Why are we so intrigued with kaleidoscopes? Do people really spend an hour looking at
the beauty within kaleidoscopes? How is it that such stunning images inside are possible? Why
does it work? People who purchase kaleidoscopes find them relaxing, colorful, and interesting.
Viewing a kaleidoscope is even more interesting when understanding how the image is made.
Sometimes when they find out how a kaleidoscope is made, they are somewhat disappointed in
the simplicity of the workings.
The Simple Recipe of a Kaleidoscope
Extraordinary kaleidoscopes are made by hand and show fine talent and techniques,
and the art of making them combines 10th century tradition with 21st century know-how. This
art has been studied, but the simple recipe was described by Cozy Baker in her books as
An eyepiece + 2 or 3 mirrors inside a tube x colorful objects = a beautiful image
The eyepiece of a kaleidoscope is better when large for viewing ease, and a tube holds 2 or 3
mirrors together inside. The mirrors are invisible to the eye, but they are the key to a lovely
image. The colorful objects at the opposite end of the eyepiece tumble when turned to create
the color and loveliness that are seen inside.
The Mirrors are Key
Ordinary mirrors aren’t used because they don’t create a clear image inside. The
kaleidoscope artist of today uses first- or front- surface mirrors, which are coated with a
reflective coating on the front surface. This clearer image is preferable to a fuzzy image just as
today’s TVs are made clearer now. Regular mirrors are coated on the rear surface, so light and
colors are reflected more than once and make the image fuzzier.
Karl Schilling has been cutting the very thin, first- or front- surface mirrors
for over 30 years after discovering this type of mirror. He can custom cut first – or front- surface for
other manufacturers needing precision-cut sizes. If you have need for first-surface mirror see
his website at http://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/custom-cut-front-surface-mirror-strips.htmlor give him a call at 641-4542068.
Watch for the difference between a two mirror versus three-mirror kaleidoscope in March on this blog.