Introduction: Customizable, Interchangeable Nightlight Projector

Kids love anything that creates light in the dark. Here is an inexpensive way to create a fun nightlight projector for kids to enjoy. It’s customizable — you can make any design that you want to project. And it’s interchangeable — you can attach multiple projector designs.


Paper towel tube
Cereal box
Cup (or any item with a circumference slightly larger than a paper towel tube)
Hole puncher
Clasp envelope
Craft paper (to decorate)
Battery operated light

Step 1: Create Outline for the Projector Slides

-Use a pencil to trace the bottom of a cup, or another round object that has a slightly larger circumference than a paper towel tube onto the cereal box.
-Then, add converging, tangential lines from the circle to create a teardrop-like shape.
-Cut out the shape, and trace it on the cereal box to make four more teardrops. Cut out each shape.

Step 2: Create Base for the Slides

-Trace the bottom of the paper towel tube onto the middle of each of teardrop shapes.
-Then draw 4 intersecting lines along the diameter of the circle on one of the teardrop shapes as though you were slicing a pizza into 8 slices.
-Fold the teardrop shape lengthwise to cut the lines to form triangles. Now, push the triangles down through the circle.
-Slide the shape onto the paper towel tube from the bottom to the top.

Step 3: Create Designs on Projector Slides

I made a heart, a geometric cutout, and the letter T, but feel free to make whatever designs you like.

-Fold the teardrops in half lengthwise and draw half of a heart and half of a T as pictured and cut it out. Make sure to keep the designs within the circle traced from the paper towel tube.
-For the geometric cutout, fold it in half lengthwise and crosswise to cut the middle, and open it back up to the lengthwise fold to make the outer cuts. I just did freeform cuts to create the design

Step 4: Decorate

-Trim the craft paper to fit the paper towel tube and glue it onto the tube.
-Trace the final teardrop shape onto the craft paper. Cut it out and glue the paper onto the shape. This will be the top to cover the slides when not in use.

Step 5: Assemble the Projector Slides

-Punch holes into the top of each teardrop shape.
-Remove the clasp from the envelope, bend the prongs on the clasp downward, insert it through each of the punched holes, and bend the clasp outward under the base to secure the slides.

Step 6: Insert Light Source

-Secure a battery operated light source into the bottom of the paper towel tube.
-I would ideally use a battery operated tea light, or put a flashlight in the tube. However, in the pictures I am just using the flashlight that I have on my phone.

Get creative, and enjoy the light show!

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge