How To Make A Cheap Eclipse Viewer In 5 Minutes

The August 21st solar eclipse will be a rare phenomenon.   Called the Great American Eclipse, it’s the first time since 1918 that a full solar eclipse has crossed entirety the United States.

Its exact path will span from Salem, Oregon, beginning at 10:15 am PST to Charleston, South Carolina at 2:49 pm EST, but it should be partially visible all over the continent.

Interestingly enough, we’re expecting another total solar eclipse in 7 years, but if you don’t want to wait that long, we’ve put together a little hack that will allow you to get in on the action today.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. An old shoe-box
  2. A piece of white paper
  3. A pin or tack
  4. Aluminum foil
  5. Tape
  6. An X-Acto or small knife

Eclipse Viewer Step 1

First, cut away a square section from one of the corners of the end of your shoe-box.

Eclipse Viewer Step 2

Next, cut a piece of tin foil and tape it over the hole you just made.


Eclipse Viewer Step 3

Use your pin to poke a hole in the center of the tin foil.

Eclipse Viewer Step 4

Use tape to attach a piece of white paper inside the opposite end of the shoe-box.

Eclipse Viewer Step 5

Cut another square hole on the end of the long side, closest to the white piece of paper.


Eclipse Viewer Step 6


Now put the lid on and point the tin foil hole toward the eclipse.  Put your eye up to the second hole you’ve created and focus the sunlight coming through the hole onto the paper taped inside.  An image of the eclipse that’s safe for your eyes will project against the paper!

Be sure to never look directly at the sun.  It could permanently damage your eyes.

Have fun!