Pinhole Solar Projection Viewer

You can make a Pinhole Projection Viewer to safely view a solar eclipse! It is important to use safe viewing practices during a solar eclipse, as looking directly at the Sun, even for seconds can damage your eyesight. If you don’t have eclipse glasses, you can also safely observe the eclipse by viewing a projected image of the Sun. For example, you can make a pinhole projection viewer using a cereal box and a few other materials found around the house. This will allow you to safely view a projected image of the Sun. See below for instructions on how to build and use your own pinhole solar projection viewer.


  • Empty Cereal Box
  • Sheet of Plain White Paper
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Small nail (about 3 mm in diameter)
  • Tape
  • Scissors

How to Make Your Pinhole Solar Projection Viewer:

  1. Empty a cereal box by removing the plastic bag inside so you are only left with the cardboard box itself.
  2. Cut a white piece of paper that will fit snuggly in the bottom of the box and glue or tape it into place on the bottom of the inside of the box
  3. Cut the top of the cereal box, removing both ends and leaving the center intact.
  4. Put a piece of tape across the center of the top to securely hold it closed. Tape the box shut so that no light can pass through the seam.
  5. Tape a piece of double layer aluminum foil across one of the openings at the top of the box. Fully cover the hole and tape the foil securely to the box.
  6. Note: The other opening at the top of the box will remain open for viewing the projected image of the Sun inside the box.
  7. Using a small nail (about 3 mm across) carefully push a hole through the foil. As an experiment you can test different sizes and shapes for the hole. 
  8. You now have a completed Pinhole Solar Projection Viewer that you can use to observe a projected image of the Sun.

image 9 

How to Use Your Pinhole Viewer:

  1. Stand with your back to the Sun.
  2. Hold the pinhole side of your eclipse viewer over your shoulder with the pinhole pointing toward the Sun. It may take some practice to accurately point the box.
  3. You should see a small image of the Sun projected onto the white paper at the bottom of the box.
  4. Never look directly at the Sun.

Credit: NASA

Updated: 10/05/2023 04:02PM