Optics Mag is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Read more.

5 DIY Telescope Plans You Can Make Today (With Pictures)

Last Updated on

man watching stars using telescope

Telescopes are a fun way to explore the visible world. To make the experience even more valuable, make your own telescope instead of purchasing one. Whether you want a high-functioning telescope or one that your kids will enjoy, there are tons of telescope plans to try out.

Below, learn about seven DIY telescope plans you can make today. Some of these plans are better suited for adults, whereas others are perfect for getting your kids involved in science. Select a telescope based on your end goal, get everything you need, and start building a telescope today.

telescope divider 2

The Top 5 DIY Telescope Plans You Can Make Today

1. Telescope With Magnifying Glasses by wikiHow

Telescope With Magnifying Glasses by wikiHow
Photo Credit: wikiHow
Materials Corrugated paper, 2 lenses of different sizes
Tools Glue, pencil, scissors
Difficulty Level Beginner

If you are looking for a way to get your children involved with science, try out this telescope made from magnifying glasses. This plan is super easy, and you should be able to find the required items either around your home or at a local grocery store.

The plans themselves are super easy to follow. This plan is incredibly thorough and designed for beginners. The plan also includes written instructions, as well as graphics for every step in the process.

There are technically two plans on this site, but they have the same finished results. Both of the telescopes use magnifying glasses as the lenses, but there are different tools used for each plan. Select the wikiHow plan that is best for you based on the resources you already have at your house.

2. Working Telescope for Kids by Gift of Curiosity

Working Telescope for Kids by Gift of Curiosity
Photo Credit: Gift of Curiosity
Materials Two tubes, two lenses of different sizes, lens cap
Tools Cloth
Difficulty Level Beginner

Another great telescope plan for kids is this Gift of Curiosity Telescope plan. This plan is specifically designed for children, meaning it is easy enough to make and has a design that kids go crazy over.

This telescope is designed to look like a pirate scope. Whenever your children are dressing up as pirates, they can grab this telescope to get in character. Later in the night, your children can use this telescope to see things located far away.

These plans are incredibly thorough and easy to follow. In fact, the creator of this plan even mentioned that their son helped to create the telescope. In other words, anyone can make this super fun scope.

3. Simple Telescope by instructables

Simple Telescope by instructables
Photo Credit: instructables
Materials PVC pipes, lenses, eyepiece, caps
Tools drill, plyer, hammer, razor
Difficulty Level Intermediate

If you are looking to make a telescope for yourself, the two plans above are likely too elementary for your needs. Luckily for you, there are tons of adult-friendly telescope plans that you can follow, including this Simple Telescope published by YADUKRISHNAN K M on Instructables.

In case you are unfamiliar, Instructables is a site where individuals can place their own plans and designs. Most Instructables plans are shoddy at best, but that is not the case for this plan. It is incredibly extensive, with a complete list of required items, pictures, and step-by-step instructions.

This is easily one of the most extensive telescope plans on the Internet. There are many comments on this plan talking about how great it is and how the instructions are so easy to follow.

4. 25-inch F2.6 Telescope by Mel Bartels

25-inch F2.6 Telescope by Mel Bartels
Image Credit: Mel Bartels
Materials Tubing, wood, hardware
Tools Various tools
Difficulty Level Expert

Mel Bartels offers extensive information about creating an F2.6 telescope. This plan is the update after using the telescope for a year and a half. If you scroll to the very bottom of the page, you will find every single resource needed to make this telescope.

This telescope is not for the faint of heart. On the contrary, this telescope is difficult and costly to make, making it best suited for experts and experienced telescope designers. If you put in the effort needed to create this telescope, you certainly will not be disappointed.

5. Dobsonian Telescope by Alex Rattner

Dobsonian Telescope by Alex Rattner
Image Credit: Alex Rattner
Materials N/A
Tools N/A
Difficulty Level Expert

Finally, the last telescope on our list is the Dobsonian Telescope. This telescope is similar to the Backyard model, but the instructions aren’t as thorough and explicit. Still, this is a great plan for those who know what they’re doing.

If you are a beginner or intermediate builder, this might not be the plan for you. Instead, you might want to get some ideas from this plan. Those who are more expert builders will likely be able to follow the information that is given.

telescope divider 1

Why Build Your Own Telescope?

Refractor Telescope
Image Credit: KAZLOVA IRYNA, Shutterstock

Building a telescope can be beneficial for several reasons. If you are building a telescope with your kids, even a simple one, you can encourage your child to investigate their curiosity and explore the world.

You don’t have to be a child to benefit from building a telescope. Adults can benefit from building a telescope by creating it in such a way that it fits their needs perfectly. In fact, self-built telescopes can sometimes be higher quality than commercial ones because the builder doesn’t have to sacrifice or cut any corners.

telescope divider 2


Instead of purchasing a new telescope next time yours breaks, build your own from scratch. Using one of the seven plans above, you can make your own telescope today.

Featured Image Credit: True Touch Lifestyle, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.