Put together a periscope

Peep out of your sofa submarine or into a sibling’s room with this easy-to-make classic.

Use an empty cardboard box from your latest online delivery or buy an A2 sheet and get crafty with this simple introduction to optics. We used a piece of corrugated cardboard 45 x 40cm to create a periscope about 35cm tall.

If you don't have a sheet of exactly this size lying around, that’s OK. You can make your periscope longer or shorter, just make sure one of the edges is 40cm long. That way you will still be able to fold it into four 10cm sides, and all the other dimensions and angles at the ends will work. Alternatively, you can also cut two strips of cardboard, 36cm x 10cm, plus two strips, 30cm x 10cm. Mark the angles as shown on the diagram, then just stick the sides together using sticky tape.

Maker tip
How to find mirrors for your periscope
Small mirrors can be easily obtained from a variety of sources.
Pocket mirrors from discount and variety shops
Replacement vanity mirrors from automotive parts stores
Rear-view mirror patch panels, available online
Make-up mirrors from old compacts Mum has used up

What you need to make a periscope
2 x small mirrors, 14 x 10cm or smaller
Sheet of cardboard, 45 x 40cm
Sticky tape
Double-sided mounting tape
Steel ruler and scissors
Artwork knife or box cutter

How to make a periscope

Step 1: Mark up the cardboard
Measure and mark four parallel lines on your cardboard, 10cm apart. Follow the diagram to mark the diagonal lines at 45° to support the mirror ends.

Step 2: Cut out the periscope box
Use scissors to cut out the walls and ends of the periscope, then use an artwork knife or box cutter and a steel ruler to gently score the fold lines.

Step 3: Attach the mirrors
Turn the cardboard over and use double-sided mounting tape to attach the mirrors to panels A and B. (TIP: If you’re using smaller mirrors, draw an X between the corners of each panel to help you centre the mirror.)

Step 4: Assemble the periscope
Fold the sides and ends along the fold lines, and use sticky tape to secure the corners.

Click here to discover 15 other fun projects for kids.

-May 2020

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