I need to magnify a tiny organic object (about 2mm x 2mm). I don't have a microscope right now.

I would like to see as much detail as possible.

I tried the zoom on my cell phone's camera, and it's not as bad as I expected, but not close to enough magnification. I also tried the macro modes on my compact digital cameras, but the magnification was far too weak. I am currently without a DSLR camera.

Is there a good hack to create a makeshift microscope out of household items?

  • "There's an app for that". I've used a "microscope" app on Android before. It worked better than using a magnifying glass. – Χpẘ Mar 28 '17 at 0:40
  • @Χpẘ Thanks. Do you happen to recall which app worked well for you? – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Mar 28 '17 at 2:25
  • 1
    I think this one: play.google.com/store/apps/… – Χpẘ Mar 28 '17 at 4:15

The original microscope, as created by Anton van Leeuwenhoek (spellings of the last name vary) in the 17th century was nothing more than a drop of water (or glycerin, which doesn't evaporate as quickly) caught in a pinhole in a metal plate, with the sample mounted on an adjustable holder. The simple "lens" was held very close to the eye, and allowed examining an object at a close enough distance to see the "animalcules" (as he called them) in a drop of pond water.

A similar setup could be cobbled together using a drop of clear liquid, mounted very close to your phone camera's lens cover. The lens mount can be made from aluminum foil, held on the phone with tape. Careful cutting of the foil can avoid covering the camera's flash LED, allowing good illumination of the sample (possibly aided by putting frosted tape on the LED cover, to widen the illumination angle). Combine this with the phone's zoom, and you should be able to see individual cells in an onion slice or similar tiny details.


You can use a bunch of magnifying glass or eyeglasses and put the two glass in position the other one is on the top and the other one is in the bottom. If it isn't in you are wishing to be repeat the process to zoom it more. (needed to have a helping hand or a friend)


Place a small drop of water on you camera lens. Watch the video.

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