How to make a telescope (with pictures)

How to make a telescope (with pictures)
How to make a telescope (with pictures)

Thanks to a combination of lenses and mirrors, telescopes make it possible to make distant objects appear as if they were closer. If you don't have a telescope or binoculars at home, you can make them yourself! Note, however, that the images will probably appear upside down.


Method 1 of 2: Make a telescope with a magnifying glass

Make a Telescope Step 1

Step 1. Gather your materials

You will need a piece of cardboard paper about two feet long (this is a stiff material, which can be easily obtained from a stationery store or a plastic art store). You will need two magnifiers of the same size. You will also need strong glue, scissors, and a pencil.

If the magnifiers are not the same size, the telescope will not work

Make a Telescope Step 2

Step 2. Arrange the loupes

Hold one of the two magnifying glasses (the bigger one) between you and the box. The image that will appear will be blurry. Place the second magnifying glass between your eye and the first magnifying glass.

Make a Telescope Step 3

Step 3. Make the adjustment

Move the second magnifying glass forward and backward until the image is in focus. You will notice that the image appears larger and upside down.

Make a Telescope Step 4

Step 4. Wrap the cardboard around one of the loupes

Trace the diameter in pencil on the cardboard. Make sure it is snug.

Make a Telescope Step 5

Step 5. Measure the length of the edge of the carton from 1D Mark.

You will need to take your measurements from 4cm from the mark. This extra length will allow you to glue it around the magnifying glass.

Make a Telescope Step 6

Step 6. Cut along the line drawn on the cardboard

You will need to cut crosswise, not lengthwise. The carton should be approximately two feet long on one side. Cut a slit in the cardboard tube 2.5 cm (one inch) from the front opening. Do not cut the tube completely, as the slit should be able to hold the large magnifying glass.

Make a Telescope Step 7

Step 7. Make a 2e slot.

Cut a second slit in the tube that is the optimum distance from the first slit. You must have noted the optimum distance between the two glasses beforehand. This is where you will put the second magnifying glass.

You should now have two lengths of cardboard paper. One of the two pieces should be slightly larger than the other

Make a Telescope Step 8

Step 8. Place the two loupes in their respective slots

Arrange the larger one in the front and the smaller one in the back. Then, tape them with chatterton. Leave about 1 or 2 cm (0.5 to 2 inches) of tubing behind the small magnifying glass and cut off any tubing that protrudes beyond it.

Make a Telescope Step 9

Step 9. Glue the first length of cardboard around one of the magnifying glasses

You will also need to glue the edges of the cardboard together, that's why you left 4cm of cardboard.

Make a Telescope Step 10

Step 10. Make the second tube for the second magnifying glass

This should be slightly larger than the first; not much more, but just big enough for the first to fit into the second.

Make a Telescope Step 11

Step 11. Insert the first tube into the second

You can now use your telescope to look into the distance, although it will be difficult to see the stars well. On the other hand, this kind of telescope is good for looking at the moon.

The images will be upside down, since astronomers don't care about the top and bottom anyway (after all, there is no top and bottom in space)

Method 2 of 2: Make a telescope with lenses

Make a Telescope Step 12

Step 1. Gather the materials

You will need: two lenses, a mailing tube with an inner tube and an outer tube (you can get one at the post office or at an office supply store; it should be 5 cm in diameter (2 inches) and 110 cm long (43.3 inches)), a scroll saw, a cutter, strong glue and a drill.

  • The lenses should have a different focal length. For best results, use concave convex lenses 49mm in diameter and 152mm in focal length.
  • It is very easy to order lenses on the internet and they are not very expensive. You can get a pair of lenses for € 12.50.
  • The scroll saw is most effective for cutting clean, straight lines. However, you can use other types of saws or cutting devices if you need to.
Make a Telescope Step 13

Step 2. Cut the outer tube in half

You will need both parts, and the inner tube will be used to space them apart. The lenses will fit into the two parts of the outer tube.

Make a Telescope Step 14

Step 3. Cut two pieces from the inner tube of the postal tube

They will allow you to create a gap and they should be between 2.5 and 4 cm (1 to 1.5 inches) in diameter. Make sure to cut cleanly and straight with the scroll saw (or another tool).

The spacers hold the second lens in place at the end of the outer portion of the mail tube

Make a Telescope Step 15

Step 4. Make an eye hole in the postal tube cap

Use the drill to drill the middle of the plug and make your eye hole. Again, this needs to be done gently and cleanly to achieve the best possible result in terms of eyesight.

Make a Telescope Step 16

Step 5. Drill holes on the outside of the larger tube

You will need to make these holes where you will put the lens on the outer tube. These holes will allow you to put the glue in the inner part of the tube. The best spot is at the end of the inner tube, about 2.5cm from the end.

You will also need to make holes in the end of the outer tube for the cap and eyepiece

Make a Telescope Step 17

Step 6. Glue the ocular lens against the removable cap

The ocular lens is the plano-concave lens; its flat part must be against the stopper. You will put glue through the holes you drilled, then turn the lens to spread the glue. Press the tube against the lens until the glue is dry.

Make a Telescope Step 18

Step 7. Cut out the bottom of the outer tube

You will then need to push the inner tube into the outer tube through this hole.

Make a Telescope Step 19

Step 8. Insert the first spacer into the outer tube

The spacer will need to rest inside the outer tube to hold the concave and convex lens in place. You will therefore have to drill holes and put glue inside as you did for the eyepiece.

Make a Telescope Step 20

Step 9. Insert the lens and the second spacer

You will need to make the holes, apply the glue and spread it. Press firmly until the glue is dry.

Make a Telescope Step 21

Step 10. Insert the inner tube into the outer tube

You can drag the parts enough to get the right focus. Since the magnification is around x9, you should be able to see the surface of the moon and even the rings of Saturn. Everything else will be too far for your telescope.

Make a Telescope Final

Step 11. Finished


For the second telescope, make sure you take the correct lenses. By taking the wrong lenses, you will not see anything


  • Do not look directly at the Sun or other bright object with a telescope. You could damage your eyes.
  • Be careful not to drop the magnifying glass, it breaks easily.

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