Who doesn’t love turning the lights down, popping some popcorn, settling into the sofa (with a blanket if it’s cold!) and watching a movie? It’s definitely one of life’s simple pleasures. Sometimes, though, you want a little more flexibility than your television can afford. Maybe you’d like to watch a movie in the backyard. Maybe in your hotel. You could take an iPad with you to these places, but they’re not that great for groups.
What if we told you that you can cobble together your very own movie (or anything else) projector for only a few bucks? It’s true! You just need a smartphone, a cardboard box, and a magnifying glass.
This clever trick isn’t perfect by any means. The darker the space you’re in, the better! And if you want to fully enjoy the experience, it helps to have a Bluetooth speaker to make sure the audio comes through loud and clear. Being able to plug in your phone is a bonus, too, as the necessary brightness level can chew through your battery pretty quickly. Still it’s a fun project, especially if you’ve got kids, since it’s pretty educational, too!
You’ll need a few things to get started: a magnifying glass, a cardboard box (something like a shoebox or small shipping box about the same size), some tape, a pen or pencil, a pair of scissors or box cutter, a paperclip, and, of course, your smartphone!
Step 1: Trace the magnifying glass on the side of the box to create a guide for you.
Step 2: Carefully cut the circle out. The magnifying glass should be snug in the hole and a smooth circle ensures less light leakage to worry about!
Step 3: Install the magnifying glass inside the box, securing it with tape. Use the tape to cover up any empty spaces around the magnifying glass.
Step 4: Poke a small hole in the back to allow your charging cable into the box.
Step 5: Crank that brightness!
Step 6: This one is essential. Because of the magic of optics, your image will be upside down. You’ll need to enable your phone’s rotation-lock feature to allow you to place your phone in upside down to counteract this.
On an iPhone, simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center, and look for the button with a circular arrow surrounding a lock. Tap it, make sure it turns white, and you’re good to go! On most modern Android devices, the process is practically identical (though somewhat inverted). Swipe down from the top of the screen to bring down your Notifications Shade, then swipe down again for the Settings Shade. You’ll see a button marked “Auto-Rotate.” Tap it to disable, and make sure it turns grey. Now you’re ready to rock!
Step 7: Use the paperclip to make a stand for your smartphone. You can follow this handy video.
Step 8: Place your phone inside the box with a video cued up. By moving the phone forward and backward inside the box, you’ll be able to set your focus on your “screen.”
Step 9: By screen, we mean whatever mostly flat surface you can find. Enjoy!
Here’s a video version so you can see all the steps in action.
Don’t forget to SHARE this fun project with your friends!