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




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

About: Sneakers, photography and more.

In this instructable I'm going to teach you how to build a projector that will work with your iPhone or iPod.

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.

Please vote for me in the shopbot challenge!!

Step 1: Supplies

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

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:

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:

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

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!

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!

Hack It! Challenge

Finalist in the
Hack It! Challenge

2 People Made This Project!


  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest
  • Creative Misuse Contest

    Creative Misuse Contest
  • Metalworking Contest

    Metalworking Contest

143 Discussions

I followed all instructions but no luck. There is no image on the wall, just a blurred light (from the smartphone through the lens). What could have gone wrong? Any specifications for the lens? I bought an ordinary lens (3X) from the stationary store.

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+!!!

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.

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

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

1 reply

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

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....

1 reply

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

3 replies

3 years ago

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

2 replies

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.

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

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

1 reply

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.)