Microscopes are an important part of every scientific discovery, giving people the ability to see things as tiny as the cells that make up everything on Earth. The first microscope was created in the 1590s by Zacharias Janssen. The smallest versions of this tool were called “flea glasses” because they were used to study small insects at first. They would go to be used to discover cells, tastebuds, red blood cells, and countless types of bacteria that we now know how to fight and treat.
Microscopes got an upgrade into machines more similar to the ones you might use in a science class in the 19th century, when Carl Zeiss revolutionized the quality of the lenses microscopes use to magnify images. Now, you can use a high power light microscope to see things as tiny as 500 nanometers long. That’s 200 times smaller than the thickness of a sheet of paper!
A machine like this looks extremely complicated, but it is surprisingly easy to draw. Grab some clean paper, a pencil, an eraser, colored pencils or crayons, and a thin-tipped marker, and you’re ready to draw a microscope of your own.
First, draw the base of the microscope by drawing one long horizontal line and adding a shorter vertical line on each end. Draw another long horizontal line from the tops of these shorter lines to create a rectangle. You can use a ruler to make sure these lines are straight.
Next, add two small blocky “U” shapes to the bottom of your rectangle near the edges of the box. These are the legs of the microscope.
Now draw a rainbow shape that starts with one end over the leftmost leg of the microscope and ends near the center of the larger rectangle. You want this rainbow shape to be tilted slightly toward the middle of the page so that the end of the curve near the center is almost vertical.
Starting at the centermost end of the rainbow shape, near where it connects to the larger rectangle, draw a horizontal line toward the right side of the drawing and ending near the far side of the right leg. Draw a short vertical line at the end to connect it to the bigger rectangle.
Just above where the top rectangle meets the curved line, draw a diagonal line that goes about halfway from the curved line to the top straight line.
Connect the ends of this short diagonal line by creating another long, thin, rainbow-like curve line.
Add two more diagonal lines, one going up and to the left from the top of the larger curved line, and the other connecting the bottom of the newest curved line to the line just below it.
Draw a small circle near the curved section of the smaller curved line. This circle should be inside the shape.
Draw two diagonal lines, one on either side of the circle you just drew, pointing down toward the bottom right side of the drawing. Connect the ends with curved lines to create a rounded rectangle shape.
Starting at the top end of the small diagonal line at the tip of the larger curve, make a longer diagonal line pointing up and to the right. Continue the line on the other side of the small line with another small straight line.
Draw another line parallel to the one you just made and connect the ends to create a rectangle that is pointing up and two the right.
Add a curved line that starts near the top of the large rainbow shape and curves around the short end of the diagonal rectangle until the other end of it is higher than the highest part of the rectangle.
Draw a second line next to this one to create a curved tube shape.
Connect the curved line and the tube shape with a short diagonal line.
Draw a line parallel to the top of the diagonal rectangle near the top of the innermost curve of the tube shape.
Draw two shorter, perpendicular lines at the ends of this line.
Make a curved line that connects the ends of these shorter lines to make a long rectangle with one curved side.
Draw two short parallel lines down from the center of this curve toward the tilted rectangle.
Add another set of two short lines that point down toward the bottom right of the page.
Add a third set of two short lines pointing down toward the left leg of the microscope.
Connect each pair of straight lines with a horizontal line to make three rectangle shapes along the curved side of the round rectangle.
Draw small curved lines connecting the two ends of these three horizontal lines to create a half-circle shape.
At the top of the vertical tube shape, draw a circle. You could use a bottlecap to draw this circle.
Draw a smaller circle inside the first circle to create a ring shape.
Draw a straight diagonal line that starts above the ring shape and goes down and to the right until it meets the top of the rectangle with the curved side.
Use this diagonal line to create three rectangles: a short one on top that makes up the eyepiece, a smaller, thinner rectangle in the center, and a long rectangle the same width as the eyepiece that shares a side with the curved rectangle.
Color in the stand, the eyepiece, and the rounded rectangle. You can leave the ring shape, the center rectangle right next to it, the three short tubes, the diagonal rectangle, the rainbow shape with a hole in the top, and the small rectangle just below it empty for now.
Use a lighter shade to color in the diagonal rectangle and the smaller rectangle on the base of the stand under the rounded rectangle that is pointing down.
Add shadow and depth by adding an even lighter color to the left sides of the shapes that haven’t been colored yet. Imagine the light shining on your microscope is in the top right corner of the page.
Congratulations, your microscope is ready!