CMA Stories

How-To: Upcycled Viewfinders

Artists know how to look closely at the world around them. Use everyday objects to create a tool for observation! Once your upcycled viewfinder is complete, create your own compositions at the park, in the kitchen, or wherever curiosity strikes. Show us your viewfinder and tag it with #CMACIVICKIDS!


  • Cardboard, cut into four 2” x 6” rectangles

  • Popsicle sticks or anything else that holds shape work just as well!

  • Tape

  • String

  • Items to decorate your viewfinder: shells, gems, or collage material

  • Glue


1. Gather your cardboard or popsicle sticks, arranging them into a square. Make sure the edges overlap.

2. Glue the overlapped pieces of cardboard to form your square frame.

3. Once the glue dries, flip the square frame over. Tape a piece of string from the center top of your square to the center bottom.

4. Turn the square and do the same thing on the other sides. You should see that the strings will cross in the center of your square.

5. Turn your new viewfinder back over. Add some designs or personalized details to the outer frame!

6. Look closely!

This program is supported, in part, by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. CIVICKIDS is sponsored by Google.


  • June's #CMACIVICKIDS partner is DeafCam, a project from South Africa that works with deaf children and young people to teach and develop their interest in photography and filmmaking. Through their photographs and films, deaf children… Read more

  • LGBTQ Leaders in Action will be the focus of the Media Lab workshop during this Sunday's Pride Cultural Festival! Tell your own story using cut-outs of iconic cultural and historical figures. Break through the boundary of… Read more

  • The Hudson Park Library is one of CMA's key partners in early learning in New York City. Children's Librarian Kristy Raffensberger shares a reading list inspired by June's CIVICKIDS theme of Reflection and our upcoming Ethiopian Cultural Festival on Sunday,… Read more

Sign up to get updates and special invitations