No eclipse glasses? Try a cereal box!


No eclipse glasses? Try a cereal box!

Leery about the idea of looking at the sun to watch the April 8 partial solar eclipse in our region?

Although eclipse glasses and other special solar filters are designed to allow safe viewing of the sun during the eclipse, they aren’t the only way to safely watch the event.

One easy option is to create a pinhole viewer using items you probably have around the house. This version requires scissors, a piece of white paper, aluminum foil, a cereal box and tape.


  1. Trace the bottom of an empty cereal box on a white piece of paper. Cut the tracing from the larger piece of paper.
  2. Tape the tracing to the bottom of the cereal box.
  3. Seal the top.
  4. Cut rectangular holes in opposing sides of the top of the cereal box. The rectangles should be several inches long and extend the full width of the top.
  5. Cover one of the rectangular holes completely with aluminum foil and seal the edges with tape.
    Poke a small hole in the aluminum foil using a nail.
  6. Watch the eclipse by standing with your back to the sun and looking into the larger hole cut into the top of the cereal box. The sun should be projected through the hole in the aluminum foil onto the white paper at the bottom of the box, allowing you to safely view the eclipse without looking toward the sun.

Card Stock Alternative

You can also make an even simpler pinhole projector by using two pieces of white card stock. Use a pin to punch a small hole in the center of one piece of card stock, stand with your back to the sun and allow the sun’s rays to project through the hole onto the second piece of card stock, which acts as a viewing screen. The only downside to this approach is the possibility that frayed edges of the card stock may distort the sun’s image.

Kitchen Colander

A common kitchen colander works in a similar way as the cereal box or card stock. With your back to the sun, hold the colander up and allow the sun to shine through the holes of the colander onto a piece of white paper. You’ll see numerous images of the eclipse projected.

The circular holes of a colander project crescent shapes onto the ground during the partial phases of a solar eclipse.

Photo courtesy of NASA

See it Safely!

Regardless of the method you choose to watch the eclipse, it’s critical you never look directly at the sun with the naked eye except when it is completely hidden behind the moon. And that’s only possible for a short time if you are in the path of totality.

For those viewing the eclipse in South Carolina on April 8, you should never look directly at the sun without wearing approved eye protection, even when only the smallest portion of the sun is visible.

Have questions about what we’ll experience in South Carolina? Click here.

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