DIY Art Projector

Written by hurt rockles
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DIY Art Projector
(Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Opaque image projectors allow users to transfer a small image to a larger surface by projecting the smaller image onto a wall where the user can then trace the image. Essentially, it's just a box with a mirror and bright light inside and a lens on the outside that you can put on top of a picture. These instructions allow you to choose the size of your projector; it's best to make the projector large enough to hold an 8-by-12-inch image inside.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • One standard 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood
  • One copy machine or enlarger lens (55mm will suffice)
  • Small power saw
  • Tin can
  • Black acrylic spray paint
  • Rectangular front surface mirror small enough to fit inside the box
  • Two 23 watt fluorescent light bulbs
  • Two ceramic light sockets
  • Hand drill
  • Aluminium foil
  • 8 to 12 screws
  • Wood glue
  • Two piano hinges or comparable small hinges

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    Prepare Materials

  1. 1

    Paint the back of the mirror with black paint. Set the mirror aside and allow it to dry for several hours. Don't skip this step; the black paint will keep the mirror from reflecting a distorted image.

  2. 2

    Cut the plywood into your chosen dimensions using a circular saw or smaller power saw. You will be cutting six individual pieces for assembly; the back of the projector consists of two pieces connected with a hinge, and the higher will connect to the top piece at a 45-degree angle. The bottom of your projector will remain open so you can place the projector over an image.

  3. 3

    Cut a circular hole with small power saw to fit the lens in the middle of the front piece of the projector.

  4. 4

    Make four small holes near the centre of each of the two side pieces.

    Projector Assembly

  1. 1

    Attach the two back pieces together with the hinges, making sure they will join the rest of the projector box at a 45-degree angle.

  2. 2

    Attach all sides of the projector together, using the drill and screws. You might need to make adjustments to ensure the back can join the top and side pieces while maintaining its 45-degree angle.

  3. 3

    Install the ceramic light switches inside your projector on the upper-front corners of the two sides. Give yourself enough room to put reflectors above the lights.

  4. 4

    Using a bit of wood glue, attach two rectangular pieces of aluminium foil to the top of the projector above the light sockets. Make sure the pieces are just wide enough to extend out to the tip of the bulbs. Attach the centre of the pieces, but let the ends curl down to catch more light. Put a piece of clear tape over the foil to let the glue set overnight, but remember to remove the tape before using the projector.

  5. 5

    Screw the light bulbs into the sockets. Test the brightness by putting the projector over an image. If the image is to dim, you can try brighter bulbs.

Tips and warnings

  • If you need help choosing dimensions, try scanning the illustrations of the helpful pdf "How to Make an Opaque Projector."
  • If you use wood glue, remember to give it 24 hours to set properly.

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