Picture of Image projector
Screen shot 2011-02-25 at 20.05.07.png
I set out to make an image projector that could be made from bits and pieces laid around the home.It allows you to draw (or print) images/text on transparency sheets and have them projected onto a wall/ceiling/whatever.

You can project as big or small as you like. For a bigger projection, move the projector away from the wall. Bare in mind that the further away you are, the fainter the image will be. Projecting onto shiny surfaces doesn't work so well, if you're not projecting too big then you can just stick a large piece of paper onto the wall and project onto that.

What you need (this isn't an exact science, you can swap bits out with whatever you have laying around:
20" length of 2x2
A magnifying glass (or camera lens, fresnel lens, magnifying sheet, anything that magnifies really)
A torch or bulb with minimal fittings
Sticky back velcro
Rubber bands

The design might seem stupidly simple, and it is. But it didn't start there. It was originally more complex and I kept cutting back at it until it could literally be made by anyone with anything laying around the house.

The images on this intro show the finished project. It's projecting a hand drawn image of Mario. 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Test and measure

Picture of Test and measure
Start by drawing something small and simple on your transparency sheet. Turn on your light source and point it at your magnifier which should be placed about 14" away. The magnifying glass should be facing a white wall about 20" away. Now move your transparency sheet  between the light source and the magnifier. You should see it projected onto the wall! Move things around until everything's in focus and take a rough mental note of the distances between each item. 

I tested with a macro camera lens, a canon 33mm DSLR lens and a magnifying glass, All worked perfectly fine. I also tested with a few different bulb types. I settled with a Philips spot light style bulb since it focuses the light in one direction. 
rbeckham1 year ago
THANK YOU! I have been searching online for an hour for a simple, inexpensive projector for an art project I have in mind. "Simple" and "projector" don't often sit side by side in a sentence Every projector I came across was for streaming video, had lots of circuits and had never heard the word "budget." I am quite literally letting out a sigh of relief at finding your instructable, my little art project is saved and I also found a great, educational activity to do with my son. Thank you.
laxman1662 years ago
which type of lens i will need ?
concave or convex can use a convex lens...or its better you go in fr a magnifying glass...keep smilin
joe229872 years ago
i need the image to be bigger what should i do??
renet1234 years ago
i could see this projecting an image onto the side of my house for the holidays.. or Halloween.. or just for fun.. (just like zazenergy said)
esrun (author)  renet1234 years ago
Heya, I recently made a new version which is more adjustable and uses a halogen spotlight. The brightness of this would be perfect for projecting onto the side of your house. I could imagine a big bright red santa or something! This is the link -
zazenergy4 years ago
This looks like a really fun project. I can imagine seeing this used at an art show or party. Thanks!
derte844 years ago
I think I'll try to apply your idea "I'd like to add a spinning wheel so that multiple images can be projected, one after the over, create a basic animation effect." to my instructable (
esrun (author)  derte844 years ago
Great! Let me know how it goes!

Our projects are very similar. Although you use a stock Ikea light, the principle is the same.

I actually intend to switch from the light bulb to the LED torch and add an enclosure. This should be done tomorrow I imagine.

I'm off to Japan in a few days so the wheel will have to wait until I get back since it's going to be a bit trickier. I'd also like to print the animations for that rather than draw.

Good luck :)