How to Make a Periscope at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever wanted to explore the world from a different perspective without leaving the comfort of your home? Look no further, as this step-by-step guide will teach you how to create your very own periscope! A periscope is an optical instrument that enables you to see objects or events that are not within your direct line of sight. Whether you’re a curious kid wanting to spy on your siblings or an adult seeking a unique DIY project, making a periscope at home is both fun and educational.

In this article, we will provide you with a detailed guide on how to construct your periscope using simple and readily available materials. From gathering the necessary tools to the assembly process, we will walk you through each step, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience. So, gather your materials, unleash your creativity, and prepare to uncover hidden views with your homemade periscope!

Gathering Materials: What You’ll Need To Build Your Own Periscope

To embark on the exciting journey of building your own periscope, the first step is to gather all the necessary materials. Here is a comprehensive list of what you’ll need:

1. Cardboard Tubes: Obtain two long cardboard tubes, preferably of equal length and width, as they will be the main structure of your periscope.
2. Mirrors: You’ll need two small mirrors, ideally around 2×2 inches in size, to reflect light and enable viewing from different angles.
3. Prism: Acquire a rectangular prism that fits the dimensions of your cardboard tubes. It will redirect light through 90-degree angles, allowing for easier viewing.
4. Cardboard or Plastic Sheets: You’ll need some sturdy material to create the housing for the mirrors and prism.
5. Cutting Tools: Gather a pair of scissors or a cutting knife to trim the cardboard tubes and other materials.
6. Adhesive: Use strong glue or tape to secure the mirrors, prism, housing, and other components together.
7. Optional Extras: Consider decorating your periscope with paints, markers, or stickers to personalize and enhance its visual appeal.

Once you have gathered all these materials, you’ll be ready to dive into the construction process and bring your very own periscope to life!

Step 1: Cutting And Preparing The Cardboard Tubes

In this step, we will guide you through cutting and preparing the cardboard tubes to create the main body of your homemade periscope. The tubes will serve as the structural foundation and allow the light to travel from one end to the other, enabling you to see objects around corners or over obstacles.

To begin, gather the required materials, including two cardboard tubes of equal length and diameter. Measure and mark the desired length on each tube, ensuring they are identical. Use a sharp utility knife or a pair of sturdy scissors to carefully cut along the marked lines. Take your time and make clean, straight cuts to ensure the tubes fit together snugly without any gaps.

Once the tubes are cut, smoothen any rough edges using sandpaper or a file. This will prevent any obstructions or distortions in the light path, guaranteeing a clear and crisp image. Finally, clean the tubes to remove any debris or dust, as these particles can interfere with the reflection of light.

With the cardboard tubes cut and prepared, you are now ready to move on to the next step of assembling the mirror system.

Step 2: Assembling The Mirror System

In this step, you will learn how to assemble the mirror system for your homemade periscope. The mirror system is a crucial component that allows for the reflection and redirection of light, enabling you to see objects that are not in your direct line of sight.

To assemble the mirror system, start by placing one of the mirrors at a 45-degree angle inside one of the cardboard tubes. Ensure that the mirror sits securely in place. Then, take the second mirror and repeat the process inside the second cardboard tube.

Once both mirrors are securely positioned, align the two tubes in an L shape. Keep the mirrors facing each other and make sure they are parallel.

Next, carefully glue the two tubes together at their intersection, making sure not to obstruct the line of sight between the mirrors. It is important to use a strong adhesive to ensure the stability of your periscope.

When the glue has dried, test the mirror system by peering into one end of the periscope while pointing the other end at an object. If properly assembled, you should be able to observe the object’s reflection in the mirrors.

By following these steps, you will have successfully assembled the mirror system of your homemade periscope. Proceed to the next step to complete the construction of your periscope.

Step 3: Creating The Prism And Mirror Housing

In this step, we will guide you through creating the prism and mirror housing for your homemade periscope. This component is crucial as it helps redirect the light, allowing you to see objects above eye level.

To start, gather your materials, including a small rectangular prism, two small mirrors, glue, and a ruler. Begin by measuring the dimensions of the prism and mark the center of one of the longer sides. Apply a small amount of glue to the center and carefully place one of the mirrors on top, ensuring it is perfectly aligned.

Next, take the second mirror and glue it to the opposite end of the prism, making sure it is parallel to the first mirror. Double-check the alignment and hold the mirrors in place until the glue dries.

After the glue has dried, you can attach the prism and mirror housing to the cardboard tubes from Step 1. Use tape or glue to secure the housing onto one end of the tube, ensuring that the mirrors face outwards.

By completing this step, you have successfully constructed the prism and mirror housing for your homemade periscope, bringing you one step closer to enjoying an exciting viewing experience!

Step 4: Attaching The Eyepiece And Fine-Tuning The Periscope

After successfully assembling the mirror system, it’s time to attach the eyepiece and refine your homemade periscope for the best possible viewing experience. Follow these steps to complete your DIY periscope:

1. Take one of the smaller cardboard tubes and cut a small hole near one end. This hole should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the larger cardboard tube.

2. Insert the smaller tube into the larger tube, ensuring that the hole is positioned towards the mirror system.

3. Secure the smaller tube in place by applying adhesive or tape around the joint.

4. Attach the eyepiece to the open end of the smaller tube. This can be a small magnifying glass or even a camera lens. Make sure it fits securely and can be easily seen through.

5. Fine-tune the periscope by adjusting the angle and position of the mirror system. This will ensure proper alignment for optimal viewing.

By carefully attaching the eyepiece and fine-tuning your periscope, you will enhance the overall viewing experience. Once you feel satisfied with the adjustments, your homemade periscope is ready for use. Now, let’s move on to testing and discover some tips and tricks to optimize your viewing experience further.

Testing And Using Your Homemade Periscope: Tips And Tricks For Optimal Viewing Experience

After successfully assembling your homemade periscope, it’s time to put it to the test and explore the exciting world of hidden views. Here are some tips and tricks to ensure you have the best viewing experience possible:

1. Find a suitable location: Look for an area with plenty of things to observe, such as a park, a busy street, or even your backyard. The more interesting the surroundings, the more enjoyable your experience will be.

2. Adjust the mirrors: Make sure the mirrors are well aligned and angled correctly. Use the periscope’s flexibility to adjust the mirrors for a clear and focused image. Experiment with different angles to find the most comfortable position for your viewing.

3. Natural lighting matters: The quality of your view largely depends on lighting conditions. Choose a bright and sunny day for outdoor exploration. Indoors, position yourself near a window to maximize natural light.

4. Steady hands: Holding the periscope steady is crucial to avoid shaky or blurry views. Practice keeping a firm grip on it while maintaining a steady posture.

5. Explore different perspectives: Experiment with different heights, angles, and positions to discover new viewpoints. Take turns with friends or family members to share the excitement and enjoy each other’s discoveries.

6. Keep it safe: Ensure the periscope remains dry and protected from harsh weather conditions. Store it in a safe place when not in use to prevent any damage.

Remember, a homemade periscope is a fun and educational tool that opens up a new world of exploration. So, grab your creation, start exploring, and let your imagination run wild.


1. Can I make a periscope at home without any special tools or materials?

Yes, you can make a periscope at home using some basic household materials such as mirrors, cardboard, and tape. No special tools are required for this DIY project.

2. How much time does it take to make a periscope from scratch?

The time required to make a periscope at home may vary depending on your crafting skills and the complexity of the design. However, on average, it should take around 30 minutes to an hour to complete the project.

3. Is it difficult to assemble a homemade periscope?

No, assembling a homemade periscope is not very difficult. The step-by-step guide provided in the article will break down the process into easy-to-follow instructions, making it accessible even for beginners.

4. Will the homemade periscope work just as well as a store-bought one?

While a homemade periscope may not have the same level of precision and durability as a store-bought one, it can still provide satisfactory results for simple observation tasks. It may not be ideal for professional or high-precision use.

5. Can children make a periscope at home with adult supervision?

Yes, making a periscope can be a fun and educational activity for children. With proper adult supervision, children can actively participate in creating their own periscope and learn about optics and reflection in the process.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, making a periscope at home is a fun and engaging activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, anyone can create their own periscope using simple household materials. This DIY project not only provides a great opportunity for learning about optics and reflection but also encourages creativity and problem-solving skills.

Additionally, making a periscope at home can be a great way to promote family bonding and educational activities. Parents can involve their children in the process, sparking their curiosity and encouraging hands-on learning. This article has provided a comprehensive guide, guiding readers through each step and explaining the scientific principles behind the working of a periscope. Overall, making a periscope at home is an enjoyable and educational experience that allows individuals to explore the wonders of light and optics in a practical and exciting way.

Leave a Comment