How to Build a Projector Screen Lens

Written by adam fonseca
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How to Build a Projector Screen Lens
Projector lenses can be made with a few common household items. (boy with transparency projector image by Pavel Losevsky from

Building your own projector and projector lens is a moderately easy process that can be completed with a few common household items. In order to project a video or image you will also need some sort of electronic video device, such as a camcorder or an iPod that features video playback. A small mirror can be used as your projection lens, and a blank white wall or curtain can be used as your projector screen.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small mirror
  • Video device
  • Cardboard
  • Tape or glue
  • Scissors
  • Magnifying glass

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  1. 1

    Use a magnifying glass or similar double-convex piece of glass as your projector lens. Be sure the lens is free of debris or damage before use. The magnifying glass will focus light through your projector tube much more adequately than a normal piece of glass.

  2. 2

    Cut and fold the cardboard into a small tube that will serve as the body of your projector lens. Glue or tape the cardboard into a tube form.

  3. 3

    Glue or tape your small mirror or magnifying glass on the end of your cardboard tube. Create a secure fit by using your fingers to nudge the glass into place while maintaining the cylindrical shape of the cardboard tube. If the lens is still loose cut the tub slit wider until you get a snug fit.

  4. 4

    Use the scissors to cut a hole in the cardboard directly above mirror's position. A larger hole will increase the size of the image to be projected.

  5. 5

    Play a video on your electronic video device on the opposite end of the projector tube so that an image is reflected on the mirror and through the hole in your cardboard.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are using a blank wall or large white curtain as your screen, you will need to make the hole in your projector tube quite large. Be sure to have multiple pieces of cardboard on hand in case you make a mistake in the cutting or taping process. Experiment with different video devices in order to determine which provides the best picture. If your image is too dark or unclear, try including a light bulb behind your video device to enhance picture quality.
  • When choosing the glass for your lens be sure that its edges are smooth and coated with a protective material. Do not use jagged or unfinished glass for your projector lens as this may cause injury when handling.

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