How to make a projector for a science project

Written by michelle labbe
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How to make a projector for a science project
Make a simplified slide projector with materials you have around the house. (Work presentation image by Rido from

The science of optics and vision provides an eye-catching basis for a science project. A project that's all about vision and perception can give your audience members a chance to interact with the project and see for themselves the scientific principles at work. Building your own slide projector is a cheap and effective visual science project, using light and magnifiers to focus, enlarge and project a small image onto a larger screen. Build the projector out of simple, cost-effective materials, offer demonstrations, and you're sure to please the crowd.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Flashlight
  • Tissue paper
  • Rubber bands
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Electrical tape
  • Old slides (optional)
  • Clear plastic sheet
  • Markers
  • Magnifying glass
  • Small round mirror (optional)
  • Hot glue gun (optional)

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  1. 1

    Cover the top of the flashlight with tissue paper. Wrap the paper around the top and secure with rubber bands.

  2. 2

    Cut a U-shaped piece of cardboard with the opening roughly the same length and width as the top of the flashlight. Cut a second U-shaped piece of cardboard with a narrower opening on all three sides. Glue the pieces together.

  3. 3

    Tape the cardboard to the top of the flashlight, with the opening facing up and the larger opening against the tissue paper covering the flashlight.

  4. 4

    Insert slides into the cardboard holder. Alternatively, you can make your own simple slides by drawing on transparent sheets with coloured markers.

  5. 5

    Hold a magnifying glass in front of your new projector to enlarge the image. Turn the flashlight on, and point it at a blank wall to project the slide image onto the wall.

  1. 1

    Make a more permanent slide projector with this advanced edition of the project. Cut four rectangles of cardboard a little smaller than the diameter of your magnifying glass. Use a hot glue gun to assemble the cardboard rectangles into a box with open ends. Tape the sides with electrical tape to ensure no light escapes.

  2. 2

    Hot-glue the magnifying glass to one end of the cardboard enclosure. Tape up any gaps around the glass and the cardboard with electrical tape to ensure no light escapes.

  3. 3

    Hot-glue a small make-up mirror to a scrap of cardboard, and affix inside the other end of the enclosure, facing up towards the top, at a 45-degree angle to the magnifying glass. Secure in place with hot glue.

  4. 4

    Cut a hole in the top of the enclosure at the back wide enough to mount the flashlight and slide holder. The slide holder and the slide image should face towards the enclosure and the magnifying glass. Secure with tape.

  5. 5

    Turn the flashlight on to project the image. Now the structure is self-contained and can be operated without having to hold the flashlight or magnifying glass.

Tips and warnings

  • For the cardboard assembly, make sure all gaps and cracks where light could escape are sealed with electrical tape.
  • Use caution when working with the hot glue gun.

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