Optional Promo Message

Make a Water Microscope


A water microscope is a simple and inexpensive way to explore the world of tiny things. It can be made with materials you probably have around the house, and it’s a great way to introduce kids to the basics of microscopes.

Materials needed: 

  • Magnifying glass 
  • Double-sided tape 
  • Water 
  • Pipette or eye dropper 
  • Empty plastic water bottle 
  • Clear plastic lid (from recycling) 
  • Specimens to examine: dried bugs, flower or leaf cuttings 
  • Scissors 
  • *Adult supervision


Water microscope instructions


  1. To make the viewer, first cut the plastic bottle in half
  2. Cut 2 notches into the cut edge, across from each other. Notches should be about 2” wide and about ½” deep. These notches will hold a slide so try to make them the same depth.
  3. Cut 2 deeper notches, about 1-1/2” deep, in-between the first 2 notches. Notches should be about 2” wide, and across from each other.  These notches will also hold a slide.
  4. Make your slides by cutting a clear plastic lid into strips, about 1 to 1-1/2” wide. They should fit into the notches you made.
  5. Place a small piece of double-stick tape in the center of the slide to hold your specimen.
  6. Gently press specimen onto the tape.
  7. Place slide with specimen on the lower notches.
  8. Place another blank slide on the upper notches.


The science behind the experiment: 

The water droplet enlarges the image because it creates a convex lens which magnifies your specimen. Adding the additional glass further magnifies it. In fact, modern microscopes today are generally compound microscopes, meaning they have many glass lenses in them.