Are you a DIY enthusiast always looking for new projects to work on with your family? Or you’re simply fascinated by how projectors work?
If yes, making a homemade projector with a mirror should be your next DIY project. The whole process is pretty simple and involves using everyday objects such as boxes and your smartphone.
The following step-by-step guide will take you the steps to follow to build a homemade projector that lets you view your phone videos and photos on the big screen.
How to make a DIY projector step by step?
To build a projector, you’ll first need to gather the necessary materials. This section will outline all the materials you need to get and the steps to follow to get this done.
Things you’ll need:
- A mirror
- Magnifying lens
- Thick cardboard box
- Phone holder
- 4 drinking straws
Step by step instructions:
The idea here is to create a box that allows the rays of light coming from your smartphone screen to spot on the magnifying glass. The magnifying lens will then blow up the image, which you can cast on a wall or projector screen.
Here are the steps to follow to get it done:
Step 1. Make the lens panel
The first step involves grabbing that shoebox or any other rectangular box you’re using and cutting one of its narrow sides to hold the magnifying lens.
You want to make a hole on this panel that your lens comfortably fits in. So, make sure you measure your diameter first to make the right size of a hole.
We suggest placing the lens where you plan to make the hole and tracing its circumference with a pencil maker. Afterward, use the scissors to cut out the hole.
Put the lens in place and use glue/silicone to hold it in place so it doesn’t fall in the middle of a movie.
Step 2. Make the inside of the box completely dark
The next important step is to make the inside of the box pitch black. This is to help minimize possible reflections and ensure you get richer images.
If you have a black pain, you can simply use it to paint the entire interior of the box. Give the paint time to dry before proceeding to the next step.
Alternatively, you can cover the box interior with matte black paper (avoid using glossy paper as it might create reflections and affect the image clarity).
Use glues/silicone to stick the paper all around the box.
Step 3. Place a mirror at the backside of the box
You’ll need to put a mirror at the backside of the box so that it sits opposite the magnifying glass lens. Adjust it to sit at 45 degrees.
You can use a protractor to get this angle right. Generally, if the lens is visible from the mirror, it’s correctly set.
Step 4. Set the smartphone in place
The smartphone in this DIY projector should sit right above your mirror. This way, light from the phone screen will reflect on the mirror and then onto the magnifying lens.
Simply take off the box lid to allow you to cut a hole for the smartphone easily. Measure the size of your phone screen to give you an idea of how much of an opening to cut.
If your phone screen is full-sized, make a hole a few millimeters smaller than your phone.
Make sure it’s small enough to not crop the screen content while being big enough to hold the phone at the top in a stable manner.
Step 5. It’s Showtime!
And you’re done! Your projector is now ready to place your favorite films on the big screen!
To ensure high image clarity, cast your projection on a suitable wall with no stains (plain white walls work the best).
Try moving your homemade projector closer to the wall for an even sharper image.
Alternatively, you can move your lens panel back and forth to adjust the projector focus.
BONUS Step: How to make DIY projector without magnifying glass
If you don’t have a magnifying glass, you can still come up with a DIY projector. Or you can use a flashlight. But for this case, the homemade projector diagram will be slightly different.
You’ll need to use any other suitable-sized convex lens. This is crucial since the convex mirrors are this projector’s main element.
Alternatively, you can use a glass cup & water bottle to play the role of the projector screen magnifier. An ordinary bulb can also be filled with water and be used in place of the magnifying glass. Check the video below on how to go about it.
Can I use a mirror as a projector screen?
No! You can’t use a mirror as a projector screen. All the light falling on the mirror surface from the projector lens will be reflected off. You’ll only be able to see the projector itself in the mirror.
Will a projector work on glass?
You can project on any smooth glass surface with just a few simple modifications. You’ll first need to cut the glass surface to the correct size. Next, you should apply an anti-glare coat to hide the glares and improve the screen’s reflection feature. Apply a thin paste using a fiber-free brush or a soft cloth. Note that there are ready-made glass screen projectors that you can find on the market today if you’re looking for something for commercial use.
That’s how you come up with a homemade projector using simple items lying in your house. The steps are easy and straightforward.
And will enable you to come up with a 100% working projector that projects content on your smartphone on the big screen to enjoy watching with your family and friends.
The magnifying glass contains a convex lens, just like the real projector, which makes it an essential item for this projector.
However, if you don’t have one, you can still build a DIY projector by using any suitable-sized convex lens. Have you started working on your DIY projector already?