DIY Shoebox Pinhole Projector Camera
Whew! That is a mouthful!
Who, besides me, is excited about the solar eclipse that is happening in the U.S. on August 21st?
We had a partial eclipse when I was in about 5th grade (think 1970!). It was before Google (gasp), so someone showed us how to make our own shoebox solar eclipse pinhole projector so we could see the progress of the eclipse without hurting our eyes.
If you haven’t purchased the special eye glasses for viewing the eclipse, help the grands make their own solar eclipse pinhole projector instead!
This is a fast and simple craft. A few cuts and a bit of tape and, “Bam!”, you are done! The steps below explain the process. Use care if you are letting the grands use the exacto knife, be sure to keep little scientist’s fingers safe!
Tip: The smaller the hole you poke in the foil, the clearer and crisper the dot of light will be on the viewing screen. This may take more than one try with young grands!
Solar Eclipse Pinhole Projector Options
You can also make a projector out of a cardboard tube potato chip container. Just use a hammer and a very small round nail to poke a tiny hole in the tin end, place white paper inside the lid for the viewing screen and cut a viewing hole in the side, close to the viewing screen end of the tube.
The longer the box or tube, the larger the dot of light will be from the sun on the viewing screen. Experimenting with this could be fun.
Try It Out!
This is Papa trying his hand at using the Solar Eclipse PinHole Projector. This is a good thing to do before the solar eclipse so you can see how to look at an angle through the viewing hole to see the light on the viewing screen.
Geek alert: This is a great moment to get a book or go online to discover more about the sun and how a solar eclipse takes place.
Solar Eclipse Safety
Stand with your BACK to the sun and use your Solar Eclipse Pinhole Projector Camera to experience the solar eclipse. DO NOT look directly at the sun at any point of a solar eclipse. It can permanently damage your eyes.
I know a lot of people traveling to where the solar eclipse will be a complete eclipse of the sun. That would be so amazing, but even seeing a partial eclipse is really cool.
I’m going to call my Solar Eclipse Pinhole Projector RETRO! Enjoy!
- Shoe box
- Exacto knife
- Aluminum foil
- White paper
- Pin or needle
- Carefully use the exacto knife to cut a 1” square hole in the bottom right area of one end of the shoe box.
- Tape a piece of aluminum foil over the opening so it is completely covered.
- Use the needle to poke a hole in the center of the foil.
- Tape white paper on the inside of the box on the opposite end of the shoe box from the aluminum covered cut opening. This is your viewing screen.
- Cut another 1” square hole in the long side of the box close to the end where the white paper was taped inside the box. This is your viewing hole.
- Stand with your BACK to the sun. Hold the box so that the sun hits the aluminum foil end of the box. The sun will stream through the pinhole in the foil and down onto the white paper viewing screen inside the box showing a white dot of light on that white paper. You can see this white dot by looking through the viewing hole in the side of the box.
- This white dot begins as a circle (like the shape of the sun) and will change shape in the same way the sun changes during the eclipse. Remember, DO NOT look directly at the sun at any point during a solar eclipse as it can permanently damage your eyes.