How to make a movie projector

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As an important way to kill your leisure time, watching movies can be a good choice for you. Have ever expected to spend a wonderful night at home in watching a fantastic Marvel movie with a lot of snacks at hand? That sounds quite exciting, doesn’t it? But, how to present the cinema-like movie watching experience? Just as you know, watching movies in a cinema mainly outweighs in its giant screen and wonderful audio equipment. Therefore, is it possible to enjoy the cinema-like movies at home? Well, I should say it is entirely possible when you have prepared a superior home projector which can allow you to project the pictures to a big screen. Now here comes a question. Is it possible to obtain a home projector? Well, it is definitely possible if you prepare enough money. If you don’t want to spend a large sum money on it, what would you do? Yes, you can DIY a movie project at home. How to make a movie projector? Today let’s have a discussion on how to make your own movie projector.

Part 1: how to make a movie projector?

How to make a movie projector at home? Here, you will need the help of some additional tools and a smartphone in order to obtain the movie projector experience. The materials you will need are: magnifying Lens, foam board, a smartphone, a glue stick, PVA glue and a shoebox. Besides, you may also need a sharp Knife, a hot glue gun, a hacksaw and a ruler. Now I will list the detailed steps on how to make a homemade movie projector.

Step 1. Cut the handle of the magnifying glass with your hacksaw.

Step 2. Reinforce the corner and the flaps of the shoebox with PVA glue to keep it from wriggling.

Step 3. Reinforce the corner and the flaps of the shoebox with PVA glue to keep it from wriggling.

How to make a movie projector

Step 4. Cut the hole on top of the shoebox and place the lens into the hole with your hot glue gun to make it more sticky and steady.

How to make a movie projector

Step 5.Make a stand inside of the shoebox for your smartphone. Here you can use a form board and make sure it is perpendicular from the base.

How to make a movie projector

Step 6.Tap your smartphone on the stand. Pay attention, you should put your phone on the right position on the stand which is equally parallel to the lens.

How to make a movie projector

Step 7.Set your phone to the highest brightness and prepare the movie you plan to play.

Step 8.Find an empty wall, adjust the lens, turn off your light and enjoy the movie.

How to make a movie projector

Part 2: Disadvantages of a homemade movie projector

By referring to the above steps, maybe it is not very difficult for you to make a movie projector at home. However, this could be regarded as a “so called” homemade movie projector which has a lot of disadvantages. One of the biggest limitations and advantages is that it is not clear enough even you are not able to recognize the movie screen correctly. It is quite blurry. Secondly, the movie projector is made of a shoebox and only a smartphone can be used as the media player which also presents to have a lot of limitations. Thirdly, due to the limitation of the external media device, the output sound is very weak. Furthermore, the maximum projecting distance is very limited which is not allowed to be used for the official usage.

Part 3: Best player software for a real movie projector

Without doubts, now you have clearly known how to make your own movie projector. But just as mentioned above, there are so many advantages and limitation left for a homemade movie projector. If you have enough money, you are strongly recommended to buy a real movie projector. If you are in a budget, you can refer to our previous post about best movie projectors under $500.

Therefore, in the real case, in order to present the best movie watching experience, you have to select an excellent media player. Here you can turn your eyes to Leawo Blu-ray Player which can provide you the best solution for the movie you’ve got. It can support the movie in various formats, including Blu-ray, DVD, UHD (4K), ISO file and AVI, MPEG, WMV, ASF, FLV, MKV/MKA and so on.

Leawo Free Blu-ray Player

☉ 100% free movie player for Mac users to play Ultra HD 4K, 1080P and 720P video for free.

☉ Free Blu-ray disc player to play 4K Blu-ray disc and 1080P Blu-ray disc, regardless of disc protection and region code.

☉ Support multiple audio decoding systems like Dolby, DTS, AAC, TrueHD, DTS-HD, etc.

☉ Adjust subtitles, video and audio during media playback.

With advanced image and audio processing technology, Leawo Free Blu-ray Player software could provide you quality-lossless image for even 4K video, stereo audio enjoyment, all regions free DVD decryption and user-oriented playback control. Thus, you can enjoy the superior quality in both audio and video. After downloading the player and installing on your computer, you can directly drag your desired movie to the main interface for playing. In order to obtain the customized watching experience, you can have more player settings. You only need to click on the drop-down menu panel on the top right which includes Playback, File Associations, Audio Output, DVD Blu-ray etc.

I Love this post-vacation life hack from my contributing writer today! We were just showing photos from our recent vacation and it was tough to share via the phone so we needed to come up with a different idea! Hope this inspires you to DIY a solution for yourself, too!

I just came back from a trip and really wanted to show the best that these pictures we’ve taken can give. That small phone screen was showing colors beautifully. Yet, it was all about the details that were so hardly visible”. This is how you may realize that you need a movie projector that can connect to your smartphone. There are plenty available in stores, but there’s also the DIY version that can save you time and money.

Looking at an image, a video or even a movie from your smartphone on a big screen might sound tempting. It has all the right reasons to be so, if you can solve this in your home. This DIY hack will turn your phone in a movie projecting tool in an hour. You will need just a few tools to make this super simple movie projector. How to make a movie projector

Get Prepared for the DIY Movie Projector

You need around five to ten minutes to read this article and learn how to make a projector for your phone. Putting pieces together lasts around 60 minutes. Here are the tools you need:

Shoe box or any other box larger than your phone and taller than how wide your phone is.

Duct tape or glue.

Round magnifying glass. If it has a handle, you will need to cut it.

How to Make a DIY Movie Projector in 7 Steps

Prepare the box by gluing or adding duct tape to the interior of the box. This way, you reinforce the flaps and corners and it will not wiggle when in use. Let it dry for 15 minutes.

Place the lens on top of your box, while it’s uptight. Center it as much as possible. Then, draw its cut line with the pencil, to mark the spot.

Cut the box by following the trace you’ve made above. Here’s a trick to make the cut as accurate as possible – place the cutting knife at the end of a compass and create a round hole.

Position the lens before gluing or taping it, to make sure the hole matches the magnifying glass. There must be no unused space, to avoid light entering the box.

Glue or tape the lens to the box. Check again if there’s any light leakage. For image clarity purposes, we recommend duct tape instead of glue, as it has more stability.

Make the phone stand and place it inside the box. You can create a phone stand out of plastic, cards, wood and many other materials. However, the easiest is the one from paper clips.

Adjust the phone before using it. Once you place your smartphone in the box and play a video, you will see that the image is reverted and unfocused. Enhance brightness to the maximum. Then, move the box forward or backwards to focus the image. Reorient the image by reverting the phone, using an app or personalized settings (available only on iOS).

Personalizing Your DIY Movie Projector

If you enjoy you new movie projector and plan to use it on the long run, you can personalize it with just a few hacks. If your box has a lid, you will need to cut it when placing it back, instead of turning the box upside down. Make sure the lens is fully visible through the lid.

Moreover, you can have an artistic projector by using a wooden box that you can paint fresh. Personalize the box by painting its exterior and even adding stickers. The phone stand can also be wooden and color-match the box.

The movie projector is functional for movies or TV shows if you don’t forget to charge your phone. You can do this while you’re at the above step 2. When you draw and cut the hole for the lens, make sure you also cut a very small one at the opposite end. This will be the hole you use for your phone charger wire.

Using Your DIY Movie Projector

Remember that you need a dark room for watching videos or pictures through a projector.

The image is best visible on a white wall with no colorings or decorative paintings. If you have any, remove them before using the projector. If you only cover them, you might end up with a weird image.

If your walls are colored, place a white sheet on the wall where you project the image.

Clean your phone screen before starting a movie and you will enjoy clear and generously colored images. The DIY projector may sound sci-fi before you learn how to create it. However, then you will notice that you get maximum results with minimum tools. The images are anything but pixelated or blurry, while the movie atmosphere is visible in your home.

You don’t need to empty your wallet or spend an entire day preparing to watch a good movie or your vacation pictures. The above DIY hack requires just a few dollars and tools you already have. Once the projector is completed, you will enjoy taking pictures and making videos even more.

Making a custom projector screen yourself is completely achievable. Building your screen is like creating an artist’s canvas, it’s a blank slate. Making it stand or hang up any way you want is an art form anyone can perfect with Carl’s Place. We’re a team of DIY experts and we have you covered as you make your big screen dreams come true.

We’re here for you whether you’re screening (your!) movies in your basement, creating a game room you’ll practically live in (no judgment here!), making an affordable screen for the congregation, or a large portable backyard screen for an event.

You’ve come to the right place. Get started on the right foot by reading how to make a projector screen for your specific needs.

In other words… definitely try this at home.

How to make a movie projector


Looking for a projector screen for your home theater? One that looks custom-made to match the rest of your decor? We can help! Using a piece of one of our raw projector screen materials, you can build a frame, stretch and staple the screen surface to it, and then finish it off to get the perfect high-end screen for your theater or living room.

Before you start, select the right projector screen material for you. This will help you choose between more flexible, tension-mounted material and a non-tensioned, thicker, stiffer material. Some materials are easier than others to install so keep that in mind when selecting it.

If you’re interested in seeing a step-by-step how-to for building a projector screen, here are a couple of customer-made videos that accomplish that using different techniques: the wrap technique for a fixed frame screen and the non-wrap technique for a fixed frame screen. Keep in mind there’s no single, right way to do it. Make the screen that fits your space and do it how you like! Our flexible materials like FlexiWhite or ALR are perfect for stretching to a wood frame. Their elastic nature means that they are more forgiving to imperfect tension. Stiffer materials like ProWhite or ProGray aren’t quite as easy to get perfectly flat, but when done well they produce amazing results.

Get further inspired by our testimonials section and see firsthand how to make a projector screen on a wall or anywhere else for that matter. You might prefer a sleek zero-edge projector screen, but many also prefer a screen with a polished, contrast-boosting border, for which you can use our black felt projector screen tape. If you’re ready to make your screen yourself, check out our DIY projector screen fabric and get started on that dream screen!


If you’re looking for a simpler or more portable solution for a larger (or outdoor) space — something easier than duct-taping a piece of fabric to your garage door or stapling it between some trees — Carl’s Finished Edge Screens are for you. They’re available in many of our materials and come with reinforced edges and grommets that let you bungee your DIY projection screen to a wall, frame, or truss system. Perfect for a portable screen, simply use our 6-inch Black Ball Bungees (or zip ties, shock cord, or any other fasteners you might prefer) for mounting your finished edge screen just about anywhere!

Get inspired with our testimonials section. Many happy customers have made impressive backyard theaters (including poolside movie screens and DIY drive-in movie theaters), simple garage and barn wall screens, praiseworthy church screens, and massive event backdrops (even on a budget!) for DJ booths, weddings, concerts, and other large venues.


Take out the guesswork and use one of our kits to build a frame. Then, simply use our Black Ball Bungees to attach these ready-to-hang screens with ease!

Our hanging kit (perfect for the side of a garage or hanging from a tree or even from the ceiling of a large venue), standing kit (when you don’t have a wall or anywhere else to hang a screen), and rear projection hanging truss kits come with a finished-edge projector screen, fittings, and bungees needed to make a frame. These kits make projector screen DIY projects, even with large screens, much more convenient! Just pick up a few pipes from your local store, follow our directions, and you’ll be rolling with a big screen like no other!

Between one of the options offered above, you should be all set to put together your dream screen! Some ideas: use raw material for a DIY borderless projector screen or to build a fixed frame screen lined with black felt tape. Stretch a finished-edge screen to a wall or frame that you already have. Use a wall-hanging or freestanding kit to make installation easier. No matter what you decide to do, you’re sure to have a screen setup you’ll love in no time.

When the computer and projector are powered on and connected, both should display the same image, although many times the laptop will need to be mirrored manually.

This can be done in a few different ways, the most straightforward of which is by holding down the Function key (“Fn” on the bottom left of the keyboard) and pressing the F# key at the top of the keyboard that corresponds with opening the VGA port.

The F# key used will vary from computer to computer (F7 and F8 are most common), but you can tell which one to press based on the images on the key.

Some common ones to look for are:

Alternatively, you can right click on the desktop and open “Screen Resolution” or “Graphics Properties.” From this menu, you can adjust the screen resolution and/or open the VGA port for the second display. The wording and look of the menu will differ from computer to computer, but this is one example:

How to make a movie projector

The optimal screen resolution to use with classroom projectors is 1024×768. Once this has been selected, if the laptop still fails to mirror, you can select the menu item “Multiple Displays” or “Clone Displays” to try to open the VGA port

Choosing “Apply” or “OK” will accept any changes you have made to the menu and open the VGA port to mirror the laptop.

How to make a movie projector

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How to make a movie projector

How to make a movie projector

How to make a movie projector

The Backstory:

So. Last week while I was soldering, I accidentally burned myself (and it hurt really bad!) I may have dropped a few expletives, as well as my grandfather’s old third-hand. (Please don’t tell him) Upon impact, the lens frame cracked, which rendered the magnifying glass useless. At first, I was pretty upset, but I decided to give the lens another life and create a shoe-box projector! This is how I did it…

Project Introduction:

What exactly is a shoe-box projector? Glad you asked. A shoe-box projector, as the name implies, is a projector made from a shoe-box.

Sorry. but jokes aside, how exactly does this thing work? Well first, we place our smartphone inside of the shoe-box. The light coming from the phone is then carried through the lens at one end of the shoe-box, and projected onto a wall. The final image can be a bit blurry, but what you end up with is a dirt-cheap, make-shift projector.


So what do we need to build this awesome piece of recycled garbage? Well, for starters.

Tools –

  • Hot Glue Gun

– As the name implies, these are very hot! Please be careful when using this, always get permission and ask for an adult’s help if you need it. We don’t need any more broken third-hands, now do we?

  • Marker/Pencil

(Probably the least dangerous item on this list.) We will be using this for marking the outline of the lens on the box for cutting.

  • Box Knife

– Another useful, but dangerous tool. Knives are sharp, so please use adult supervision. Remember, never cut towards yourself, and always make sure to clear a Blood Circle, which is the radius around you that a knife could reach in an outstretched arm. (Any Boy Scouts here?)

That’s all the tools we will need. Onto materials!

Materials –

  • Shoe-box

– This probably seems pretty obvious, but one thing to note: it does matter what size of box you use. I’ve found that smaller (narrower) boxes work better. Mine was pretty large so the picture wasn’t as good. Also, the phone will fit better in a thinner box.

  • Magnifying Lens

– Probably also a given, but once again, size matters. Contrary to the box, the larger the magnifying glass is, the better the image. I’d suggest having one at least the size of the phone if not larger. My image was distorted around the edges because of how small the lens was.

  • Smartphone

– This is what powers the whole projector. I suggest using a large phone screen, with a brightness turned all the way up. Make sure it fits in your box!

  • Phone Beanbag

– Found mine ages ago at an old RadioShack. Let’s take a moment of silence to remember our fallen. Thank you. (Luckily, you can find one just like it here.)

And that’s it! It’s a pretty short list actually.

Step 1: Cutting a Hole for the Lens

Let’s get to making! For this step, we will be tracing and cutting out a circle that the lens can fit into. Pick one end of the shoe-box, and set the lens on top. Then, take a marker and begin tracing the lens.

After you’ve drawn the line, use the box knife to puncture a hole in the middle and start cutting out the circle. Take your time, the better the cut, the cleaner the edges of your image will be in the long run.

Once you have a hole made, it’s time to move onto the next step!

Step 2: Gluing the Lens

Let’s get that lens attached! Flip the shoe-box over so you can see the inside of the hole you just cut. (It helps to have a flat surface.) Then, we’ll plug in the hot glue gun and wait for it to heat up. Any minute now. just another. sec. annnndd. almost there.

Okay! Great, now that the hot glue gun is heated, we can glue the lens. Place the lens down onto the hole, rotation doesn’t matter since this is a convex lens. Begin applying copious amounts of hot glue all around the lens. We don’t want it falling out!

Once the glue is cooled, we are done! Time to setup the phone.

Step 3: Adding the Beanbag and Phone

This is probably the simplest step. Set the beanbag in the box, and the phone in the beanbag.

You now have a functional shoe-box projector!

So how do you use it?

First, open a movie on your phone. Turn off auto rotation, and lock it in landscape mode. Then set your phone in the beanbag, upside down. (The lens will flip this image when it’s projected onto the wall.) Make sure to prop the phone up so it’s almost exactly vertical.

To focus the image, move the phone away from/towards the lens, and move the projector closer/farther away from the wall.

That’s all you need to know to use your brand new shoe-box projector. Congratulations!

Step 4: That's All Folks!

Now you can watch as many movies on the ‘big screen’ as you want!

Thanks for checking out my short little Instructable, hope you enjoyed it! Also make sure to check out the YouTube video for this project. It’s linked in the introduction, plus it’s pretty funny and might give you a better visual on how this project was made. Oh, and be sure to follow me for more projects like this!

If you're tired of crowding around a laptop or smartphone to watch a movie or video clip, this DIY projector will throw it up on the wall for all to see. Plus, it should only set you back about $5 in parts at your local hardware store.

YouTuber and Instructables user The King of Random put this tutorial together to build a projector screen from really affordable components. All you'll need is a large cardboard box, some duct tape, and a Fresnel lens. He picked up the Fresnel lens from eBay for about $4 (Some at eBay are cheaper , others at Amazon are a bit more ), a free cardboard box, and a $1 roll of duct tape. If you want a projector screen, he also shows you how to make one from a styrene sheet he snagged for $2. (Similar sheets on Amazon are about $10.)

Since the projector only gets light from your device's screen, it'll be pretty dim. For the best possible image quality and sharpness, use a bright screen (a laptop would work better than a smartphone) and make sure to keep the lights off, curtains closed, and put the projector as close to the screen as possible. Finally, the lens will flip the image horizontally and vertically, so after you mount your device, text will appear backwards. Not an issue for action movies, but news or subtitles could be a problem. If you can do this on the cheap the way The King of Random did, it's a fun and portable project, not to mention a fun introduction to optics for anyone interested in a little physics. Plus, it's only $5, so it's pretty hard to go wrong.

Unfortunately, a good projector screen is costly. The Silver Ticket screen (see it on Amazon) has thousands of 5-star reviews but costs almost $400.

One of the cheaper alternatives is to paint the screen wall. But, what type and color of paint should you use for a projector screen?

Projector screen paint should have a very smooth finish, reflect less amount of light, and not look dull at the same time. The color of the paint would depend on the projector’s brightness, ambient lighting, and personal preferences and requirements.

All of these will be discussed in this article.

Type of Finish

It would be natural to assume that the best paint for a projector screen would either be flat or matte. A glossy finish is definitely out of the question as it would be too reflective.

Projector Central carried out comprehensive research for the best projector screen paint costing $100. The aim of the research was to find a paint that would match the performance of the Stewart Filmscreen Studiotek 100, which is a premium screen material costing thousands of dollars.

During the process of testing various brands and types of paint finishes, Projector Central had found that the matte and flat finishes produced a dull picture. On the other hand, glossy finish paint was way too reflective.

So, in search of a paint that was in between matte and glossy, they tested the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Smooth Enamel Satin Finish. Unexpectedly, the picture quality matched the Studiotek 100.

UPDATE: As per sources, Sherwin Williams has changed its formula for this paint. It is no longer recommended as many users have complained that it is too glossy.

From the test results conducted by Projector Central, it is surprisingly learned that the right projector screen paint costing just $100 is capable of producing a picture quality that equals screen material worth a few thousand dollars.

That’s amazing, isn’t it? But wait..

Which Paint Color is Best for Projector Screens?

How to make a movie projector

Before going and blindly purchasing the paint recommended by Projector Central, choosing the right color of paint is an important consideration before you make the decision.

The choice of paint color will largely depend on four factors.

1. The Brightness of the Projector

First of all, it should be clear that a white screen will reflect more light than a black or Gray Screen. If your projector is incapable of producing light which is bright enough, then a gray projector screen is out of the question.

For such projectors, you will require a white projector screen that has substantial gain so that it can reflect enough light back so that the picture does not look dull or washed out.

On the other hand, if you have a bright projector which is capable of producing light of more than 3000 lumens then you have an option of choosing either a white or Gray Screen depending on the other two factors mentioned below.

By the way, if you’re looking for the ideal home theater projector which fits your budget, you can check out my favorite ones.

After testing out so many projectors, I can say for sure that the big reviewing websites are not always correct . So, I recommend you check my top recommended projectors if you’re in the hunt of buying one.

2. Ambient Light

The amount of ambient lighting in the room will largely govern the color of the screen paint that you will purchase for your projector screen wall.

In a room that has a lot of ambient light creeping into the room through windows or doors, you will need a white-colored paint that is reflective so that there is enough amount of light being reflected from the projector screen surface.

However, if you have a light-controlled room that is fairly dark, then you have the option to go for gray, which is less reflective.

A surface that is less reflective has the advantage of having fewer light reflections from the walls and ceilings. This will make the room darker while watching a movie and will hence, provide a better cinematic experience.

3. Personal Preference

The next consideration is a personal preference. The image on a white-colored projector screen will have great color reproduction and vibrance but will not display blacks very well.

On the other hand, a gray projector screen will display blacks very well and have a better contrast ratio but the colors and vibrance of the image will be on the lesser side.

So, if you like to see more vibrant and colorful images, then white would be your choice. If you prefer to see better and deeper blacks being displayed, then a gray projector screen would be the best.

4. Will You Be Watching a Lot of 3D?

While watching 3D movies, the picture appears to be dimmer than normal because of the tint of the 3D glasses. Hence, for 3D movies, you will require more gain for which your projector screen should be more reflective.

So, if you are likely to watch a lot of 3D movies, then white screen paint is the most advisable choice.

Recommended Products

White and gray are not the only colors that can be considered for a projector screen. There is also the choice of a silver screen which would have a mix of the advantages and disadvantages of white and gray screens.

Based on personal experience and research the products that I would recommend for the various colors of projector screen paint are as given below:-

  • For White Projector Screens, I would recommend the Digital Image Ultra White Screen Paint (check price on Amazon).
  • For Gray Projector Screens, this Screen Paint(on Amazon) is recommended.
  • For Silver Screens, I recommend the Paint on Screen S1 (check on Amazon). Paint on Screen is one of the leading brands for projector screen paints. Check out their website and you will realize why.

How to Go About Painting Your Projector Screen Wall

Now that you have decided on the color of your projector screen paint as well as the brand that you will go for, it is now time to go ahead and paint that wall. Here is a short video of the process.