Make a kaleidoscope

Olafur Eliasson is an Icelandic-Danish artist who often uses colour and light to make his artwork. He likes using reflections and shadows to play with the way we perceive and interact with the world.

Can you imagine being under this sculpture and being covered in a spectrum of colour?

Eliasson wants people to experience and make art together. Make sure you grab a friend or a family member to make your kaleidoscope.

Olafur Eliasson artwork, In real life, 2019

Olafur Eliasson, In real life, 2019 Installation view: Tate Modern, London, 2019 Photo: Anders Sune Berg Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2019 Olafur Eliasson

Ready to make a kaleidoscope?

Materials for activity

You will need:

  • An empty toilet roll
  • Colourful paper
  • Mirrored card
  • A paper straw
  • Felt tip pens or colouring pencils
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Let's get started

Image of a paper being cut

1. Cover your toilet roll with a sheet of colourful paper

Image of tape being used to secure the paper on the roll

2. Secure the paper with tape

Image of mirrored card being cut to fit the roll

3. Cut 3 pieces of mirrored card the length and width of the tube

Image of mirrored card being added to tube

4. Slip the mirrored card strips into the tube. Mirrored side facing inward.

Image of the roll with a triangle of card inside

5. It should look like a traingle at the end of tube

Image of a circle being drawn using a cup

6. Draw a circle (about 4 inches in diameter) using a mug

Image of a circle being cut out of card

7. Cut out the circle using scissors

Image of a hole being made in the centre of the card

8. Make a hole in the centre of the circle with a pencil

Circle being coloured in

9. Decorate your circle

Image of paper straw going through hole

10. Put the straw through the hole and bend the end

Image of straw being cut

11. Cut the straw so it is the same length as the tube

Image of tape being used to secure onto roll

12. Tape the straw to the tube. That's it! Look through the open end and turn the circle!

What do you see?