How to Make a Simple Homemade Projector For Kids

Updated February 21, 2017

Give your child a wondrous as well as educational experience by projecting luminous images onto her bedroom wall. Ideas for projections include stars and planets, her favourite cartoon characters, fairy lands and wild animals. A simple do-it-yourself projector can be easily built using a shoebox, a magnifying lens and a flashlight. Get your child involved in the construction and teach her about the science of light and magnification.

Paint the inside of the shoebox with a matt, black acrylic or tempera paint. Allow the paint to dry.

Trace the outline of a magnifying lens on the front-centre of the shoebox. Cut out the circle, using a craft knife.

Trace the outline of the back end of a flashlight handle on the back-centre of the shoebox. Cut out the circle, using a craft knife.

Set the magnifying lens in the corresponding hole and tape around the edge with electrical tape to hold the lens in place and to seal any light leaks.

Insert the handle of the flashlight into the other hole from the inside of the box so the flashlight head is butted against the inner shoebox wall and the light is aimed at the lens. If necessary, the flashlight head can be propped up with a piece of foam, a chunk of wood, a wad of putty or folded cardboard. Tape around the edge of the hole to seal any light leaks.

Splay out the arms of a binder clip. Tape the binder clip upside down, inside the shoebox, one inch away from the lens.

Place a transparency in the binder clip. Put the lid on the shoebox and aim it at the wall. Turn out the light and turn on the flashlight to project the image onto the wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Shoebox
  • Matt, black acrylic or tempera paint
  • Magnifying lens
  • Craft knife
  • Flashlight
  • Electrical tape
  • Binder clip
  • Image transparencies
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About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.