Having trouble with assembly? Want some help getting started? You’re in the right place!

Looking for a copy of our written manual included with every Foldscope? You can find the English-language version here! For instructions in other languages, check out the Translations tab!

Below are a variety of video and written tutorials to help you get the most of your Foldscope experience. These videos, and more (like translated tutorials & recaps of our workshops and events), can be found on our YouTube Channel. Subscribe to keep up!


We believe that the most important part of our company is not the tools themselves, but the communities that use them.

The Microcosmos is the collective term we use for our community of explorers & our online platform. On the Microcosmos site,, users from around the world connect, share their observations, ideas, and problems!

It is a place to collaborate, find inspiration, and learn from fellow explorers. With over half a million Foldscopes distributed to date, it is quite the far-reaching and fascinatingly diverse community.




Learn how to assemble your Foldscope.


Learn how to register on our community website, Microcosmos, and start sharing your discovery with fellow Foldscoper users around the world!


Learn how to geotag your existing Microcosmos posts so that you can keep track of where you have been exploring.



Learn how to prepare your microscope slides.


Learn how to insert microscope slides into a Foldscope.



Learn how to view specimens directly with your eye!


Most frequent questions and answers

1. Foldscope Assembly – do you have step by step video instructions?

Yes, we do! Here are links to our official Foldscope video tutorials, which can also be found under the Tutorials menu tab. You can find tutorials in other languages via the Translations tab.

2. How do I focus? (My sample appears blurry, or I cannot see my sample at all)

  • Firstly make sure that you’re using the focus ramp (component A4) properly! The focus ramp is, as the name suggests, a ramp that is thick on one end and thin on the other. Sliding the focus ramp from left to right changes the distance from the lens from the sample, shifting the focus. To start at the lowest focus, put the thin side of the ramp between the lens and the sample. To adjust focus, push toward the thick side while viewing your sample until you can see the sample clearly.
  • Secondly, make sure you are viewing objects that are translucent, or allow light through. Completely opaque objects can not be viewed using transmission light microscopy.

  • Third, errors in the assembly process can result in difficulty focusing. Please review the videos above to ensure you have properly built your Foldscope.

  • If these tips do not improve focus, please email and we’ll do the best we can to help you!

3. I don’t seem to have or can’t find my lenses.

Lenes & Couplers-01.jpg

The lens piece is a small circular item, composed of a tiny glass bead held within a black plastic ring and a silver magnetic ring. Magnetic couplers are square shaped pieces, composed of black plastic with small holes along one side, a large hole in the center, and a silver magnetic ring.

Due to their magnetic attraction, lenses and couplers will be stuck together in a stack when you receive your kit. This is normal! Simply separate the pieces and you are ready to assemble. (Video here: Magnetic Couplers & Lenses). 

4. I have a missing or broken component in my kit.

We do extensive quality testing, but in the rare event a piece is missing or damaged, we will send a replacement part! 

5. Do I need a camera phone to use the Foldscope?

Our design philosophy is to bring the microscopic world to every child worldwide. Thus, the Foldscope is designed to be an independent instrument and does not require a phone to use.

Having said that – Foldscopes work fantastically when coupled to phones/iPads/ recording devices. No special app is required- your standard camera application will suffice! Learn how to collect photo and video data here: FoldscopeViewing: With Your Phone Camera.

(Note: for iPhone X series users, place the coupler over the camera located closest to the top of the phone.)

6. What ages can use Foldscope? 

Foldscope has been enjoyed by users across all ages! Due to legal regulations relating to choking hazards, we officially recommend the product for ages 8 and up. However, with adult supervision, younger science enthusiasts can also enjoy the Foldscope!

The Foldscope is made out of high-strength, plastic-coated paper, making it sturdy and durable. It can be used for both the simplest observations and for thorough scientific studies, and all places in between.

7. I seem to have seen a new life form – What is it? What do I do next?

Discovery is an integral part of exploration. We built this tool so that anyone could make new discoveries while exploring the microscopic world.

  • The first step in discovery is sharing and documenting the observation. Please document as much about your discovery as you can.

  • Please register and share your explorations with the rest of the Foldscope community at

  • You will be given a DOI number – which makes your observation citable and archived forever with your name. This is a community website with standard Creative Commons license.

Translations & More!

Our materials are now available in various formats in over 21 languages!

To download the English-language version of our written instructions included with every Foldscope, click here!