How to Make a Simple Homemade Projector

Written by heather jones
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How to Make a Simple Homemade Projector
Cardboard should be painted black before being used as a projector. (carton sur fond noir image by Unclesam from

A homemade projector is an affordable way to watch your favourite movies on a theatre-size screen. Buying a projector from a store can range from £162 to £260. Making your own projector at home with around-the-house items will cost much less -- or nothing at all. With an old tube television, Fresnel lens, a few accessories and a blank wall you can create a home theatre that whole home family will enjoy. It should take less than an hour to build your simple homemade projector. You can make the project more fun by gathering a few friends or family to help you.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tube television
  • Fresnel lens
  • Duct tape
  • Cardboard
  • White sheet
  • Black paint
  • Scissors
  • Drawing compass

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  1. 1

    Measure the television screen's width and height inside the border. Do not include the television's border as part of your measurement.

  2. 2

    Cut a piece of cardboard the same width and height of the screen.

  3. 3

    Draw a 17-cm circle on the centre of the cardboard with a compass. Cut the hole out using scissors.

  4. 4

    Paint the whole piece of cardboard black. Duct tape a Fresnel lens to the piece once the paint has dried.

  5. 5

    Cut four additional pieces of cardboard. Two should be cut the same width as the television screen. Two should be cut as wide as the television screen's height. Each piece of cardboard should be cut 45-cm long.

  6. 6

    Paint the four pieces black, allowing the paint to dry afterward. Tape the pieces together to form a tube in the shape of a box. Secure all edges and corners with duct tape.

  7. 7

    Attach the tube to the television screen with duct tape. The box should be connected so that it projects outward and the light from the television screen goes through it. Run tape from the top and bottom of the tube to the top and bottom of the television for support.

  8. 8

    Slide the cardboard with the Fresnel lens attached to it inside the tube frame, adjacent to the television screen, at midway point. Make sure it sits snugly before moving on. If it doesn't, you will have to cut another cardboard piece for the lens with the correct measurements.

  9. 9

    Turn the television set upside down. The Fresnel lens is designed to flip the screen image upside down so inverting the TV will bring it right side up.

  10. 10

    Connect your movie playing device to the television set and turn it on. Face the projector towards a blank wall to see the image from the television project onto the wall. Move the television forward or backward to adjust the size of the projection on the wall. Adjust the lens' position inside of the cardboard tube until the image on the wall is focused.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not turn the television set upside down until it has been off for at least twelve hours. Turning it upside down any earlier can cause damage to the screen image.
  • Hang a white sheet over the blank wall to make a better screen for the wall projection.

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