Cardboard Tube Telescope

  • Young Adult
  • Grades 1-3

You will look through the world a different way when using this hand-crafted telescope made of recycled materials in honor of Columbus Day!


  • 25 Pack Assorted Paint Brushes
  • Silver Glitter 4 oz.
  • Acrylic Paint Jars, 24 Assorted colors
  • Cardboard Tube
  • Acetate
  • Scissors
  • Craft Glue
  • Pencil or Ball Point Pen
  • Ruler
  • Paper cup
  • Construction paper (brown, orange, blue)
  • Foam Sheet (orange)
  • Craft knife **Adult Assistance may be required


Step 1. Gather your supplies.

Supplies to create a telescope craft


Use a recycled cardboard tube to create a telescope craft


Step 2.


Place your cardboard tube on the bottom of your paper cup and trace around the tube using a pen.

Paper Craft Telescope


Step 3.


Remove the tube. Draw a line dividing the circle in half, draw another line to create quarters and  (2) more lines to split the circle into (8) sections.

Kids Craft Columbus Day Arts and Crafts Telescope


Step 4.


Have an adult use a craft knife to cut the lines inside the circle to create (8) flaps.

Columbus Day Arts and Crafts Project


Step 5.


Push the flaps inward. Check to make sure that the cardboard tube will now fit into the hole that was created with the craft knife. The tube should fit snug, but still be able to move and turn. Remove the tube and set aside for later.

Arts and Crafts Project For Columbus Day


Step 6.


Now you will decorate the lens of your telescope. Trace the top of your cup onto a piece of acetate. Acetate is a clear material you can find in the office supply section, or recycled from the fronts of products, like toy packages.

For your telescope You will need to create (2) circles. Cut out the circles and set aside.

Kids craft for Columbus Day


Step 7.


Trace the top of your cup onto an orange foam sheet using your pencil. Turn the cup over and center the cup inside the circle you just traced. Trace the bottom of the cup. Cut out the large outer circle.

Columbus Day Art Project


Step 8.


You will need to cut out the inside of the foam circle without cutting the outer edge of the circle.  Gently fold your foam circle and use your scissors to cut the middle.

Use acetate and foam to create the lens to a telescope.


Step 9.


Run the craft glue around one side of your foam circle and glue one sheet of acetate to the foam circle.

Columbus Day Paper Craft


Step 10.


Turn the foam circle over and sprinkle some Patriotic Star Sequins into the middle. Line the outside edge with glue and adhere the second acetate circle on top. Set this piece aside.

Kids Art Project for Columbus Day


Step 11.


Paint your cup with Acrylic Paint and let dry.

Columbus Day Art Project


Step 12.


Wrap construction paper around your cardboard tube and glue. Leave about 3 inches at the end of the tube uncovered so you can insert your cup. You can wrap different colors of paper on top of each other to create a design as shown.

make a Columbus Day Telescope


Step 13.


Put craft glue along the top edge of the cup and glue the foam circle on to the top of the cup.

Paper Craft Telescope


Step 14.


Decorate your cup. Apply glue around the top rim of the cup and sprinkle Silver Glitter to accent. Add Acrylic Jewels around the cup for added decoration. Insert your cardboard tube into the hole.

Once dry you’ll be ready to explore your surroundings with your Telescope craft! Spin the cup to see different views with the star sequins inside your lens!