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How to Make a Stereoscope

Azmin Taraporewala
Stereoscope, a device that helps view images with a patented 3-D effect, was initially used by navigators and landscapers to view photographs and learn about them by aggregating different angles of the site. Read more to know how to make it by yourself.
For professionals, a stereoscope consists of expensive mirrors placed in a stipulated manner, so that one may be able to see a 3-D picture or a colorful drawing through the stereoscope. The stereoscope works on the principle of vision divergence. This is when an individual peeps through the two sectors made to facilitate vision.
With the images placed inside the stereoscope, one is able to see one image through each eye. If the paths of vision cross or diverge, one may land up seeing another image that provides an illusion of having a realistic feel with depth.
However, this is an activity that requires a trained eye, also demanding paramount abilities of concentration to derive an all-together new picture.

What Does a Stereoscope Do

The principle on which the stereoscope functions is predominantly the concept of vision divergence. It is virtually a game that we play with our brain. When we see an image from a distance, our brain may see the superficiality of the picture, as there is no scope to notice the depth of the picture.
On the other hand, when two pictures are placed at a distance, apart from each other, maintaining a stipulated distance from each other, the attention span is divided amongst the two pictures which was initially devoted to just one.
When the left eye pays attention to a picture placed on the left, and the right eye focuses on the photograph propped on the right, the brain will form a collage, merging their aspects together to form a 3-D image and a completely new picture. This brain quirk is fun; however, you must have the stereoscope to help you perform the trick.
So, how do you get one for yourself is the question that has popped up in your mind, right? Well, you don't need to 'get' one, you might as well 'make' one for yourself!

Making a Stereoscope

If you have taken up the challenge of making one, but don't know how, here is help coming your way. Here is a list of what you need and a step-by-step approach of how you would be able to construct one.


  • Cardboard box; a shoe box would be ideal
  • Mirrors; (2 small-sized and 2 big ones)
  • Pen knife
  • Pictures
  • Glue or adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape or scale


  1. Once you have assembled all the material and the necessary equipment, you may begin with the procedure right away. With the cardboard box in place, clean the interiors of the same, thoroughly. There should be no dirt or muck lying around in the box.
  1. Make sure that you are ready with the pictures as well. Preferably choose pictures that look scenic; do not consider photographs that have human or animal intervention. Scenery that looks quintessential, is what one should, ideally look out for.
  1. Coming back to the cardboard box; after you have cleaned it, you need to slit off its top. The cardboard top can be preserved for some other ventures during the activity.
  2. Make a slit from the side of the box; the slit should be long enough, around 10 to 14 cm in length. The box should be cut in a manner that they resemble pillars.
  1. Now prepare the floor of the box. Make sure that there are no dents or gaps in the box. If there are any, stick them together with glue. If the dents are too big, you may place the remaining cardboard pieces in between. If this still does not suffice, place cotton sheets in between the cardboard flaps and then fix them together with glue or an adhesive.
  1. With the rectangular side of the box, make a hole with a pen knife; you may draw up a circle with a protractor and cut the shape. You will have a viewfinder window to peep through.
  2. With the cardboard that you were asked to keep aside, meant to be preserved; you have to cut four squares, roughly 12 x 12 in size.
  1. The mirrors have to be taped on their sides, so that they do not hurt you due to its rough edging.
  2. Cut one square into halves, so that it forms a triangle. You will have two triangles; out of these you may choose the best one and keep it for use.
  1. With a pencil, draw a line in the middle of the square. Cut from the middle, however, end the cutting when you reach half way through the square. You may now fold the square into two halves.
  2. Now bend the cardboard square and place it by gluing it on the triangle that you have chosen out of the two.
  1. With the two mirrors taped and ready, stick them at the back of the folded cardboard.
  2. With a pencil and ruler, draw lines through the base of the box. The lines should be clear and non-bumpy.
  3. One edge of the square that you constructed (12 × 12) should be placed at the vertical line at a 45 degree angle. Place the other edge as well on the vertical line.
  1. As you have the two big mirrors remaining, you have to attach them with glue to the back of the cardboard.
  2. Place the small mirrors in such a manner, that they face the big mirrors. Stick the images on the opposite side of the mirror.
  3. Make adjustments if necessary. You may use the viewfinder to make the changes if you will. Your stereoscope is now ready!
With the stereoscope in place, you are not just acquainted with the process of making a stereoscope, but you also know how to have fun with images and create a virtual vision that is an amalgamation of two enticing panoramas!