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Homemade Compass

Join Team GCM Member Chris on his latest adventure, homemade compass making! Using found objects, Chris shows us how to create our own compass and explains the science behind how it works.


  • Bowl
  • Water bottle cap
  • Water
  • Paper clip
  • Magnet


  1. Fill the bowl with water
  2. Take your paperclip and straighten it out 
  3. Using your magnet, apply light pressure to the paperclip and run it across the paperclip in a single direction about 3 to 4 times, making sure to pull the magnet away from the paperclip when returning to the start point
  4. Place the bottle cap into the bowl so that it floats
  5. Place the paperclip on the bottle cap
  6. If the paperclip does not rotate and find North, try running the magnet across it a few more times to make sure it is properly magnetized.

Team GCM Creator: Chris