A little creativity can go a long way when you need a quick fix for your viewing needs. If you don’t have the budget or time to buy a projector, a homemade projector is the next best thing.
DIY projectors are quick and easy fixes when you need to use a projector. With just a few tools and materials you can rig up a projector in no time.
So, if you are looking for a quick and easy guide to making a homemade projector, keep reading.
Assemble your materials
DIY projects go so much easier when you start by assembling all the materials you will need. For your homemade projector, you will need the following materials.
- A smartphone
- A mirror (should be able to fit into the box you will be using)
- A magnifying glass
- A rectangular cardboard box (shoebox works great)
- A pair of scissors
- Some glue
- Black paper (matte)
- Protractor (optional)
Steps to follow
Making the housing for your homemade projector
- Take your rectangular cardboard box and cut out one of the narrow sides and the top of the box. Do not throw away the cut-out pieces, you will need them later.
- The next step is to blacken the inside of your box. If you have black paint you can paint the inside of your cardboard black. Alternatively, glue black paper all around the inside of the cardboard box.
- If you choose to use black paper to darken the interior of the box, make sure its matte. Glossy paper will create a reflection which will affect the clarity of images.
- If you painted the inside of your box to blacken it, wait for the paint to dry completely.
Making the lens panel
- Take the narrow side panel that you cut out in step one. You will use this panel to install your lens. To install the lens you will need to make a hole on the side panel.
- Place your magnifying glass in the middle of the side panel and trace its outline on the panel. This will ensure the hole you create for your lens fits properly.
Now the lens side of your projector is ready.
- Remove the lens from the magnifying glass and insert it into the hole you have made on the side panel. Make sure that the curved part of the lens is facing inward while the flat surface of the lens is facing outward.
- Now that you have the lens side of your homemade projector the next step is to reinforce it. You want the lens panel to be able to stand so you will reinforce it along the sides.
- Take some of the black paper that you used to darken the interior of the cardboard box. Cut out a thick strip of the paper. Make sure the strip can go all around the edges of the panel where your lens is mounted.
- Now tape the black strip of paper along the edges of the lens panel. Once you have fixed the black paper on the panel, the lens panel should form a small rectangular box that will go inside the larger box.
Your lens panel is now done and ready to go into the box. Line up the edge of the lens panel with the edge of your rectangular box.
Setting up the mirror
- The next step is to place your mirror inside your cardboard box. You want the mirror on the back of your box opposite the panel with the lens.
- Prop your mirror at a 45-degree angle against the back wall of your cardboard box.
A protractor will let you know if the mirror is positioned correctly. Alternatively, look down at the mirror. If it is positioned correctly you should be able to see the lens that’s on the opposite side.
Setting up your smartphone
- The next step is to make a hole in the lid panel of your cardboard box. The hole should be just about the same size as your smartphone’s screen.
- Trace out the size of your smartphone on the lid of the cardboard box. The smartphone should be positioned above the mirror on the backside of your cardboard box.
- You can now proceed to cut out the section you traced. Make sure the cut is slightly smaller than the outline of the phone that you traced.
This is to ensure that your phone does not fall into the box when being used. Once the hole is done, replace the lid of the cardboard box on top of the box.
- Now your homemade projector is good to go. Just find the movie or clip that you want to watch on your smartphone. Then place the phone face down on the hole you created on the lid of your box.
You should be able to see images projected on the wall.
- You can always adjust your lens as needed to get better clarity and sharper images. Just be sure not to smudge the lens when adjusting as this could blur your images.
You can now enjoy your movie using your homemade projector.
Getting the best out of your homemade projector
- To get the right focus, play around with different projection ranges until you get the right picture. Move your projector closer or further away from the wall until you get a clear image.
- Projectors work best in dim lighting so make sure that you are using your projector in a dark environment.
- For best results project onto a white wall in a room that’s completely dark.
Enjoying your favorite movie on a big screen can be as easy as using a mirror to make a homemade projector.
Homemade projectors are fun and easy to make in just under an hour.
While you may not get the same image quality as you would with an actual projector, a homemade projector beats watching your favorite movie or video on phone.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.