Can't Find Solar Eclipse Glasses? How to Make Some at Home — Or Use a Cheese Grater

Colanders, disco balls, and more can help you catch the eclipse while protecting your eyesight.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

Apr. 5 2024, Published 1:29 p.m. ET

People viewing the eclipse with homemade glasses
Source: Getty Images

Whether you haven't had a chance to get your glasses for the solar eclipse, or else you're looking for a fun DIY project that involves making a pair of homemade eclipse glasses, there are plenty of last minute ways you can throw something together to view the eclipse. Between alternatives to the standard glasses, to creative methods that allow you to view the eclipse's shadow, there are so many fun ideas to choose from.

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Of course, it goes without saying that all of these ideas should be used at your own risk — viewing the solar eclipse without proper eye protection can result in both temporary and permanent damage — and with the understanding that the suns UV and IR radiation is too strong for regular sunglasses. The below suggestions were rounded up with these facts in mind, and offer safer alternatives when it comes to finding new ways to DIY solar eclipse glasses at home.

Man shows students how to capture the eclipse on a piece of paper
Source: Getty Images
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How to make homemade, DIY solar eclipse glasses:

When it comes to making homemade eclipse glasses, you'll need to start with the most important part, a solar filter. This is the actual lens that you'll be viewing the eclipse through. The American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable suppliers of solar viewers and solar filters, which is where you should source your lenses from. Once you have that, you can create your frame, opting to get as creative as you want with the process.

You can use old three-dimensional glasses, removing the lenses and adding the solar filters instead, or make your own by using some poster board to cut out in the shape of your frames. Empty cereal boxes make another great option. All you need to do is cut out a small hole through both sides of the box so that you can add your solar filter. This method gives you a lot more room for creativity, too, since you can decorate your box so it's a reflection of your personality.

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How to make homemade solar eclipse glasses for kids:

My favorite method for homemade solar glasses for kids involves using a paper plate as the frame and cutting out two holes as "eyes," which is where you add the filter. As a mom, I find this idea especially helpful when viewing the eclipse with my kids. I like to give them the plate to decorate, cutting out the holes for the eyes before they get started. After they've finished with their masterpiece, I like to add the filters in since this ensures they'll still be intact when when it comes time to view the eclipse together.

Not only does this give them a fun way to get excited about the eclipse, but it also adds an extra layer of protection since they'll have a larger surface area to hold up to their face, hopefully keeping the filters exactly where they need to be during the eclipse! Of course, you don't have to be the parent of a young kid to enjoy this one, anyone who is young at heart may get a kick out of showing off their solar eclipse face.

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How to use a colander or cheese grater to view the solar eclipse:

If you don't have time to order solar filters, or else want something quick and easy you can grab last minute, using a colander or cheese grater makes a great DIY solar eclipse glasses alternative. This method involves what the AAS calls pinhole projection, and it allows the sunlight to pass through a small opening (like those in a colander or cheese grater), projecting the image of the solar eclipse onto the surface beneath it.

All you have to do is grab the kitchen staple, head outside, and stand with your back to the sun with the colander or grater outstretched in your arms. Once the eclipse begins, all the tiny pinholes of light will begin to show the moon's progress as it crosses the sun, creating dozens of tiny little eclipses for your viewing pleasure!

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