Using the Microscope Kit

Magnify your mind! There are so many small things to see in the world! Young scientists can investigate everything from cells to crystals with the Microscope kit. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Request the Microscope Kit

Make your own microscope dye

Things you’ll need:

  • Red and blue food coloring
  • Distilled water
  • Vinegar
  • Pipette (found in Microscope Kit)
  • Plastic slides (found in Microscope Kit)
  • Plastic coverslips (found in Microscope Kit)
  • Microscope (found in Microscope Kit)
  • Crystallized blue dye bottle (found in Microscope Kit)
  • Crystallized red dye bottle (found in Microscope Kit)


  1. Dilute the dye with distilled water. To begin, use a 1:1 dilution ratio of dye solution to water.
  2. In the Microscope Kit you will find two small bottles, one labelled Crystallized Red Dye and the other labelled Crystallized Blue Dye to use.
  3. Mount your specimen on a glass slide. For a simple wet mount, apply a drop of water to the slide and carefully place the specimen on the wet portion.
  4. Apply a few drops of diluted dye to the sample. Dye absorption can take 1-3 hours. When the dye has absorbed rinse the rest off with distilled water, place the coverslip on top and examine the slide under the microscope.
  5. Adjust the dye formula through trial and error. Add a few drops of vinegar to the solution to make the pH more acidic. Experiment with higher concentrations of dye. Use multiple dyes in the same solution to achieve a different staining effect.


Cleaning Instructions

Before returning the kit to the library please:

  • Empty both the Blue and Red Crystallized Dye dye bottles and rinse them clean.
  • Clean the slides you have used.
  • Clean the plastic slide covers you have used.
  • Wipe clean any other instruments/tools you have used.


Books from the ORL

Here are some book ideas to help you explore microscopy.

Additional Resources

Microscope Observations (Printable PDFs)
Look through the microscope and draw what you see. 

10 Cool Things to View Under a Microscope (YouTube Video) 
Teach Kids Engineering 

20 More Cool Things to Look at Under a Microscope (YouTube Video)
Teach Kids Engineering 




Did you make something awesome using this kit?

Share your creation/photo with us on social media! Remember to use #ORLMakes so everyone can appreciate, learn, and marvel at your invention!



Tell us what you thought! 

We want to know all about your experience using this Library of Things kit at home. Please take a few minutes to fill out this short survey.


Lending Policy

  • This kit can be borrowed for 4 weeks.
  • 1 renewal if no one else is waiting for the item. 
  • The borrower is responsible for lost, missing, and damaged pieces (see content list with prices included with kit).
  • Return the kit to a staff member at the front desk of your nearest ORL location. Do not use the book drop or leave them outside the library. ·
  • BC One Card patrons: Library of Things kits must be checked out and returned to one of the Okanagan Regional Library branches.