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Holding Down the Fort: DIY Compass

Posted on July 7, 2020

Nature is our playground — and we want to help you navigate it.

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All it takes is a couple of sticks to create your very own sun dial. By setting one in the dirt, and a second in its shadow, you can track the hours throughout the day as if it were a clock face in the ground.

But what if you want to explore on the move? Using household items, create your own compass so that you always know which direction you’re heading.

A hand holds a compass overtop of a paper map

Make Your Own Compass

Gather Materials

  1. Find your compass needle. Any fine piece of metal that can become magnetized will work, like a sewing pin or hairpin.
  2. Choose your magnetizer. A refrigerator magnet or iron nail will do the trick.
  3. Just a few more items. You’ll need a dish that carries water, and a cork that’s been cut across into the size of a coin.

Make the Compass

  1. Magnetize the needle. Stroking your chosen pin about 30-40 times in the same direction, you’ll create a charge in your pin.
  2. Insert into cork. Push the needle horizontally through the cork piece so that it can lay flat.
  3. Add water. Fill your dish with water, and let your needle float on it. It will point north, helping you navigate your adventure ahead!