Introduction: How to Make a Projector for Your IPod/iPhone for About a $1

Picture of How to Make a Projector for Your IPod/iPhone for About a $1

This is a fun easy project that anyone can make in about 15-20 minutes. The whole project only cost me a dollar and works good enough that I can enjoy an entire movie on it. The way it works is the light from your phone or iPod goes through the magnifying glass and magnifies onto the wall. The whole project is very easy to make and easy to understand.

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Step 1: Supplies

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You will need a few household items to make your projector. Any supplies that you don’t have you can buy for very cheap. I completed the entire project for a dollar and the cheapest iPod/iPhone projector I could find online cost $90. For this project you will need:
•A shoe box
•A knife
•Duct tape
•A magnifying glass (this was the only thing I had to buy and it only cost a
•A marker
•Hot glue gun

Step 2: Prepare the Box

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The first thing that you are going to do is cover any holes in your box to prevent any light from leaving your box or entering  by doing this you will increase the quality of your projector. Cover all the holes on the outside of the box with duct tape then cover them on the inside so none of the sticky tape is exposed. Cover up all the sides so no light seeps out.

Step 3:

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We are using a magnifying glass as a lens any size will work for this. Start by finding the center of the box and marking it. Next put your magnifying glass on the box and carefully trace around it with your marker. After you have a cleanly drawn circle get out your knife. The best kind of knife for this would be an X-Acto knife but since I didn’t have one I just used a sharp pocket knife with a very sharp tip. Any knife will do but one with a sharp tip is ideal. Slowly cut out the circle you just drew on the box be careful so that the edges are cleanly cut for the best results. After you cut the circle cut some holes in the back for speakers and a charging cord so you don’t run out of batteries while using your projector. I covered up any rough edges on my lens hole with duct tape and that worked great. Now line up the magnifying glass and push it in the hole then glue it on. I put the lens to mine a little above the box and used a Lego to hold it up while I was gluing it so it would be stable. If your magnifying glass has a handle tape it to the inside of the box with your duct tape.

Step 4:

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Line up your iPod/iPhone with the magnifying glass and mark it then draw some straight lines with a ruler so you know where to put the iPod/iPhone whenever you use it.

Step 5: Build a Stand for Your IPod/iPhone

Picture of Build a Stand for Your IPod/iPhone

You want your iPod/iPhone to be as vertical as possible. So we will make a stand out of LEGOs if you don’t have any LEGOs you can use play dough and stick it to the box and rest your iPod/iPhone against it. To make the stand out of LEGOs take a platform (the one I used is 6x6) and stick a LEGO that is one high and one wide and long enough to go across the platform. Next figure out how much space your phone or iPod needs and place a 2 wide Lego behind it stack the LEGOs high enough to give the iPod/iPhone support. That’s it for the stand.

Step 6: Use It!

Picture of Use It!

To use the projector place your iPod/iPhone in the box and in the stand. If you haven’t already opened the picture/video you want to use the projector for open it now. Line it up with the magnifying glass so that the light shines through.You have to place the iPod/iPhone upside down, if you don't the picture will be projected upside down.  Turn the lights off and so you can see the screen better adjust the iPod/iPhone until you can get a clear picture. You might want to mark that spot so the next time you use it you don’t have to adjust so much.
• If the screen appears dim turn the brightness to the highest setting on your iPod/iPhone.
• If it still appears dim try going into a room with no windows and turn the lights off so it is completely dark.
• To get a bigger picture move the projector further away from whatever it is projecting on.
• To improve the quality project your image onto a white wall or projector screen so it will show up better if you don’t have either then you can easily make one by taping white paper to a cardboard box.
• If the screen is projected upside down turn the iPod/iPhone upside down in the box.

Thanks for viewing!


nancye53 (author)2017-06-09

Great instructables! I haven't tried this yet but I think he did a great job on! Remember this is a hack not a high quality projector so If it doesn't work perfect it's not his fault and anyone who comes on here saying negative things shouldn't be posting at all find something other to look at. A+!!!

Jdeast9 (author)2016-12-06

Did everything as per instructions, but got bright circle-- no image. Where exactly should (what app) the pic be displayed from? Tried from photos, from the camera app, from the pro camera app. Nothing but light. Moved the phone all the way up and all the way back. Nice and bright but no image. Does it matter if the glass is taped to the inside or outside of the box? Doesn't have to be sharp, just something I can trace.

Minecruzer99 (author)2016-11-30

Pen pineapple apple pen

LukasK55 (author)2016-11-06

I need some quick help. I made it and it works perfectly but its a little blurry. from any angle. any way to fix that? thank

TricksH8 (author)2016-10-13

How to make a projector for your iPod/iPhone

Athena Smith (author)2016-10-10

This is super cool

nickoenen (author)2014-01-25

Can someone who tried this and got at least a decent picture quality please let me know what strength their magnifying glass was. Thanks

SaskiaV1 (author)nickoenen2016-04-15

hi, do you remember what strenght you had to use? I want to make such projector as well but does not work with a 2x glass

ErikaH6 made it! (author)2015-10-12

This did not work for me at all. What gives? I was told a cheap magnifying glass would work fine and i got this from a convenience store and it still wont work. All holes are light-tight with duct tape, box is black inside, room is dark....still no luck. I get a cloud of light and nothing else. How am i expected to focus that? Advice anyone?

W01fbane (author)ErikaH62016-04-06

This was the same problem for me for a long time. I figured out all you need to do to fix it is place your phone closer to the lense. This worked for me.

ThasirR (author)ErikaH62015-11-18

i also have same problem bro nothing i can see do you have any suggestion

EllaB2 (author)ErikaH62015-11-18

I have the same problem. No picture at all.

riddlywalker (author)2016-03-13

Must try this with a pinhole- that would mean (a) the project cost goes to nothing at all, and (b) there will be no distortion from a cheap lens? - It could project onto a tracing paper screen from behind too....

JoyG12 (author)riddlywalker2016-03-21

In order to enjoy a large screen from iPad, i guess the other neat way is to mirror iPad/iPod to computer, in this way, you may also enjoy the large screen.

Darkflame70 (author)2014-11-30

I did everything required, flipped the phone over but the screen becomes flipped horizontaly. Do you know how to fix this? Thanks in advance!

riddlywalker (author)Darkflame702016-03-13

turn on 'lock screen' on an iPhone.

djbdiy (author)Darkflame702014-12-08

Turn off orientation lock:

Well...Turn your device upside down.

ZainH2 (author)2015-07-10

The words are backwards ... Anyone know how to fix this?

riddlywalker (author)ZainH22016-03-13

if the image is reversed by the lens, try bouncing the image off a mirror- projector to mirror to wall- you can also use this trick to double the distance available in the room to project a huge image.... I doubt if an iPhone is powerful enough to do that though, but it works great with old 35mms and digital.

Bryan DS (author)ZainH22015-09-22

For words to project property, you would aim the device away from the target screen and toward the back wall of the shoebox. At the back wall you need a mirror. I don't know if you magnify before or after the reflection, but I think it's before

Sambo134g (author)2015-04-13

Mine was insanely blurry and you couldn't tell at all what was projecting onto the wall. Any way to fix this??

ThisIsMyNameOK (author)Sambo134g2015-12-04

My first guess would be move the iPhone/iPod. It has to be the right distance from the magnifying lens to show up clearly. Just like focusing a camera/movie projector. (I know this was a few months ago, but just in case you still need to know, or someone else does.)

Annanah (author)Sambo134g2015-04-30

Put a peice of black paper at the bottom of the box

littlej33 (author)2015-03-04

i want to make it so bad. to bad right now my ipod is broken. it was out in the snow/mud/water for 1 week anybody know how to fix it?

Annanah (author)littlej332015-04-30

Put it in rice

yuzhengwen (author)Annanah2015-06-02

are u serious??

I know this was awhile ago but yes, Annanah was serious. Rice can be used in the same way as silica to draw moisture out of things. It is good for drying out small electronic devices. It might not fix it in a case like this where it's more than a little damp, but it's a good first step.

phillipcd (author)2015-06-03

a glasses lense would work, right?

Bhazoo (author)phillipcd2015-11-25


expertman (author)2015-09-17

Ok mine was good
atleast big but not clear and colourful even after using my laptop screen
magnifying lens are just not good. i have heard people using water as magnifying glass. Im gonna try those

IvyD2 (author)2015-08-19

MadhannathM (author)2015-07-18

i want the mm of magnifying glass please it is urgent

flyin_bye (author)2015-06-22

I don't have a magnifying glass. What can I use instead?

phillipcd made it! (author)2015-06-06

It works great! Thanks so much. Many fun days ahead...

phillipcd (author)phillipcd2015-06-06

p.s, I used clay instead of legos to make the iPod stand...

phillipcd (author)2015-06-03

That's so cool!

yuzhengwen (author)2015-06-02

I did it, but it is extremly super blur. Someone said to put black paper but it was still blur.

Sambo134g (author)2015-04-13

I love this instructable!!!!

jojo_unicorn (author)2014-11-22

Do I need to cover all my holes in my box?

EloiL (author)2014-11-19

Hi! Which magnification did you use to have a great render?

Best regards!

nelsnils (author)2011-12-03

Somebody needs to learn resourcefulness.
-Shoe box. If you don't have one ask a neighbour.
-A knife. You don't have a 5 dollar knife laying around?
-Duct tape. If you don't have one, you need one. But ask a neighbour anyway.
-Magnifying glass. 1-3 dollars, can be purchased from a neighbour.
-Marker. Really? Really? Really. You don't have a marker. You need one. Buy a cheap one for a dollar max.
-Legos. Get from ebay (100 pcs for a dollar max) or ask a neighbour (seeing a pattern?)
-Hot Glue Gun. Must-have. Bought one for 3 bucks and a hundred sticks of hot glue for another 3 bucks. (20 pack for 1buck)

Total: Free-$5.
Please be more resourceful, this is DIY, for pete's sake.

cassden12 (author)nelsnils2014-10-17

I agree with you

joshbot123 (author)nelsnils2011-12-23

no joking. why did he have to be a jerk the dude who made this is my brother

im3733 (author)nelsnils2011-12-13

Forget the legos, bend up a wire coat hanger, problem solved.

hot glue gun can be circumvented with a smaller hole, using friction (or tape) to hold the glass in place.

and the marker can be replaced with a pen/pencil/thumbtack/random nail that's laying around (all it has to do is make a mark in the cardboard, I've used each of those to make marks in wood, which is much harder than cardboard).

I ultimately agree with you, though, resourcefulness is a MUST on instructables.

vincent7520 (author)nelsnils2011-12-10

For Lilark, a cheaper alternative would be to use glue from a tube, any good glue would work.

Anyway one thing is certain if one follows nelsnils idea it would be great to have Lilark as a neighbor as he / she must have billions knives, duct tapes, markers, etc, left over as he / she only uses them once for each project !!…

iwoodinspire (author)nelsnils2011-12-04

Come on, Nelsnils and Lilark. I am impressed with the 47,000 views so far, how many do you have? :) The prices are all pretty high on his list, but still way less than any projector for sale that I've seen.  You could just take the idea and how-to knowledge, and build it for way less that this person did.  Not bad for a first instructable. At least he's made one before criticizing others'. This isn't youtube :)

nelsnils (author)iwoodinspire2011-12-04

I love this instructable!
I just don't like Lilark's lack of resourcefulness :|

iwoodinspire (author)nelsnils2011-12-04

Okay, just making sure! :) See you around

jdonor (author)nelsnils2011-12-04

Yeah... Obviously yall aren't from Texas. I think I have all these things except the magnifying glass in my dorm room. And you wouldn't need legos. Anything that can keep it up would work :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Sneakers, photography and more.
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