Introduction: Cardboard Vr From Toy

build a Google cardboard like virtual reality viewer from an old 3d picture viewing toy.

You can probably find one of these viewers at a garage sale or local thrift shop. I found this one at Good Will for


Other items used:

Hot glue gun and glue

Hair scrunchie

Wooden bead

Foam packing material


Ca to knife

Hack saw

Step 1: Find a 3d Viewer

look for a 3d viewer with eye holes failrly far apart.

Also, find one that has a short distance between the lenses and the viewing medium ( should be a focal length of about 1.5 inches.

Step 2: Take Off the Back

Remove the back of the viewer. Some of the viewers can be separated by prying the back off with a flat screwdriver. Other models have small Phillips screws holding the back on. Remove the back and all the innards as well. You may wish to keep those parts for other projects, but just need the front for the viewer.

Step 3: Dry Fit to Your Phone Size With Foam Packing Material

this step involves packing the hollow part of the viewer with foam packing material. I used the stuff out of a blu ray DVD player I got for my pic. You want to build up a hole so you can see your phone screen focused through the lenses and level for both eyes centered both vertically and horizontally. I tucked some thinner pieces between some of the plastic posts to keep them in place temporarily. What you should end up with is two sides about 1.5 inches tall that support the sides of the phone in landscape mode so it is held away from the lenses. The bottom pads just need to provide spacing so the screen is centered vertically when placed in the viewer.

Use scotch tape to keep foam in place while dry fitting the phone to the viewer.

Place the phone in the viewer once the foam is in place to ensure proper fit.

Hold the phone in place and view it through the lenses to ensure proper focus and field of view is centered

Use a Vr app such as Google cardboard to see Vr images.

Adjust as needed by cutting foam to need size and shape to hold phone in position.

Step 4: Glue Foam in Place

Hot glue the foam pieces to the plastic viewer and to other foam pieces until you have a support structure like the one pictured.

Be careful to not burn yourself or anything else as the glue gun and glue can burn skin.

Wait until glue is completely cooled and set before placing phone back in viewer for testing.

Step 5: Safety Strap

A feature I recommend is adding a safety strap to keep the phone in place.

I used an elastic hair band and a wooden bead for the strap. The viewer model I found has a slot at the top that can be used to fasten one end of the elastic band. First the band needs a stopper on one end. I used a wooden bead and a small rubber band to tie the bead to one end of the hair band. I then tied the hair band to the slot on the top of the viewer.

I then cut a slot in the middle bottom of the viewer that extend into the battery compartment. Make sure the battery compartment cover is removed first. The compartment will hold the bead in place so the strap will stay secure.

To secure the phone, place it in the viewer on the foam platform you have built. Pull the bead of the strap down over the back of the phone and thread the ban through the slot at the bottom of the viewer. Press the bead into the battery compartment to secure it. Reverse steps to remove phone

Step 6: Enjoy Vr

Once the viewer is configured to fit your phone you can just hold it to your face to view many cool Vr demos and videos and some games. Android seems to have the most apps so far. I like the sbsviewer for watching videos as it has a number of sizes to choose from. I also enjoy the FIBRUM apps,

I didn't add a trigger to this viewer. There are some apps that need one and I just use a magnet in my hand to tap the phone. Feel free to devise a trigger if you need one. Let me know if you come up with a cool one!