Movies are not only a great source of entertainment, but they also help you relax your nerves. And watching a movie on a big screen is a breath-taking experience. But going to the cinema every day isn’t cheap. It could put a dent in your wallet.
Buying a projector for your home could be a great alternative. In fact, there are awesome projectors out there that are available at very eye-catching prices. Yet, you might not have any cash with you.
You could be a broke college student. Does that mean you don’t deserve to watch movies on a big screen? Fear not because we have found the solution to put you out of misery.
A DIY homemade projector is the only medicine you need to cure your sadness and enjoy new blockbusters.
Materials Required For A Mirror-Based Projector
For a DIY homemade projector, you do not need to run to the nearby hardware store to buy anything. Hopefully, most of these things are available at your house. And even if you have to visit a shop, it won’t cost you a fortune. Trust us; you will only need a few things to make this magic happen.
A. Materials/Items needed
- 1 mirror (remember this should fit inside the box you are going to use)
- 1 magnifying glass/lens
- 1 smartphone
- A cardboard box with dimensions twice that of your smartphone. (A shoebox should do.)
- Something for cutting (scissors or NT cutter)
- A handsaw
- Glue/Silicone/Glue Gun
- Four drinking straws
- (Optional) Pre-bought phone holder
B. But I don’t have a mirror!
So, is this the end? Absolutely not! You can make a mirror right away using the following steps!
- Simply take a glass panel from a picture frame.
- Then clean this glass panel using any kind of mild rubbing alcohol.
- Next, keep the glass panel in a very well-ventilated area. It would be best if the glass panel were kept outside, but even a room with windows will work.
- Buy a mirror-effect spray paint and apply five coats of paint on the glass panel, allowing the separate coats of paint to dry.
- Wait for about 10 minutes for all of the paint to dry completely.
There you go! You have yourself a mirror!
C. But I don’t have a phone holder!
You might not have a phone holder, but it is optional, so it isn’t the end of the world.
However, you can make your own phone holder using cardboard. Just make sure it fits inside the box of your projector.
Here’s a handy link to a YouTube video by the channel ‘Making Tricks’ that shows you four different types of stand.
We also have a guide using straws and cardboard in Section 6 of this article.
Step-By-Step Guide To Making The Homemade Projector Housing
1. Take the cardboard box
2. Paint the cardboard box black. Darkening the box’s interior will help you increase the brightness and clarity of your projector.
Note: Use black acrylic paint, if possible, as it more easily sticks to the cardboard.
3. (Optional) Your projector will be even more improved by using colored paper cover the entire exterior of the box. This will ensure no reflections causing problems once projecting
4. Let the paint dry properly before you touch the box again for the project. If you have used construction papers to cover the edges, sides, or the bottom of the box, then wait patiently before the glue sticks on the box.
Once done with building the interior of our projector, we can make the lens panel.
Setting Up The Mirror
You have to fix your phone above the mirror so that it reflects back the images.
In rare occurrences, the image created by the homemade projector turns upside down, and the text gets inverted as well. With the correct positioning, you will be able to produce images that are not inverted and appear clear.
1. Ensure that the paint or dark paper you have used on the box’s interior is fully dry. If the paint doesn’t dry, it might touch the glass and ruin the mirror’s natural ability to reflect.
2. Check that the mirror fully fits inside the box IN THE MIDDLE. Remember, there should still be enough space inside the box to put your smartphone once the mirror is permanently attached.
3. Glue your mirror to the box’s bottom. Silicone is the best option, but a glue gun will also work.
Step-By-Step Guide To Making The Lens Panel
Without the lens, don’t even dream about this projector! The lens is the object that will project the image from your phone screen to the wall or any surface you intend to project on.
1. Cut off the handle of the magnifying glass. Using a sharp hacksaw blade (if you own one), cut the handle off properly.
Note: Children should not attempt to do this by themselves. Please take all necessary safety precautions when sawing off the handle so that you do not injure yourself.
2. Make sure that the glass, along with the plastic border around it is perfectly circular. No parts of the handle shall remain—sand down the area where the handle used to be attached if required.
3. Now, we need a compass, glue and our good old box which we painted earlier.
4. Start by cutting a hole in the cardboard box using scissors. This hole needs to be the same as the circumference of the glass.To do this, trace the lens’s circumference using a compass in the box and then cut it precisely. Try to make smooth edges so that the glass fits inside without falling apart.
5. (Optional) If you can’t make the magnifying lens fit inside the hole, you can always use a hot glue gun to make it stick properly. Try not to stain the magnifying glass.
6. (Optional) To prevent any shadows or blurriness later when using the projector, you can clean the lens with a low percentage alcohol rub.
Setting Up The Smartphone with a DIY stand.
You can use the method below to make a DIY stand. However, you can also build many other stand types with directions to build them easily found on YouTube, Pinterest, and other similar sites.
1. Glue the straws to the bottom of your box’s interior in the corners. There should still be space at the center of the box to place the mirror (if you haven’t done so already). The straws should lightly touch the box’s upper side.
2. With the straws sorted, cut down a new piece of cardboard to a size where it will fit on the straws. It will be the area where the smartphone sits, so make sure it matches close to the dimensions of your smartphone.
3. Fix your cut down cardboard to the straw tops. Use either silicone or a hot glue gun.Make sure everything is secure. If your phone moves around, it will be a problem when projecting.
Note: You can also use a phone stand that you have purchased.
You should now have a fully functioning projector. Just turn your phone on, get the movie you want to play loaded up, and place the phone onto the phone stand. The projector will do the rest.
There are few benefits of owning a homemade projector.
Notice how we didn’t tell you to provide any power source. Not only are you saving money on buying a projector, but your electricity bill isn’t going to go up either!
This really is a fun project that you can do either by yourself or with kids. They will enjoy it, and you get the benefit of watching something on the big screen afterward!