shopping cart

Get a better view of the trees, birds, or nighttime sky in your own backyard!*


  • Two empty paper towel tubes
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Markers, stickers, or crayons (to decorate your telescope)
  • 2 convex lenses (old reading glasses will work – make sure an adult is helping to remove the lenses from the frames!)


  • Cut one of your paper towel tubes lengthwise (all the way up the side) and wrap one edge of the cut side slightly over the other edge and hold it in place with one hand.
  • Insert the cut tube into the other paper towel tube. Let go of the inner tube so that it can expand inside the outer tube.
  • Use masking tape to secure one of the lenses to the outer edge of the inner tube. The curve of the lens should be facing the inside of the tube.
  • Secure the second lens to the outer edge of the second tube, with the curve of the lens pointing outside of the tube. (Note: Your lenses may be bigger than the tube. Try to tape around the rim of the lenses so you don’t cover too much).
  • Decorate your telescope with markers, stickers, or crayons.
  • Place your eye against the lens of the inner tube. Aim your telescope up at the sky! Focus by sliding the inner tube in and out until the image becomes clear.

Fun fact: You made a refracting telescope! The scope uses two lenses to bend light, which makes an object appear closer than it is.

Note: Parental supervision is advised. *Do NOT use this telescope to look directly at the Sun!