• American Girl Doll Crafter

Science Week - DlY Doll Telescope - Doll STEM Camp 2018

When we hear the word 'telescope', most think of a shiny, sleek tube pointed toward the sky on a tall tripod. However, times change, and so have telescopes! In fact, the first telescope is far different from one Luciana might have used at Space Camp.

The very first telescope recorded in history was created by Hans Lippershey, an eyeglass maker from the Netherlands. Originally, he used it ”for seeing things far away as if they were nearby”. Hans hoped to receive a patent (an official paper that kept others from copying his invention). However, word about this interesting new object quickly spread across Europe, and inventors began to make their own telescopes and use them for different purposes, like astronomy.

Today, most modern telescopes fit into two main categories: refracting and reflecting. Refracting telescopes use lenses to bend light, which magnifies the image we see. A convex lens bends the light rays to the focal point in the telescope. The second lens, or eyepiece, then spreads light from the focal point to your eye. This makes the faraway object much appear closer.

A reflecting telescope uses mirrors instead of lenses to magnify objects. In some ways, a reflecting telescope is similar to a refracting telescope. A convex mirror reflects light rays to the focal point. However, once the light hits the focal point, another mirror must be used to reflect it into the eyepiece. The original design for this kind of telescope was created by Sir Isaac Newton, and is known as a Newtonian telescope in his honor. This type of telescope is still very popular today!

Let's make our doll's their very own telescopes!


  • Paper Towel Tube

  • 6 large drink straws (dowel rods can also be used)

  • Wooden spool

  • Small (or large) Wooden Bead

  • Large Plastic Cap

  • Paint and paint brush

  • Adhesive Gems (optional)

  • Black Cardstock (optional)

1. To begin, cut a small slit in the end of one straw.

2. Slowly slide the cut end of the first straw into the second straw.

Carefully continue to slowly slide the straw until the piece measures 12 inches. Dowel rods can also be used, however, the large straws provide a good alternative if cutting tools are not available.

Repeat this step twice to create 3 long straws for the legs of the telescope.

3. Hot glue the straws in a triangle order on the underside of the jug cap. The straws should lean against the edges of the cap for stability when turned upright.

The end result will look similar to this.

4. Before painting the base of the telescope, glue a wooden bead on the top of the cap. I found it easiest to spray paint the legs of the telescope, but craft paint works good as well.

5. Make a mark or line on your paper towel tube at 6 inches. Carefully cut with a knife or cutting tool (always have an adult's supervision).

6. Paint the tube the color of your choice. For the next step, you can either paint the ends of the tube black, or glue on a 6 inch strip of cardstock.

The cardstock will help hide any rough edges made when cutting the tube.

7. Paint your wooden spool black, and glue to one end of the telescope. (Optional) Add a adhesive gem to represent the eyepiece.

8. Trace the ends of the tube onto black cardstock/paper, and carefully cut out.

9. Glue the circles to each end of the telescope. (Optional) On the end opposite of the eyepiece, attach an adhesive gem for the lens.

Get creative and add fun stickers or paint decals! My telescope is inspired by Luciana Vega's real telescope, so I painted a small constellation heart on the side.

10. Glue the telescope on the base at an angle to complete the telescope.

Now your doll can proudly say that she actually is a real "stargazer"!

What do you see up there, Luci?

"Mars! Oh, and the stars too, of course... they're so sparkly and bright. Did you know that the closest star to earth is 4.3 light years away? That's 25 trillion miles away from the earth!"

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."

-Psalm 19:1

Astro Alternatives

When crafting, improvise and create using what works best for YOU! At the end of each camp craft, we'll be sharing ideas for alternative materials.

  • Use pre-cut dowel rods instead of drink straws

  • Instead of a paper towel tube, use a toilet paper roll. (However, the length of the telescope will be shorter)

Is your doll's telescope a reflecting or refracting telescope?

Camp posts will be shared on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week.

If you complete a craft or want to share a photo of your doll at camp, snap a picture and send it in or share on Instagram using the hashtag #DollSTEMCamp2018 to be featured in the Camp Recap each Sunday!


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