How to enlarge a picture with a homemade projector

Written by mason howard
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How to enlarge a picture with a homemade projector
Save money with a homemade projector. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Build a homemade projector largely with simple, household items. Making a homemade projector is a fun, educational project to do with the whole family, and kids will delight at the illuminated and wondrous images displayed before them on the wall. A simple projector is also useful if you are an artist and want to enlarge and trace an image on a canvas or a piece of paper, and don't have access to digital projector.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Matt, black craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Magnifying lens
  • Craft knife
  • Electrical tape
  • Flashlight
  • Binder clip
  • Image transparencies

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  1. 1

    Paint the interior walls, lid and floor of a shoebox with matt, black craft paint.

  2. 2

    Measure and mark the centre of one of the ends of the shoebox. Center a magnifying lens over the mark and trace its outline. Cut out the traced circle with a craft knife.

  3. 3

    Measure and mark the centre of the other end of the shoebox. Centre the butt of a torch on the mark, trace the outline and cut out the circle.

  4. 4

    Insert the magnifying lens into the first hole. Tape around the perimeter of the lens to connect it to the box and to seal light leaks, using electrical tape.

  5. 5

    Insert the handle of the torch into the other hole, from the inside of the box so the base of the torch head is flush against the wall of the box.

  6. 6

    Place a small chunk of wood, foam or cardboard under the head of the torch to hold it up and point it at the lens. Tape the chunk to the bottom of the box.

  7. 7

    Tape around the torch handle where it comes out of the hole to hold it in place and to seal light leaks.

  8. 8

    Tape a binder clip to the bottom of the box by its wire arms, 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the lens. Position the binder clip so it is parallel with the box end.

  9. 9

    Print the desired images on transparencies. Size the images to be approximately the size of a celluloid cell or a 35mm (8 inch) slide. Insert the bottom edge of a transparency into the jaws of the binder clip. Position the image upside down and backward.

  10. 10

    Turn off the lights and turn on the torch. Place the lid on the shoebox and point the lens toward a wall. Move the projector back and forth until the image comes into focus.

Tips and warnings

  • To create a more attractive, long-lasting projector, forgo the shoebox and instead build the box out of wood.
  • Use a strong torch for bright, clearly visible projections.

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