How to make a pinhole projector to view the solar eclipse

If you're planning to view the solar eclipse happening on August 21, you need to make sure you have the right equipment. If you don't have the proper ISO-certified 12312-2-compliant gear, you can seriously hurt your eyes. With only a day left till the big event, it's almost impossible to get the proper glasses or goggles in time, but that doesn't mean you can't still view the eclipse safely.

If you don't mind spending a few bucks on some materials and taking the time to put it together, you can make a pinhole projector at home. This contraption won't allow you to look directly at the eclipse; however, it will let you experience the moon blocking out the sun indirectly!

What you need

Most of this materials you probably have sitting around the house already, but in case you don't, here's a quick list of everything you need.

  • A cereal box
  • A pair of scissors
  • A small nail
  • Tape
  • Aluminum foil
  • One piece of white paper

How to make a pinhole projector to view the eclipse

The great thing about making your pinhole projector like this is that it doesn't take very long. I did this myself in about 15 minutes, and that includes the pictures I was taking of the steps along the way. Also, this is a perfect DIY craft for someone who isn't good at being artsy like me because it requires no precise measurements and it doesn't even have to look good in the end; it just has to work!

Step 1

Place the cereal box on the piece of paper and cut around the bottom of the box until you have a white, rectangular piece of paper.

This doesn't have to be exact. In fact, if you cut it a little smaller, it will fit inside the box better.

Step 2

Place tape on one side of your cut-out piece of paper and stick it inside the cereal box at the bottom.

Step 3

Cut the flaps off the top of the cereal box on each of the sides leaving a piece in the middle. Tape the middle piece together.

Step 4

Tape aluminum foil over one of the open sides on the top of the cereal box.

Step 5

Poke a hole in the tin foil with a small nail.

Your DIY eclipse viewing pinhole projector is ready to use!

How it works

All you need to do now is stand outside with your back to the sun during the event and look inside the open end of your cereal box. You'll see the various phases of the sun as the eclipse plays out. You'll see the half shape, then crescent, then nothing if you happen to be in the path of totality. Enjoy the eclipse!

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.