In a simplest sense, a kaleidoscope is a tube lined with mirrors. Whether you leave the end opened or tape on a bag of beads is up to you, but the main idea is to provide enough of an optical illusion to wow your friends. Did you know that by changing the shape and size of the mirrors, you can make the illusion 3D?
If you use only two mirrors, you’ll get a solid background, but add a third mirror and tilt together into a triangle (as shown in the video) and you’ll get the entire field filled with the pattern. You can place transparent objects at the end (like marbles floating in water or mineral oil) or just leave it open and point at the night stars.
The first kaleidoscopes were constructed in 1816 by a scientist while studying polarization. They were quickly picked up as an amusement gadget by the public and have stayed with us ever since.
- three mirrors the same size
- tape and scissors