DIY Eclipse Viewer - Safe and Adjustable!
The Great American Eclipse is Monday, August 21 -- are you ready for it? Solar eclipse glasses are sold out, so I've designed an eclipse viewer made from things I had around the house. The great thing is that I can adjust the length of my viewer for a larger image of the eclipse, or shorten it for a brighter image. This is also a great way to beat the heat of the sun during the eclipse, as you'll keep your
Step 1: Gather your materials. You'll need both dark and white cardstock cut out in according to my pattern (see link above), tape (I recommend both Scotch tape and Duct tape), aluminum foil, and a pin or needle.
Step 2: Roll a rectangular section lengthwise around another cylindrical object, such as the aluminum foil tube (that's what I used), a tennis ball tube, or anything else cylindrical like this. Rolling it around a cylinder helps it bend without creasing.
Step 3: Tuck in three tabs into the three slots.
Step 4: Tape the tabs down.
Step 5: If you want to extend the length of the tube, for a larger image of the sun, repeat step 2 with another rectangle of cardstock but slide the end of the first tube you made into the new tube before you tape it down. Overlap the tubes by around one inch before securing them together. Repeat as many times as you wish to lengthen the tube as much as you want.
Step 6: Tape a piece of aluminum foil to the circle shape with the window in it.
Step 7: Bend in the tabs toward the side with the aluminum foil.
Step 8: Tape the circle with the aluminum foil to one end of the tube. Make sure the aluminum foil stays between the outside of the tube and the tabs on the circle so it blocks all light. Now carefully insert your pin or needle into the center of the aluminum foil to create your pinprick hole for the sun's light.
Step 9: Roll up the rectangle with the viewing window on one end and attach it to the other end of your viewing tube. Make sure the viewing window is at the END of the tube.
Step 10: Tape the white circle onto the other end cap (circle with tabs) and fold up the tabs toward the white circle.
Step 11: Insert the screen end cap you made in the previous step into the end of your viewing tube. Rather than tape it down, however, you should be able to wedge it into the end where it will stay.
Step 12: Duct tape all the joints while the tube is lying on a flat surface, like a table, to keep your tube straight and strengthen it. Your eclipse viewing tube is now ready to use!
To use your eclipse viewing tube, point the pinhole end of the tube directly at the sun. To aim your tube, move it around until you see a round spot of light on the paper at the opposite end of your tube—that light is the projected image of the sun! Trouble aiming your viewer? Find your box’s shadow on the ground, then move it until the shadow is as small as possible (it should look like a perfect circle). Do not look through the pinhole at the sun, nor look at the sun directly! Look only at the projected image on the white paper. Once you have it in position, rest it on your shoulder (if the angle works for that).
Here you can see the size and intensity of light in two different lengths of tubes. Pick the one that works best for you, or something in between. Please let me know if you have any questions, and enjoy the eclipse!
- Cardstock, 12" x 12" (about 7 sheets, dark and white) (craft store)
- Scotch tape (craft store)
- Duct tape (craft store)
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!Go