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Sunlight Art Fun

In this activity, you will create art using the power of sunlight and a magnifying glass. Get ready to explore the science behind focusing sunlight on creating unique designs on wood or cardboard.

Develop these Key Competencies:

  • Critical thinking
  • problem-solving
  • System Thinking
  • Self Awareness

Materials needed

  • Small board of wood, cardboard, or MDF
  • Pencil
  • Magnifying glass with good UV protection
  • Sunglasses with UV protection (if needed)
  • Outdoor space with direct sunlight
Activity Description


  1. Find an outdoor area with direct sunlight.
  2. Take the small board and use a pencil to draw or write something of your choice on its surface.
  3. Wear sunglasses with good UV protection to protect your eyes during the activity.
  4. Hold the magnifying glass and orient it towards the sun, adjusting its angle until you find the point where the sunrays are concentrated most on your surface to be engraved.
  5. Soon, you will notice that the surface slightly burns and turns black in this focal point.
  6. "Draw" the lines of your sketch on the surface you marked in pencil with the focused beam of light coming out of the magnifying glass. Be patient and careful in creating your art.
  7. When you're done, remove the magnifying glass from the sunlight and return the sunglasses if they are not yours.


Exploring the Science Behind

Through a lens like a magnifying glass, sunlight can be focused to a point without being reflected. This point is called the focus or focal point. At this point, all the energy from sunlight is concentrated, allowing the surface, such as wood, to be burned, creating your artwork. 

The magnifying glass, like any lens, does not increase the energy of the sun's rays, but it does make them converge so that they intersect at one point: the focus or focal point. All the energy is concentrated in it, which allows the surface to be burned, in this case, the wood.


Did you know

On a sunny day, you can even start a fire using the same technique of focusing sunlight with a lens. Famous Filipino artist Jordan Mang-osan creates stunning works of art on wood using only a magnifying glass and the sun's rays.


Reflection Questions

  1. What is the difference between using the magnifying glass technique and using an electric pyrograph for art?
  2. What are the advantages of using sunlight when making art this way?
  3. How do you feel about contributing to the planet by creating art in an eco-friendly manner?


Safety Note

Please always wear sunglasses for this activity, ensuring adequate UV protection for your eyes. Avoid looking directly at the sun or the focused light from the magnifying glass to protect your eyesight.


Did you know…

  • On a sunny day, you can even make fire with a lens.
  • Famous Filipino artist Jordan Mang-osan creates works of art on wood using only a magnifying glass and the sun's rays.


Additional activities

Discuss how lenses, like magnifying glasses or parabolic mirrors, concentrate sunlight onto solar cells in photovoltaic systems. Explore other technologies, such as solar tracking and cooling, used in solar energy applications.

Relevant information if you are facilitating

Observe the participants' engagement with the activity and their understanding of its scientific principles. Encourage creativity and responsible use of sunlight for artistic purposes.

Time needed

45 hours

Age range

  • 15 and above


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Time needed

45 hours

Age range

  • 15 and above