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5 DIY Projector Plans You Can Make Today

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family watching together using projector

Do you want to make your own projector for family movie night? Whether you’re looking for a fun weekend project using your phone or building something a bit more in-depth, here are three full-blown projector plans for you to choose from, along with two DIY projector screen options.

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Top 5 DIY Projector Plans

1. Cardboard Box Phone Projector

Materials: Magnifying glass, shoebox, foam board, glue sticks, PVA glue, and a smartphone
Tools: XACTO knife, hot glue gun, hacksaw, and a ruler
Difficulty Level: Easy

This is the most common type of projector that you can build yourself. This cardboard box phone projector doesn’t have the highest quality, but you can complete it for under $20! Whether it’s practicing and learning science skills with the kids or a way to kill an hour or two, it’s a fun project all around.


2. LCD Projector

Materials: 10W LED and driver, glue, heatsink, plastic box, 12V computer fan, LCD Display, 12V adapter, USB speakers, power socket, two 5” or 7” Fresnel lenses, power switch, 3 RCA female outlet jack connector socket, 90mm magnifying lens, and four 70mm magnifying lens
Tools: Screwdriver
Difficulty Level: Medium

Consider this LCD projector if you want to build something with quality. There are many parts for the kit that you’ll need to order, but you should be able to get everything you need for less than $50.

Even better, when you’re done, you’ll have a projector that you can use for various occasions. While you’ll need various materials to build this projector, the only tool that you need is a screwdriver!


3. Mini Pocket Projector

Materials: DLP2000 micromirror, raspberry pi, insulation tape, and audio device (optional)
Tools: Computer and soldering gun
Difficulty Level: High

There’s just something so appealing about having a compact projector. Having one that you built yourself makes it even better. This mini pocket projector is exactly that.

It’ll cost about $150 to get everything that you need, but you will get high-quality results with a projector that you can hook up just about anywhere. It’s a complicated setup, but there’s a comprehensive video that will walk you through everything that you need to do!


4. The Projector Screen

Materials: Primer paint, paint, wooden pieces cut to size, white paper or blackout cloth, wood glue, nails or screws, staples, tape, black border trim, sandpaper, corner braces, marker or pencil, and anchors or hooks
Tools: Measuring tape, hammer, screwdriver, and a staple gun
Difficulty Level: Medium

While you can use your new projector to display your show on just about anything, it’s best to have a projector screen if you want even better results. This is an affordable way to get your own projector screen, and you can customize it to any size that you want.

Just keep in mind that it doesn’t break down well, so once you build it, you need to have somewhere to store it. Still, it’s a great blank canvas!


5. Easy Teardown and Setup Projector Screen

Materials: Five 1.5” 10’ PVC pipes, six 1.5” PVC pipe elbows, eight 1.5” PVC pipe T-joints, white black-out shade, black duct tape, adhesive fabric fastener
Tools: PVC pipe cutter
Difficulty Level: Easy

If you’re looking for a projector that’s super easy to transport, consider this project from Home Depot. There’s a step-by-step guide that breaks down exactly how to build this complete projector screen, and it’s also easy to take down and set back up for movie nights!

Even better, you only need one tool to build it (a PVC pipe cutter), and the exact dimensions are laid out for everything else. Building this DIY projector screen couldn’t be easier!


What Can I Use Instead of a Magnifying Glass?

Maybe you don’t have a magnifying glass on hand, or perhaps you want to try something different. While a magnifying glass is one of the easiest ways to make your own projector, it’s not the only way.

You can take a stab at making your own with a bottle of water and scissors. Don’t expect the same quality results, but sometimes, it’s simply fun to see what you can make out of different materials!

Can You Use a Sheet as a Projector Screen?

Sure! Ideally, you want a plain white sheet but gray can work too. You want to hang the sheet and try to get it as tight as possible for the best results.

You can also project directly onto a wall, and white or gray walls work best. It’s up to you how much effort you want to put into the screen and what level of results that you’ll be happy with.

How Can I Make a Full HD Projector at Home?

Yes, but the price is going to be much higher, and it’s going to take much more effort. Still, there’s no denying the high-quality results!

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Final Thoughts

Whether it’s a projector or something simpler, making something yourself adds an extra element to the project that nothing else can match.

Hopefully, after going through the different plans here, you can find something suitable for your needs and get your next projector done in no time!


Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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