Dec. 2, 2023

DIY Smartphone Projector (for watching movies)

Published June 12, 2023, 6:20 a.m. by Jerald Waisoki

In this video we will be making a really well designed smartphone projector that stands head and shoulders above most others out there! It really is quite splendid.

The templates for the bellows can be found at the bottom of this page:


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hey everyone i'm matt and in this video

i'm going to be showing you how to make

a projector for your smartphone so you

can watch film's big screen on the wall

now as you can see it looks very vintage

and its design solves several usability

issues that plague most other smartphone

projectors out there

now before we get building this i'll

just show you how to make a simple

version just to explain the concept

so the simplest way to make a smartphone

projector is to take a shoebox and cut a

hole in the front for a magnifying glass

to fit into

now we can add a little support for the

phone and here i've got a little piece

of cardboard that's bent upwards for it

to be rested against this can just

simply be slotted inside and as you can

see it can slide forwards

and backwards now to mount the phone to

this i've just stuck some tape loops to

it so it's just a case of sticking it on

like so

now you can take it into a pitch black

room and point the magnifying glass

towards a wall and move the phone

forwards or backwards until the image

becomes sharp

but one thing you've probably noticed is

that it's upside down and that's because

the magnifying glass inverts the image

a partial way around this is to lock the

phone's rotation but doing this still

leaves it flipped horizontally meaning

that text is completely unreadable and

you can't do things like play games with

a gamepad or anything so while this is a

very simple project i think we can take

it one step further and make the

ultimate smartphone projector let's see

what we can do


so to make the main body of the

projector we need to get a piece of

craft cardboard and mark it down the

middle using a pen

now equal distance from this middle line

we can mark two outer sections

these can then be divided horizontally

into thirds and will later form the back

of the projector the bottom and the


so at this point we can take the lens

that we're going to use which i'll be

explaining more about later and place it

in the middle of the front third marking

around it with a pen

with that done we can now cut out some

right angle triangles branching out from

the horizontal lines

so before we fold this up to make the

main unit of the projector we need to

cut out the hole for the lens

if you're using scissors start in the

center and spiral outwards until you

reach the outer rim and can cut along it

alternatively you could also use a craft

knife which does generally give a neater


whilst we're at it we might as well cut

a little triangle on the back third and

this is for optionally mounting it onto

the wall if you wish

so with that all done it's time to fold

it up and to make this easier to do we

can use some scissors or the craft knife

to score very lightly along all of the

lines except the one going through the


these score lines might only have a very

shallow depth but it means that when we

use the side of the table to make the

folds it does a very clean job of it

the side tabs too can be folded inwards

and to keep them in place we can glue on

some pieces of cardboard

now to make mine doubly strong i used

some tape along the edges and because i

was feeling quite creative i followed

this up with some old wrapping paper to

give it a bit of a vintage look

now all projectors need some kind of

focusing system to ensure a sharp image

and to make one for hours what we need

are some dowels these are just plant

sticks and also some straws now this

might seem a bit of a puzzle at first

but it will start to make sense as the

design comes together so the first thing

to do is make some holes in the bottom

of the projector unit for the dowels to

fit into just one on each corner

so we'll just put one in like so

see as you can see there it's a little a

little bit stiff and that's

perfect so what we need to do now is

glue the straws into the corners and to

do this i'm going to use a

glue gun

now if you don't have a glue gun don't

worry just use what you have at hand and

even some strong tape would work

once all four straws are in place the

excess can be chopped off

now the dowels can be threaded through

and as you can see the straws are

supporting them so that they stay


so now what we need is a small mirror

now this one's made out of glass so i've

put some tape around the edges just to

make it a bit safer for fingers and this

can simply be slotted into the projector

and glued in place at a 45 degree angle

an easy way of making sure that this is

done accurately is by looking at one of

the straws and making sure its

reflection is perpendicular

and with that done we now need to make a

platform for the phone this can just be

a rectangular piece of cardboard with a

hole cut out in the middle for the

phone's screen to be seen through

it needs to have a hole in each corner

so that it can slot onto the dowels and

then be glued in place

when positioned on top the light shines

down from the phone bounces off the

mirror and out through the hole we made

for the lens which at this point can now

be added

now when you're choosing your lens it's

worth going with one that's bigger

rather than smaller as it will result in

a brighter image now i've got a

bi-convex lens which means that it's

curved on both sides which is exactly

the same type of lens found in most

magnifying glasses but there is another

thing you should take into account

and that is its focal length so this is

a 300 millimeter lens which happens to

be the same as in this magnifying glass

so you know i could use either of these

and it would result in exactly the same

image and if you want a bigger screen

you need to go with a lower focal length

value so say 200 millimeters versus 300

millimeters but it will result in a

dimmer screen because the light is being

spread further

so take your choice um it's a bit of

trade-off and a balance depending on

what you want but don't go too big

otherwise it's just going to be too dim

to see even in a dark room

so i'm going to go with a 300 millimeter

lens and it fits quite nicely in the

hole without any glue as it's quite

stiff but you might want to use a little

bit of glue um just to hold it in place

right so by now it's probably covered in

fingerprints so give it a quick wipe

just to make it crystal clear and with

that we are almost finished but there is

one last thing to do before it's

complete now as you can see the light

from the phone is free to travel down

bounce off the mirror and out through

the lens

but it's also free to travel out of the

sides here and that would make the

projected image quite washed out as some

of this light will leak out and land on

the image and it just wouldn't look good

so we need to block these sides and

prevent any light leakage and to do this

i've thought that we could do something

quite creative and mimic this old camera

now as you can see it's got a sort of

concertina around the lens which folds

on itself and can expand as required so

let's mimic this and make a set of


now this is made out of paper and it's

actually quite simple i've included some

templates for you to print off in the

description and once you have done so

you can cut off one of these sections

and fold the zigzag line between your

fingers like so

this makes it able to fold into a sort

of concertina and this has given us one

of the corners

so to make the section in between the

corners we can print off another

template which i've also included in the

description and fold it over itself like

so sort of like making a fan

this can then be stuck to one of the

corners and you can use this method to

gradually build up your full bellows


this is white which isn't as good at

blocking light so we need to

get some paint and make it pitch black

on both sides and with that done you

should have something that looks like


now this can then be fitted around the


and stuck in place with some

double-sided tape and it also needs to

be attached at the top and bottom as


so with that the ultimate smartphone

projector is now complete and it can be

hung onto the wall what do you reckon

i think that looks pretty good so once

you're playing a film of your choosing

you can put the phone on top of the

bellows and adjust it up or down until

the image becomes sharp on the opposite

wall it does of course need to be pitch

black when you do this and the phone's

screen should be at maximum brightness

but the image quality is surprisingly

decent and of course thanks to the

mirror it's not flipped anymore which

makes it much more usable if you have a

bluetooth gamepad you can even play


and of course because the phone is just

lying on top it's easy to pick it up

again if you get a call other things you

can do with it include replacing the

phone with a piece of tracing paper

which basically inverts the whole system

allowing you to see a projected image of

reality a bit like a camera this is yet



of this design as you wouldn't be able

to have this kind of fun with the

shoebox variety

you can even have fun with some stencil

projections by shining a light through a

cutout which will then appear on the


pretty good fun so i hope you've enjoyed

this video it's been again a blast to


don't forget to subscribe and like and

all that good stuff

but other than that i'm matt you've been

watching diy perks and i hope i see you

next time goodbye for now



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