Equip your little pirates with some swashbuckling swag for a rainy afternoon of play. You can make your own DIY telescope and an eye patch or turn telescope making into a game in itself with this simple and super fun cardboard tubes craft. Read on to find out how to make a telescope and a pirate eye patch with everyday supplies you’ll find in your own home.
If you are getting the children involved and showing them how to build a telescope, be sure to fully supervise them. For their safety, only adults should handle scissors and pins during the process of telescope making.
Pirate telescope craft equipment
Before you dive into the pirate world and build your own telescope, there are a few pieces of equipment you will need for the project. Here’s what you need so you can build a telescope:
- 2 empty tubes of Plenty The Big Extra One (they’re longer than other Plenty paper towels so they’re perfectly suited for telescope making)
- Gummed paper tape
- Craft varnish paint (optional)
- A stapler
- A length of string (cotton thread or fine twine), around 40cm
- Sticky tape
- Plenty paper towels
Now you have everything together that you need, read on for our simple guide to make your own telescope.
How to make a telescope – let's build a spyglass, pirate!
Every good pirate knows how important a telescope – or spyglass, as they would have called them – is. It is used to spot, ‘land ho!’ and magnify far away objects while on board your pirate ship. To help your children with their imaginative, indoor play, read on for one of our favourite DIY crafts for kids and this 13 easy step-by-step guide for how to make your own DIY telescope:
- Cut both of the Plenty The Big Extra One tubes in two. We’ll only use three of these four sections – we’ll call them A, B and C. Don’t forget to put the spare piece in the recycling bin!
- Cut tubes A and B down the middle lengthwise.
- Slide tube B (cut) inside tube C (the one that has not been cut), letting it overlap around itself, so it gets narrower. Adjust the position so that tube B fits into tube C. The fit should offer some resistance but allow the piece to move in and out.
- Move one end of tube B out of tube C and staple the end together (so that it fits in tube C).
- Repeat step 4 on the other end of tube B, so that the piece is stapled at both ends.
- Repeat steps 3 to 5 with tube A, sliding it into tube B to make it the narrowest of the tubes.
- Remove the stapled tubes (A and B) and cover them individually with the gummed paper tape. To do this, moisten a paper towel and dab it over the gummy side of the tape. Apply the sticky side to the tubes and let them dry.
- Paint the three tubes in your chosen colour and leave them to dry. If you like, you can then apply a coat of varnish paint to make your pirate spyglass extra shiny.
- Cut two strips of aluminium foil and fold them lengthways to get two 2cm wide strips: one about 13.5cm long and the other 11.5cm long.
- Wrap them around the two ends of the homemade telescope: one end of tube C and one end of tube A, and secure with sticky tape or glue.
- Now, start telescope building! Slot each tube inside the next, with each tube pulled out almost to its full length. Pass the string through the telescope.
- Stretch the string out so it’s taut and secure it at each end with sticky tape inside the tubes. Then, cut off the excess lengths.
How easy is that? A bit of recycling and upcycling can lead to a whole lot of fun. Now that your homemade telescope building is done, the pirates are nearly ready for their voyage. To add to this pirate telescope craft session, next, get them kitted out with a swashbuckling eye patch.
Keep Plenty The Big Extra One paper towels on hand to wipe up any little paint spills, as well as to dampen the gummed paper. It’s strong even when wet, so you can reuse the same sheet.
Pirate eye patch equipment
Eye patches are a classic part of any pirate dressing up outfit, and an obvious addition to your pirate telescope craft session. Here’s what you’ll need after you finish homemade telescope building:
- A piece of black fabric or felt, big enough to cut a circle about 9cm in diameter
- A sauce jar lid or similar to trace your circle
- A pencil
- A thin black elastic thread
- A needle with black thread
- Dressmaking pins
How to make a pirate eye patch
Once you have all the tools you need, it’s time to get your DIY on. Here are three super easy tips to create your own homemade pirate eye patch to wear while playing with your DIY telescope:
- Place your sauce jar lid or similar circular item onto a piece of black fabric or felt and trace the outline of your starting circle onto the fabric.
- Cut out the circle of fabric using the scissors. It doesn’t need to be super neat; a rustic feel adds to the pirate aesthetic.
- Fold the circle in half, over the elastic thread.
- Pin the folded circle in place and sew along the curved edge to secure it, then remove the pins. Now your DIY eye patch is ready to wear, you just need to knot the end of the elastic in place.
You’re all done with our telescope craft: a DIY telescope and an easy pirate eye patch. Now you can make a telescope, it’s time to take to the high seas! In just a handful of easy steps you’ll have your little pirates kitted out for a day of swashbuckling indoor play in no time.
On the lookout for more easy and fun paper crafts? Check out our article for loads of great ideas! Here’s to smooth sailing.
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